Can I have the judge on my case recused for conflict of interest?

This is a discussion on Can I have the judge on my case recused for conflict of interest? within the Other Family Law Matters forum, part of the FAMILY LAW, DIVORCE, CUSTODY category; My divorce was final on 2/27/09. My ex husband brought me back to court in September '09 claiming he saw ...

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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 10:40 AM   #1
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Default Can I have the judge on my case recused for conflict of interest?

My divorce was final on 2/27/09. My ex husband brought me back to court in September '09 claiming he saw a picture of my ex BF and wants a paternity test. The judge asked him if the child's looks had changed in 7months and why he waited so long to bring this up. His laywer tried to speak for him, but the judge told him to let my ex speak for himself. I agreed to a paternity test and the judge strongly advised my ex to think of the child (who was 12 at this point) and not get the test done. He waited until the end of February 2010 to get the test done and then he and his lawyer waited until the original judge was on vacation to bring it back to court. They sent notification by mail 7 days before the hearing ( law here states they must give 10 days notice) forcing me to find a lawyer. During all this I was being treated for seizures and seeing a doctor that took several months to get in to see. My appointment was on the day of the hearing. I tried to reschedule but the doctor's office said it would be 3 months before I could get another appointment. My lawyer filed a motion based on the lack of notice and another hearing was scheduled for a week later. When we came to the next hearing the first thing out of the judges mouth was that she could have had a bench warrant issued for my arrest for not showing up... even though my lawyer had filed a motion with the court. She was incredibly biased toward me through the entire thing. My ex's lawyer stood right there in court and told him what to say on the stand.. basically "leading the witness" In one statement his lawyer asked him what he wanted from this court hearing. To which my ex responded "to terminate my rights, and get child support stopped and any money paid to her back" his lawyer then asks " what about my fees?" And my ex says " oh yeah that too" The judge allowed it to go on like that. When my lawyer asked me if I said something because I was angry and I answered yes, his lawyer objected with leading the witness. The judge toward the end of the hearing asked me how I was making ends meet since I wasn't working and was in school. I replied with we live with my boyfriend, I get the child support, medicaid and food stamps. She said "oh, so you are living off everyone else!" As the hearing was concluding my ex's lawyer made a motion to keep this judge for the entire case saying he would follow her anywhere in the state. Once it was over they started laughing and carrying on saying what a good time they had at the lake and that they needed to go out for drinks that night. This was between the judge and my ex's lawyer. Since this time there has been 2 pre trial hearings that went back to the original judge. My ex and his lawyer were willing to just sign off when they thought it was going to be him presiding, but at the 2nd hearing the judge said he did not have jurisdiction over the case and it would have to be sent back to the other judge. Now they want to fight again because they know it will come out in their favor. What can I do?? Oh and since all this I have finished school and I am now working as an EMT, no longer on public assistance. I used it for the time I needed to get through school and then got off of it!!
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 12:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Can I have the judge on my case recused for conflict of interest?

I wish to inform you that you may have change of judge based upon conflict of interest. In this regard you will have to show that other party can have undue advantage over you because of their knowing the judge and thus conflict can be argued. You may argue that the past relationship between judge and opposite party presents conflict of interest. You may show that judge was known to other party's lawyer.

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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 01:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Can I have the judge on my case recused for conflict of interest?

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Originally Posted by moonwilo View Post
My divorce was final on 2/27/09. My ex husband brought me back to court in September '09 claiming he saw a picture of my ex BF and wants a paternity test. The judge asked him if the child's looks had changed in 7months and why he waited so long to bring this up. His laywer tried to speak for him, but the judge told him to let my ex speak for himself. I agreed to a paternity test and the judge strongly advised my ex to think of the child (who was 12 at this point) and not get the test done. He waited until the end of February 2010 to get the test done and then he and his lawyer waited until the original judge was on vacation to bring it back to court. They sent notification by mail 7 days before the hearing ( law here states they must give 10 days notice) forcing me to find a lawyer. During all this I was being treated for seizures and seeing a doctor that took several months to get in to see. My appointment was on the day of the hearing. I tried to reschedule but the doctor's office said it would be 3 months before I could get another appointment. My lawyer filed a motion based on the lack of notice and another hearing was scheduled for a week later. When we came to the next hearing the first thing out of the judges mouth was that she could have had a bench warrant issued for my arrest for not showing up... even though my lawyer had filed a motion with the court. She was incredibly biased toward me through the entire thing. My ex's lawyer stood right there in court and told him what to say on the stand.. basically "leading the witness" In one statement his lawyer asked him what he wanted from this court hearing. To which my ex responded "to terminate my rights, and get child support stopped and any money paid to her back" his lawyer then asks " what about my fees?" And my ex says " oh yeah that too" The judge allowed it to go on like that. When my lawyer asked me if I said something because I was angry and I answered yes, his lawyer objected with leading the witness. The judge toward the end of the hearing asked me how I was making ends meet since I wasn't working and was in school. I replied with we live with my boyfriend, I get the child support, medicaid and food stamps. She said "oh, so you are living off everyone else!" As the hearing was concluding my ex's lawyer made a motion to keep this judge for the entire case saying he would follow her anywhere in the state. Once it was over they started laughing and carrying on saying what a good time they had at the lake and that they needed to go out for drinks that night. This was between the judge and my ex's lawyer. Since this time there has been 2 pre trial hearings that went back to the original judge. My ex and his lawyer were willing to just sign off when they thought it was going to be him presiding, but at the 2nd hearing the judge said he did not have jurisdiction over the case and it would have to be sent back to the other judge. Now they want to fight again because they know it will come out in their favor. What can I do?? Oh and since all this I have finished school and I am now working as an EMT, no longer on public assistance. I used it for the time I needed to get through school and then got off of it!!
Conflict of interest is probably not as appropriate as judicial bias, bias towards one of the litigants or their attorney. This can be hard to prove, but not impossible. Recusing a judge is touchy especially in family court where the lawyer who presents the recusal has to appear before the judge again.

One has a "just for general purposes" option to recuse a judge -- but that must be raised before the judge makes a ruling, at the first opportunity before allowing the judge to preside over the matter.

Ask your lawyer if the judge's statements on the record are sufficient to show bias against you and/or in favor of the other party. Then you will know if your lawyer is willing to tackle the judge.,
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