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Orange County Bar Association

When Will a Judge Recuse Themself From a Criminal Case in California?

Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo

Every judge who sees a criminal case in California should be neutral and impartial. They should not have a conflict of interest or a bias against any party because if they do, then the parties being judged have lost their constitutional right to a fair trial. Though, people can have inherent prejudices for one reason or another. Since judges are only human, this flaw is present with these legal scholars as well. 

If you are being charged with a crime in California, and you believe that a particular judge is biased against you, then ideally, the judge would take the initiative to recuse themselves from overseeing your case. However, if the judge does not self-remove from your case, it could be possible for you to file a 170.6 petition to have the judge named in your case unseated from that position. 

A California 170.6 petition is something that must be done right after a judge is named. It cannot be done after a judge is agreed to, and the petition can only be filed one time. This means that if the original judge is removed from your case through the filing of the 170.6 petition, then you will no longer have this option for the next judge who is named in place of that original official. 

Aside from filing a 170.6 challenge, you and your attorney may consider filing a Motion to Recuse. In this legal action, you can do so and be successful in unseating a judge by showing valid legal grounds that the judge has a conflict of interest. 

There is a lot to consider when working through the criminal justice system. Every detail must be assessed and, sometimes, addressed when mounting a strategic legal defense. Having the most tactical and experienced legal counsel representing you when you are facing criminal charges is essential. The Orange County, CA, criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo knows the system has a track record of successfully helping individuals charged with crimes get the best possible outcomes. If you need help with your criminal case, Attorney Bruzzo can assist you in securing the most desirable results.

When Judges Recuse

It is expected that a judge recuse themself from a particular case when they can look inward and realize their own bias or impartiality in being able to oversee a case fairly. However, simply because it is a judge’s duty to always act in a reasonable and fair manner, that does not mean it always happens. There are, in fact, many instances in history where biased judges unfairly presided over various criminal cases.

If a judge does not recognize their inability to be objective and even-handed in their assessment of a case, then it is possible that a Motion to Recuse can be filed. A judge may not be able to oversee a case fairly because of either ethical grounds or statutory grounds. 

It is important to understand that the ultimate decision for recusal based on presented grounds will be the judge’s. Therefore, if they do not agree that they should recuse themselves, they may stay on a case, and in some instances, their decision-making may be influenced by the Motion to Recuse. And, this may not necessarily be a good thing. 

Speak to a California Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Having the assistance of an attorney when facing criminal charges is essential. For help 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.

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