Recusal and Disqualification in New York
It has sometimes been said that a New York judges’s disqualification is appropriate whenever her impartiality might reasonably be questioned. But in New York disqualification is primarily controlled by Judiciary Law §14, which is an adaptation of the common law rule forbidding judges from sitting in or otherwise taking part in causes or matters in which they are interested. Absent a demonstrated violation of one of the mandatory grounds for recusal set forth in that statute, the challenged judge herself is usually the sole arbiter of whether any bias or appearance of bias requires recusal. In other words, the issue of whether a New York judge is disqualified is ordinarily left to the conscience and sound discretion of the challenged judge herself.
Though §14 has been said to provide the sole statutory authority for judicial disqualification in New York, relief has occasionally been sought under other statutory provisions see “Judicial Disqualification of Judges: Recusal and Disqualification of Judges”. In addition, a judicial disqualification motion may sometimes be predicated on New York court rules, or the New York Code of Judicial Conduct. Such provisions are particularly likely to be invoked when the challenged judge sits on a “non-record” court, because the provisions of New York Judicial Law §14 specifically pertain to courts of record only.
1. For a New York court site which has some information on the subject of recusal of judges click here
1. To see New York’s Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge, including the rule (Rule 100.3, which pertains to disqualification of judges) click here
2. For an overview of recusal and disqualification law in New York which is updated annually see Flamm, R., Judicial Disqualification: Recusal and Disqualification of Judges, § 28.34. See also this 2009 Buffalo Law Review article discussing the perceived need to amend New York’s recusal law , citing R. Flamm, Judicial Disqualification. A number of New York law school and county law libraries have the current edition of Judicial Disqualification. To locate Public Access Law Libraries in New York that have the book click here To locate other New York libraries that have the book click here
3. To read a 2013 Village Voice article about an attempt to disqualify Chief District Judge Preska click here