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‘Inappropriate Conclusions’: Ashley & Wynonna Judd Demand Judge Recuse Himself In Battle To Seal Police File On Mom Naomi’s Death

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Nov. 9 2022, Published 7:00 p.m. ET

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Naomi Judd’s daughters Ashley & Wynonna are demanding the recusal of the judge presiding over their lawsuit to prevent the release of records related to their mother's death, RadarOnline.com has learned.

Naomi, 76, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Ashley was at her mom's home when the incident happened.

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The singer’s daughters, along with her husband Larry Strickland, filed a lawsuit weeks after the singer’s death on April 30, 2022. The family sued Dusty Rhoades, the Sheriff of Williamson County, Tennessee, along with journalists who requested the records.

The file the family wants to be sealed includes photos, videos, and audio recordings. The Judd family argued the records are "private, incredibly sensitive, and do nothing more than re-open the fresh wounds of Naomi Judd's death." The defendants have argued the file should be released saying they are public records.

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As RadarOnline.com first reported, the file includes handwritten notes from police, body camera footage, photos of the “Post it” note Naomi left at the death scene, and text messages exchanged between Ashley and the family psychologist Ted. In addition, the police file contains photos of the firearms inside the home and the 911 calls made on the day in question.

Now, according to court documents obtained by RadarOnline.com, Ashley and Wynonna have accused the judge of demonstrating a “bias and unfairness” towards them during the court proceedings.

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The sisters said the judge has “acted in a manner which would lead a reasonable person to believe the Court has unfairly prejudged this matter prior to an opportunity to be heard on the merits. The Court has expressed opinions and made inappropriate conclusions which would lead a reasonable and objective person to believe the Court’s opinion on the merits of this case is unlikely to change.”

They added, “In light of this Court’s prior rulings making merit determinations inappropriately, threat of contempt, disregard for cited case law, and disregard for the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned by the average person.”

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As a result, they want the judge to step down and a new judge be assigned.

The motion reads, “Plaintiffs respectfully request Judge Woodruff recuse himself from this case and that this case be reassigned to a new judge in order that the court’s impartiality not be reasonably questioned, and the important privacy interests of this family be considered without prejudging the merits of the case, threats of record disclosure, and contempt sanctions.”

The judge has yet to rule.

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