Judges and juries are supposed to be impartial. Jurors are removed all the time for being potentially biased towards one side in a case.

A judge in a case that is a current event as of writing , has been accused by much of the media and other observers as being biased, in this case towards the defendant.

Can a judge be forced to recuse themself from a trial for credible accusations of bias? If so, what are the processes the defense or prosecution can take to do so?

1 Answer 1


A party can ask a judge to recuse at the outset of a case for bias or other reasons (e.g. a family connection to a party). Generally, a judge rules on that motion personally and it is an interlocutory motion not subject to appeal except by extraordinary writ (or the equivalent) to the state supreme court.

It is not generally proper to do so during a trial.

Moreover, one jeopardy has attached in a criminal trial (which happens when the jury is sworn) if the trial ends prior to a jury verdict for reasons other than those attributable to the defendant, the defendant cannot be tried again on those charges and is functionally acquitted.

There are probably some arguable exceptions to this rule in extraordinary circumstances that are not the fault of either party (e.g. if a meteor hits courthouse and kills the judge and some jurors mid-trial, or if it is revealed that the judge committed the crime for which the defendant is being tried). But the threshold for exceptions to the general rule is very high.

  • "or if it is revealed that the judge committed the crime for which the defendant is being tried" Presumably the solution there would be to dismiss the charges and charge the judge, in which case it really doesn't matter whether they're recused.
    – cpast
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 1:33
  • @cpast Unless the defendant was a co-conspirator with the judge in the crime (wait long enough and watch and almost everything will eventually happen someday).
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 1:53

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