Recusal: Analysis of Case Law Under 28 U.S.C. 455 & 144
Alan Hirsch
2002, 86 pages
(Out of Print: Archival Copy on File)
[Superseded by Judicial Disqualification: An Analysis of Federal Law, Second Edititon (2010)]
This monograph offers a synthesis and analysis of the case law under 28 U.S.C. 455 and 144 to assist judges in ruling on recusal. After providing a history of Section 455, the monograph identifies the core principles and recurring issues in the voluminous case law and examines, in representative cases, how the courts of appeals have applied these principles. The monograph also covers the application of Section 144 and Section 47, and goes into detail on issues such as timeliness of motions, recusal in bench trials, standing, and the Rule of Necessity.



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Table of contents
    Part One: The Recusal Statutes 1
      I. Summary 1
      II. History of Section 455 2
      III. Disqualification: Section 455(b) 6
        A. P e r s o na l B i a s , Pr e j u d i c e , o r Kn o wl e d g e : S e c t i o n 455 ( b ) ( 1 ) 6
        B. Previous Service Connected to “Matter in Controversy”: Section 455(b)(2) 8
        C. Previous Government Employment: Section 455(b)(3) 9
        D. Financial Interest: Section 455(b)(4) 10
        E. Party to, Attorney in, or Other Substantial Interest in Proceeding: Section 455(b)(5) 12
      IV. Disqualification Based on Question of Partiality: Section 455(a) 15
        A. Standard for Applying 15
        B. Applications of Section 455(a) 19
          1. Recusal usually unnecessary 19
            a. Judge’s adverse rulings or expression of opinion 20
            b. Rumor, suspicion, or innuendo 25
            c. Familiarity with parties or events 26
            d. Personal attacks on the judge 27
            e. Threats or lawsuits against the judge 28
          2. Recusal more likely 29
            a. Close personal or professional relationship to attorneys or others 29
            b. Public comments or outside activities 33
            c. Ex parte contacts 37
            d. Involvement pertaining to guilty plea 38
            e. Judge took personal offense 39
            f. Miscellaneous 40
      V. Section 455(e): Waiver of Recusal 41
      VI. S e c ti on 4 55( f) : D i v e s ti tur e Ca n O v e r c om e D i s q ua l i fi c a ti on 42
      VII. Assigning Recusal Motion to a Different Judge 44
      VIII. Bias or Prejudice: Section 144 45
        A. Review of Affidavit 45
        B. Applications of Section 144 48
      IX. Disqualification of Appellate Judges: 28 U.S.C. 47 52
      X. Judge’s Authority After Deciding to Recuse 54
    Part Two: Miscellaneous Issues 57
      I. Timeliness of Motion 57
      II. Recusal in Bench Trials 59
      III. Standing 60
      IV. Efforts to Investigate 60
      V. Rule of Necessity 62
      VI. Substitution of Counsel 63
    Part Three: Appellate Issues 65
      I. Standard of Review 65
      II. Harmless Error 66
      III. Interlocutory Review 68
      IV. Reviewability of Recusal 70
      V. Mootness 71
      VI. Guilty Plea 72
      VII. Jurisdiction 73
    Table of Cases 75
    For Further Reference 85

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