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What to Do When Your Judge Is a Creep

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 29, 2017 12:55 PM

The judge asked an accused prostitute whether she did it because she liked the money or because she liked the action.

Other times, he commented on the attractiveness of female lawyers in his courtroom. He gave them nicknames, like "Ms. Dimples," "bun head" and "Star Parker." His name, Judge Gary Kreep.

For real, you cannot make this stuff up. But what can you do when your judge is a real creep?

Recusal, Please

Judges generally have discretion whether to recuse themselves from cases. But if you can show they have an unfair bias early on, you might get lucky.

It also depends on the jurisdiction. Federal judges have discretion under 28 U.S.C. Section 455 to decide whether they can be impartial. The statute says a judge "shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

California, however, offers a way to automatically disqualify a judge. Code of Civil Procedure Section 170.6 says a moving party need only sign an affidavit attesting that "he or she cannot have a fair and impartial trial or hearing before the judge."

Of course, you are taking your chances whenever you challenge a judge -- especially a creep.

Recall, That?

It's possible, but less likely, that you can recall a judge. Californians are trying to recall a judge for giving a light sentence to a sex offender.

The crime was horrific -- a young man sexually assaulted an unconscious woman -- but the chances of a successful recall are slim and none. The last time it worked in California, Herbert Hoover was the president. I know, Herbert who?

The best attack against a creepy judge is probably through the ethics commission. Kreep, for example, got censured for his behavior. He also got kicked to traffic court.

There are also the modern town criers -- social media and blogs -- that can help. But this is not intended as legal advice.

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