Was The Judge Disqualified?
So, was Judge Bowick disqualified?
The appellate court noted that “a judge faced with a potential ground for disqualification ought to consider how his participation in a given case looks to the average person on the street.” (Jolie v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County (2021) 66 Cal.App.5th 1025, 1039-1040). This is an objective standard. If a reasonable person would entertain doubts about the judge’s impartiality, disqualification is required. The court also pointed out that the burden on a party seeking disqualification is “heavy” and affirmed the trial court’s decision denying defendant’s motion to disqualify Judge Bowick.
There are a lot of disputed facts about the interaction between the two judges. Here’s a link to the case.
As an arbitrator in California, I am required to answer about 30 questions on a disclosure form each time I accept an appointment. One of those questions is the catch all: “Are you aware of any facts that would cause a reasonable person to question your ability to be impartial?” As I stated at the beginning of this piece, I know the attorneys involved here, so I am not going to comment. How about you, though? Would you have disqualified Judge Bowick if you were on the appellate court?
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