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Probate Judge Sued, Asked to Sit Out of Rosa Parks Estate Battle

The battle over the estate of Rosa Parks is heating up, again. A probate judge in the case has been asked to recuse himself from the case, reports the Detroit Free Press.

On Tuesday, Judge Freddie Burton Jr. told the lawyers in the case that we would decide on the disqualification motion in 30-45 days, reports the Free Press. A recusal is when a judge formally steps down from a case, typically for reasons relating to bias, or the appearance of bias.

The recusal request came after a lawyer sued the Detroit area probate judge and two court appointed lawyers, reports USA Today. The lawsuit alleged that the judge allowed the two lawyers to loot the estate of Rosa Parks.

In his lawsuit, lawyer Stephen G. Cohen stated that Judge Freddie Burton Jr. conspired with probate lawyers in racking up over $507,000 in unnecessary legal fees.

Some legal experts think that Cohen's move is simply crazy, reports USA Today. While many lawyers can disagree with a judge and even challenge a judge, the idea of suing the probate judge is an aggressive tactic.

Rosa Parks died without leaving any children behind. Her estate was to be given in large part to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development and to her longtime caregiver, Elaine Steele.

The civil rights icon passed away in 2005. Since then, her nieces and nephews have been challenging the validity of her estate plan.

In a confidential agreement reached between the estate administrators and Parks' nieces and nephews, 20% of Parks' property and royalties from licensing her name went to her family members.

The rest went to the Institute and to Elaine Steele. Cohen represents these parties.

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