Judge Hewitt sets hearing July 30 on motion seeking removal of Commonwealth’s Attorney in Hooper case

Judge Herbert Hewitt will rule next week on a motion to disqualify the Lancaster County Commonwealth’s Attorney from prosecuting the case against John Randolph “Rand” Hooper of Richmond, according to Lancaster County Clerk of  Circuit Court Diane Mumford.

Attorneys for the family of the late Graham McCormick will appear before Judge Hewitt at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 30, in King George County Circuit Court.

McCormick’s family is asking for the removal of Jan Smith as the prosecutor “due to the appearance of impropriety, the appearance of incompetence, the appearance of lack of impartiality, and/or alleged improper ex party communications with the court.”

Hooper is charged with involuntary manslaughter and failing to render aid in connection with McCormick’s death in August 2017. McCormick died as the result of a boating accident on Carter Creek in Lancaster County.

Hooper’s attorneys have field a counter motion challenging the legal standing and purpose to disqualify Smith.

Judge Hewitt is hearing the case because Judge R. Michael McKenney recused himself from hearing Hooper’s plea agreement in Lancaster County Circuit Court in June. Judge McKenney said it had been implied that he had prior knowledge of evidence in the case and had encouraged Smith to make the plea agreement.

Although that was not true, to “restore integrity” to the case, he recused himself, said Judge McKenney.