It is said that justice should be blind and that fair trials require an unbiased and impartial judge at the helm. However, there are times when a judge in a particular case may have a conflict of interest or another issue that could question their impartiality and ability to do their job fairly.
When you are facing criminal charges in California, your life is on the line. A criminal conviction can result in jail time, expensive fines, and a criminal record that can limit your opportunities in life while also tarnishing your reputation. It is critically important that a reasonable and neutral judge sees all criminal trials. If you believe that a judge in your case could be prejudiced against you, you may have legal recourse to remove the judge from hearing your case.
Due to the complexity of the criminal justice system, it is imperative that individuals who are going to trial for alleged crimes have the most competent and skilled legal representation supporting them. Suppose you have been charged with a crime in Orange County, California. In that case, you may rely on and trust the experienced legal counsel of the Newport Beach, CA, criminal defense attorney, William W. Bruzzo.
How To Remove a Predjudiced Judge in a California Criminal Trial
As soon as you hear who the judge will be who will hear your case, you have the option to file a 170.6 petition. You may only do this one time per case to remove a judge from the bench in your trial. It is critical that the petition is filed before agreeing to a judge hearing your case. Failure to do so will mean you will no longer have that judge removed via the 170.6 petition.
The good thing about the 170.6 petition is that it is not required that you prove or show that that the judge is biased in some way against you. This makes using the 170.6 challenge a viable option for instances where you or your attorney believe it would be best for you that a particular judge not hear your case.
Outside of the 170.6 petition, there is another option of removing a judge from your case. It could be possible to file a Motion to Recuse. This is a far more challenging thing to do and involves showing that there are viable grounds, either statutorily or ethically, that the judge is biased.
In a Motion to Recuse, it is up to the judge to hear the grounds and decide for themselves whether they will recuse or not. Recusal is a very tricky thing because it could lead to a judge not recognizing their potential bias and, as a result, even cause them to be more unfair when deciding a case.
Speak to a California Criminal Defense Attorney Today
It could be possible to remove a judge from your case that may potentially have a bias against you. There are different means by which this might be done.
For assistance with your criminal case, please call our Orange County criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo at (714) 547-4636 to schedule a free consultation.