Judicial Conflict of Interest: Disqualification/Recusal Rules
An affidavit of disqualification is a statutory vehicle through which a litigant or attorney may request the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court to prevent a common pleas court or court of appeals judge from hearing a specific case. Affidavits may be filed to allege that a judge is interested in a proceeding pending before his or her court, has a bias or prejudice for or against a party to the proceeding or a party's counsel, or is otherwise disqualified to preside.
Affidavits of disqualification may be filed with the clerk of the Supreme Court of Ohio only for cases pending in the common pleas courts (O.R.C. 2701.03), probate courts (O.R.C. 2101.39), or courts of appeals (O.R.C. 2501.13). Affidavits of disqualification may not be filed with the Supreme Court against judges of the municipal or county courts (O.R.C. 2701.03.1). There is no statutory provision for filing affidavits of disqualification against judges of the Court of Claims. Furthermore, the clerk of the Supreme Court of Ohio has no authority to accept affidavits of disqualification against magistrates or referees.
The filing requirements for affidavits of disqualification are set forth in the applicable Ohio Revised Code section. Pursuant to O.R.C. 2701.03(C)(2), the clerk shall not accept an affidavit that is untimely or does not meet the requirements for filing.
An affidavit of disqualification must be filed not fewer than seven calendar days before the day on which the next hearing in the proceeding is scheduled. Therefore, an affidavit must include the date of the next scheduled hearing, or a statement that no further hearings are scheduled.
An affidavit of disqualification must include the jurat of a notary public or another person authorized to administer oaths or affirmations. A proper jurat must include an indication that the document was both sworn to (or affirmed) and subscribed (or signed) in the presence of the notary.The statute also requires that the affidavit include a certificate indicating that a copy of the affidavit was served on the judge against whom the affidavit is filed and on all other parties to the underlying case or their counsel.
The affidavit should also list specific allegations supporting the claims of interest, bias, prejudice, or disqualification, and any supporting facts. Finally, an affidavit should include the name of the judge, the name of the court in which the proceeding is pending, the case caption and number, and the affiant's or affiant's counsel's name, address and telephone number.
There is no filing fee for submitting an affidavit of disqualification. An original affidavit plus three copies are required for filing. Please send an additional copy if you would like a file-stamped copy returned to you. If you have any further questions regarding the filing of an affidavit of disqualification, you may call 614.387.9530 to speak with an Ohio Supreme Court deputy clerk.
Additional information and reading at Google ScholarDeciding Recusal Motions: Who Judges the Judges? by Leslie W. Abramson
Judicial Disqualification: An Analysis of Federal Law, Second Edition, Federal Judicial Center, 2010
Judicial Disqualification: What Next for Connecticut? by Thomas J. Donlon, The Connecticut Lawyer, 2009/2010
Ordinarily, the question of whether a judge should be disqualified in a civil case is a matter within the discretion of the trial court.
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