Ricke Withdraws Request for Competency Hearing, Seeks New Judge

by Brian Wilson
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–Attorneys for Kyle Lou Ricke have withdrawn their request for a mental competency hearing, but they are now asking for the judge in the case to recuse herself.

In court documents filed Tuesday morning, Attorney Matthew Pittenger says he discussed the idea of a competency hearing with his client, and they have agreed to withdraw the request that was filed last week. Judge Nancy Whittenburg had scheduled a probable cause hearing for Friday, to evaluate whether Ricke should undergo such a procedure, prior to the withdrawal request.

In a separate motion filed Tuesday, Ricke’s defense team is asking for Judge Whittenburg to recuse herself from the case. The defense is contending that since Whittenburg has presided over court cases involving Ricke, his ex-wife, and his children, she should recuse herself from this matter.

The state has already filed written resistance to the request, asserting it has no merit. Assistant Attorney General Ryan Baldridge argues that simply presiding over previous cases that involved the defendant is not grounds for recusal, and the defendant has failed to show any actual prejudice he has suffered as a result of Judge Whittenburg presiding over this case.

Ricke is charged with 1st Degree Murder in connection with the shooting death of Algona Police Officer Kevin Cram on September 13th, 2023.

The court is still considering a change of venue request that the defense filed at the end of April, as they are seeking to move the case out of Kossuth County due to intense pre-trial publicity.

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