Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Disqualification Denied

The Ohio Supreme Court has entered orders in two matters denying judicial disqualification.

In one matter

Plaintiff Antwan M. Scott has filed an affidavit pursuant to R.C. 2701.03 seeking to disqualify Judge Terri Jamison from the above-referenced child-custody and child-support matter.

Mr. Scott alleges that Judge Jamison is biased against him, is biased against men in general, and has been discourteous toward him. To support his allegations, he avers that the judge has shown “extreme compassion” toward his child’s mother, repeatedly continued hearings at the mother’s request, made comments indicating that she does not care whether he sees his child, interrupts him at hearings, and once threatened to arrest him if he did not promptly return the child to her mother.

The judge filed an affidavit in response

Mr. Scott has not established that Judge Jamison has hostile feelings toward him or that she has formed a fixed anticipatory judgment on any issue in the underlying case. Nor has Mr. Scott set forth a compelling argument for disqualifying Judge Jamison to avoid an appearance of partiality. The burden in disqualification matters falls on the affiant to submit sufficient evidence demonstrating that disqualification is warranted. When necessary, an affiant should submit evidence beyond the affidavit to support the allegations contained therein. See In re Disqualification of Harwood, 137 Ohio St.3d 1221, 2013-Ohio-5256, 999 N.E.2d 681, ¶ 5. Here, Mr. Scott and Judge Jamison recall the events in the underlying case differently. Mr. Scott offered only his affidavit to support his allegations, even though many of his claims, if true, could have been substantiated by a transcript or other documentary evidence. Given the conflicting accounts in the record—and Mr. Scott’s failure to substantiate his allegations—he has failed to set forth sufficiently compelling evidence to overcome the presumption that Judge Jamison is fair and impartial.

(Mike Frisch)

Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink


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