Impartiality of a former DA turned judge

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Impartiality of a former DA turned judge

A person who I am advocating for is
involved in a case where the Judge is a
former DA who prosecuted a prior case
against him. The judge denied a bond
reduction on the basis that he knows the
accused prior criminal history from his
time as a DA. Is there an inherent
conflict of interest?

Asked on December 21, 2017 under Criminal Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The defendant (or his attorney) could reasonably, with a fair chance of success, do any or all of the following: apply to a more senior judge (e.g. the courthouse administrative or chief judge, if that is not the same person as this judge) to have the case moved to a different judge; appeal the bond reduction; and/or if he loses ultimately at trial before this judge, appeal the decision against him--all on the basis of actual or at least apparent/evident bias. A judge should *not* hear a case where he previously prosecuted (or was part of the office prosecuting) that defendant: judges should go in without pre-personal knowledge (i.e. they should only know what is of public record) and without having taken an adverse position to the defendant previously. However, you would not have "standing," or legal grounds, to seek these things, because you are not the defendant or his attorney; third parties may not apply for these things, only the party(ies) themselves involved in the case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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