Disqualification of a Judge

Disqualification of a Judge (aka Affidavit of Prejudice)

Can I remove a judge from my case?  The answer is yes, subject to a few conditions.  Pursuant to CrRLJ 8.9 and RCW 3.34.110 a judge may disqualified for any reason as long as they have not made any discretionary ruling and as long as you have filed the Motion for Change of Judge within the 10 day time period explained below.  Even if a judge has set conditions at your arraignment (bail and setting of conditions of release), as long as your motion is timely the judge can be removed from your case and would be precluded from making any further decisions with respect to your case.

When charged with a Washington State DUI, it is essential your DUI attorney knows which judges have which particular tendencies and which pro-tem judges to accept or avoid.  This is crucial to your defense and only a seasoned Seattle DUI Lawyer will have this knowledge.

The applicable Court Rule and Statute are outlined below:

DISQUALIFICATION OF JUDGE

(a) Disqualification. In any case pending in any court of limited jurisdiction, unless otherwise provided by law, the judge thereof shall be deemed disqualified to hear and try the case when the judge is in any way interested or prejudiced. The judge may enter an order of disqualification.

(b) Affidavit of Prejudice. The judge shall also enter an order of disqualification under the provisions of this rule if, before the judge makes a discretionary ruling and before the trial is commenced, a party files an affidavit alleging that the party cannot have a fair and impartial trial by reason of the interest or prejudice of the judge or for other ground provided by law. Only one such affidavit shall be filed on behalf of the same party in the case and the affidavit shall be made as to only one of the judges of the court. All rights to an affidavit of prejudice will be considered waived when filed more than 10 days after the defendant's plea is entered or arraignment is waived, unless the affidavit alleges a particular incident, conversation or utterance by the judge, which was not known to the party within the 10-day period. In multiple judge courts, or when a pro tempore or visiting judge is designated as the judge, the 10-day period shall commence on the date that the party has actual notice of assignment or reassignment to a designated judge.

(c) Transfer. Whenever a judge is disqualified, the judge shall immediately make an order transferring and removing the case to another judge authorized by law to hear the case.

CrRLJ 8.9.

District judicial officers — Disqualification.

(1) A district court judicial officer shall not preside in any of the following cases:

(a) In an action to which the judicial officer is a party, or in which the judicial officer is directly interested, or in which the judicial officer has been an attorney for a party.

(b) When the judicial officer or one of the parties believes that the parties cannot have an impartial trial or hearing before the judicial officer. The judicial officer shall disqualify himself or herself under the provisions of this section if, before any discretionary ruling has been made, a party files an affidavit that the party cannot have a fair and impartial trial or hearing by reason of the interest or prejudice of the judicial officer. The following are not considered discretionary rulings: (i) The arrangement of the calendar; (ii) the setting of an action, motion, or proceeding for hearing or trial; (iii) the arraignment of the accused; or (iv) the fixing of bail and initially setting conditions of release. Only one change of judicial officer is allowed each party in an action or proceeding.

(2) When a judicial officer is disqualified under this section, the case shall be heard before another judicial officer of the same county.

(3) For the purposes of this section, "judicial officer" means a judge, judge pro tempore, or court commissioner.

RCW 3.34.110.

If you are concerned about what you have heard about a particular judge and want to see if there is still time to have them removed from your case, give the Seattle DUI Pros a call to discuss your DUI arrest today (425) 398-4323 

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