Wednesday, September 14, 2011

No Disqualification Required

A judge need not be disqualified from presiding over a criminal matter simply because his spouse is employed by the prosecutor's office, according to a decision issued today by the Minnesota Supreme Court. the spouse has not involvement in the prosecution:

We conclude that an objective examination of all the circumstances of this case would not lead a reasonable examiner with full knowledge of the facts and circumstances to question Judge Moreno’s impartiality. The facts and circumstances show that the

judge’s spouse is an attorney with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, a large organization that handles a high volume and wide variety of cases. She has had no personal involvement with the case and has no financial interest in its outcome. As an employee of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, she does not receive any additional financial benefit based upon any district court ruling. Although Judge Moreno’s spouse was once an appellate attorney in the Criminal Division of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, it appears that she transferred out of that division and to other roles well before this case was filed.

The court rejects the suggestion that the judge's involvement creates an appearence of impropriety. (Mike Frisch)

Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink

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