Cairns Law Offices Articles Ex-Wife Alleges Judge Unfit To Preside In Divorce Case

Ex-Wife Alleges Judge Unfit To Preside In Divorce Case

By Colgan & Associates  Nov. 28, 2011 5:37p

Complaint Filed After Husband Makes Campaign Contributions to Divorce Judge

The former wife of a Las Vegas poker champion has filed an official complaint against the judge in her divorce hearing, claiming that campaign contributions made by her ex-husband will bias the court's judgment.

In her filing, the woman claims that she has been swindled into signing a bad divorce settlement, after her husband chose an attorney to represent her in the initial proceedings. After being granted an uncontested divorce in 2009, the wealthy poker star made a large contribution to the judge's campaign for election the following year.

Due to these concerns, she has filed a petition of impartiality against the judge, asking that he recuse himself from the case and allow someone without a personal connection to her husband to preside.

Law Professor Argues That Even The Appearance of Bias is Enough

In response to her motion, the judge filed an affidavit that claimed he would not recuse himself, saying he believes he is "capable of rendering judgment in this matter in a fair and just manner." This affidavit, however, may not be enough, argues one professor of law who specializes in legal ethics.

[The judges] personal view as to his ability to be impartial is irrelevant," he claims. "What is relevant is whether a member of the public would have reasonable concerns over his impartiality."

This opinion cites the Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct, which states clearly that in any case in which a judge faces the prospect of bias, he must step down and allow another to preside. The State Supreme Court ruled even more strictly in 1977, saying that recusal must take place if there is even the appearance of bias.

The code also provides a warning to lawyers about campaign contributions to judges, stating that it could lead to this exact situation. Should the Nevada Supreme Court uphold her motion, it could have lasting effects across the state and the country.

A family law attorney in Pennsylvania is here to help

The issues surrounding divorce, child custody and support, alimony, and other family law matters can be extremely complex. With the help of a trained Pennsylvania divorce lawyer, however, you can get the help you need. At Colgan & Associates, our legal team is focused on helping each client fulfill his or her family law goals. We strive to pursue the best possible outcome for you and your family. Do not settle for anything less!

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