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Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

2008-02 (September 2, 2008)
Disclosure/Disqualification; Canon 3 

Issue:  Is a Judicial Official disqualified from presiding over a criminal case in which the defendant previously was before the Judicial Official in a juvenile matter either as a delinquent or parent in a child protection matter?

Response:  In the absence of more specific facts, the Committee unanimously agreed that whether a Judicial Official is disqualified is governed by the following general rules: (1) a mere change of assignment or court location does not require recusal, (2) judges are routinely required to screen-out information that is inadmissible, (3) if, however, the judge believes his or her fairness is impaired by the prior knowledge, recusal is required, (4) the test for disqualification is an objective one, whether a reasonable person knowing all of the circumstances might reasonably question the judge’s impartiality (see Papa v. New Haven Federation of Teachers, 186 Conn. 725 (1982)), and (5) Canon 3 (c) (1)(A) should be reviewed. If facts arise for which further guidance is sought, the Judicial Official should feel free to come back to the Committee for an opinion based on case-specific facts.

Committee on Judicial Ethics



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