Thursday, August 11, 2011

Letter Of Caution Does Not Require Recusal

The New Hampshire Supreme Court had held that a trial judge was not obligated to recuse himself from a contentious domestic matter.

The unhappy litigant had filed a complaint with judicial authorities about the judge that had resulted in a letter of caution:

Even were we to find that the [Judicial Conduct Committee] had the authority to issue a letter of
caution, we do not find that the letter required recusal. While the letter may
have expressed concern over the tone used by Judge Lynn, the letter expressed
no concerns as to his partiality. Because judicial remarks that are “critical or
disapproving of, or even hostile to, counsel, the parties, or their cases,
ordinarily do not support a bias or partiality challenge,” Bader, 148 N.H. at 271
(quotation omitted), we do not find that the letter of caution, without more than
a concern over the judge’s tone, would cause an objective, disinterested
observer, fully informed of the facts, to entertain significant doubt that justice
would be done in the case.

The court also rejected the claim that the judge had engaged in ex parte communications that required recusal. (Mike Frisch)

Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink

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