The Judicial Ethics Forum (JEF)

An Academic Discussion of Judicial Ethics, Discipline & Disqualification

Archive for December 3rd, 2010

Judge Reinhardt’s Refusal to Recuse Himself

Posted by monroefreedman on Friday, December, 3, 2010

According to Law.com, the motion was based on allegations that the judge’s wife’s is a longtime advocate for gay rights, that she conferred with the plaintiffs about the suit before it was filed, and that her office, the ACLU, filed an amicus brief in the trial court in the same case.

In his short memo denying the motion, the judge did not deny any of the allegations. He simply said that he could be impartial.

First, his saying that does not meet the statutory requirement.

Second, his wife’s record of advocacy is not in itself enough.

However, if she did confer with the plaintiffs in planning the suit, and if she is still Director of a an organization that filed an amicus in the case, I believe that a reasonable person might question the judge’s impartiality – not would question, but might question, and not might decide, but might question.   A principal reason for my conclusion is that a person who has been involved in this very litigation is in a position to have frequent ex parte communications with the judge.

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