A civil trial in which a former prison inmate accused the state of failing to keep him safe during the 2015 Mother’s Day riot at the Tecumseh prison has abruptly ended, with nothing resolved.
Judge John Colborn recused himself and called a mistrial.
Colborn stated his service on the Justice Reinvestment Committee brings him into conflict with some of the issues being raised in the lawsuit brought by John Wizinsky.
Colborn was one of two district judges serving on the committee. He also attended the governor’s advisory meetings on the subject. Colborn apologized for beginning with the trial and said he didn’t realize he had a conflict until the state fought the move by Wizinsky’s attorney to subpoena state Corrections Director Scott Frakes.
Wizinsky served time in Tecumseh’s protective custody unit on drug charges and said he feared for his life when the riot began on May 10th in 2015. He said he continues to suffer mentally from the violence of that day which left two inmates dead. Wizinsky was released the next year.
A new trial can be re-scheduled with a different judge.