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Can You Request A New Judge In A Criminal Case?

January 23, 2018 | Comments (0)

Criminal cases are often heated battles, and it is in the best of interest of both parties that the judge is in a position to deliver a fair ruling. They should spur confidence in all the parties to present their argument before making a decision based on the facts presented. In some cases, one may feel that the judge is impartial to one side and may want to change them. Is this possible? Can you ask for a new judge in a criminal case? This article will look into some of the essential aspects surrounding judges and whether you can change one. Read on;

Circumstances Surrounding The Change

Changing a judge is not an easy process and simply not agreeing with what they decide cannot warrant a change. The ruling will always hurt one side, and it is expected that the losing team will feel aggrieved and might start thinking in that direction. Well, you can still get a judge changes, but you need to show proof that they are not well placed to preside over the case diligently. Usually, the judge will recuse from the case before it becomes a big deal, that is if the cause for change is genuine and they acknowledge it. However, you can use a couple of criteria to press for a new judge, and some of them include;

  • The judge who was an attorney for a previous case represented your opponent.
  • The judge has close ties to either of the parties.
  • Substantial financial interest in the case.
  • Unfair participation.
  • Conflict of interests.
  • Political affiliations with either party.

Take note that while it is possible to change a judge, you need to file a request to do it early enough, but this depends on the state you are in. You make things more difficult once the case begins and that is why you should always do some research about a judge before the trial starts so that you know if you have to file for a change.

Procedure For Changing A Judge

A criminal defense attorney like The Law Office of Dattan Scott Dattan can come in handy when filing for a request to have the judge changed. You need to do it systematically, and it all begins when you bring up the case to them. Contact the attorney and discuss the matter in detail while pointing out your concerns about the judge in question. Everything needs to be validated and documented as this will be used as proof when determining whether the judge is fit to handle the case or not. Remember that hearsay and rumors cannot be used to warrant a change of judge and you need to gather the facts.

After collecting everything you need to push for the change, you will file a motion to request for a new judge. This motion will cite all the reasons why the current judge is not deemed fit to preside over the case and the proof to warrant the claim. The affected judge is allowed to read through the motion, and if they agree to it, they can voluntarily step down from the case. However, they are not entitled to recuse themselves. If they choose to stay put, then you will have to request the court to have them step down and present your concerns to them. If they feel the proof is substantial, they will remove the judge from the case. Remember that a court is not obliged to remove the judge and they can choose to let the judge preside the case.

Dealing with the legal system is tricky and always talk to your attorney before acting. They are experienced in such matters and can advise you whether your claims are valid or not.

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Cochran & Edwards provides personalized legal services for Business Litigation, Personal Injury, Class Action Litigation, Estate Planning & Government Law.