Family Matters Law Group P.A.
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Disqualifying or Recusing a Judge

To begin with, the difference between disqualification and recusal is that with a disqualification a litigant or party is requesting that the Judge be replaced due to the perception of the Party of bias. A recusal is when a Judge on their own decides they cannot be impartial and voluntarily resigns from the case.

A Motion for Disqualification is a serious Motion that should only be filed after careful consideration of the facts. In my opinion, having an attorney's assistance is nearly critical. To begin with, there are very strict procedural requirements which must be met; such as, the Motion must be in writing, made within 10 days of the discovery of facts which cause concern, etc. Messing up on the procedural requirements is grounds to deny the Motion.

Second, you cannot disqualify a Judge because you don't like their ruling or because you have some "feeling" they don't like you. Actual specific events must have occurred which would cause a reasonable person to perceive that they cannot get a fair trial with this Judge. The Judge must have done something or said something that would cause most people to have a real fear.

It is important that once something happens that causes you to fear you will not get a fair trial, you must immediately file the Motion to Disqualify, you cannot wait until the end of the case and then try to prove the Judge was biased once an outcome is rendered.

The decision to file a Motion to Disqualify a Judge should always be made after careful consideration with the advice of a lawyer. That said, people deserve to feel confident about our legal system and to proceed with their cases feeling confident they will get a fair trial, further, they deserve to get a fair trial. There are instances where filing these Motions is absolutely the right thing to do, though it is almost always an uncomfortable thing for a lawyer to do.

If you feel you cannot get a fair trial, have concerns a Judge is biased or are considering filing one of these Motions, speak with an attorney quickly and weigh all of your options before taking this serious step.

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