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Judge recuses herself in traffic fatality case

ST. GEORGE — Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein recused herself from hearing an expected plea from Jesus Magana, who is accused of leaving the scene of a fatal accident last June. Magana is expected to appear before Circuit Judge Jimmy Williams early next month.

Police said Magana drove a pickup truck that struck and killed Steven Rouvet, 21, of North Charleston.

Goodstein stepped away from the case Thursday after Rouvet's grandmother, Juanita Wilhoit-Ackerman, told Assistant Solicitor Blair Jennings that Goodstein's husband, Arnold Goodstein, previously represented her about 20 years ago.

Magana's lawyer Frederick Newton said his client felt uneasy about that prior relationship.

Goodstein said she did not remember her husband's work on behalf of Ackerman, but given Magana's feelings and the potential prison sentence he faces — up to 25 years — "it's important that everyone feels they have been dealt with fairly."

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