Second, litigants and their attorneys may fear a judge’s power too much to push the issue.
Third, a judge may become so arrogant or deeply compromised that he or she rejects all evidence, no matter how solid or embarrassing. Supreme Court to reiterate the law in a 2009 case, illustrates the difficulty of removing a judge.
This is despite tens of thousands of citizen complaints to the DOJ and White House about Siegelman’s treatment, plus a Supreme Court decision in the former governor’s favor last June.
Finally, other judges and opinion leaders show scant interest in scrutinizing each other more rigorously, especially if any scandal seems likely to fade away. The court decided the case by a 5-4 margin, and not every litigant has million of incentives to keep fighting such battles.
These problems are well-known in the justice system, particularly after a coal company CEO made million in campaign donations to re-elect a West Virginia state Supreme Court of Appeals justice. Three cases this year show the ongoing problems: In Texas, state court judge Gilbert ruled in a custody case to cut off all of a father’s legal rights regarding his five-year-old daughter.
Before that, the judge refused to withdraw from the case even when the father showed in mid-trial that the mother's attorney was also representing the judge in a separate paternity case.
First, litigants may not know of the judge’s conflicts until late in the process.
Three recent state, federal and Supreme Court controversies show how the public is nearly powerless to obtain due process when apparently conflicted judges refuse to recuse themselves. Gilbert, right, who presided over a child custody case.
The judge then wanted to hear his donor's appeal of a million jury verdict against the coal company, A. The judge declined to recuse himself even though the father learned during trial that the mother was represented by the judge’s personal lawyer, who is handling separate a paternity case against the judge.The Houston Chronicle published an opinion column last week about it under the headline, “No excuse for not recusing.”In Alabama, Democratic former Gov.In 2007, defendants learned that a closely held company the judge controlled as its larger stockholder was receiving from the Bush administration huge federal contracts, totaling 0 million between 20.Most recently last week, federal appeals court judges have refused to address the recusal issue in any depth.Don Siegelman and co-defendant businessman Richard Scrushy face potential resentencing on corruption charges by Chief U. Middle District Judge Mark Fuller, a partisan Republican portrayed at left (photo courtesy, Phil Fleming).
For now, Fuller remains the presiding judge despite sworn evidence that the judge hated Siegelman before the case and helped prosecutors railroad them during their 2006 trial with many controversial, pro-prosecution rulings.