Judicial Disqualification Resource Center

North Carolina

Professional Responsibility and Disqualification in North Carolina

Photo by: NC Orchid's

Photo by: NC Orchid’s

In North Carolina criminal cases judicial disqualification is controlled primarily by N.C. Gen. Stat. §15A-1223, which provides that, on motion of a defendant or the state, a judge must disqualify himself if he is unable to perform the duties required of him in an impartial manner. There have many North Carolina precedents which indicate that a civil judicial disqualification remedy also exists, but §15A-1223 applies only to criminal proceedings, and there is no analogous North Carolina civil judicial disqualification statute. In 1987, North Carolina adopted Canon 3C of the ABA Code of Judicial Conduct. Some courts, including the North Carolina Supreme Court, have held, in accordance with the Code, that a party has a right to be tried before a judge whose impartiality cannot reasonably be questioned.

1. For a 13 page 2009 University of North Carolina piece, in .pdf format, discussing the statutory law and case law in North Carolina on the subject of recusal click here
2. For an undated piece by Superior Court Judge Boner, entitled “Disqualification and Recusal of Judges in North Carolina,” which discusses some North Carolina cases on point click here

3. For an article in the Campbell Law Observer regarding recent (Nov. 2013) attempts to disqualify Judge Newby click here. For a short Brennan Center newsletter regarding the same motion click here

4. For an overview of recusal and disqualification law in North Carolina which is updated annually see Flamm, R., Judicial Disqualification: Recusal and Disqualification of Judges, § 28.35. See also this recent (2013) University of North Carolina Law Review article (“Safeguarding the Judiciary”) which is on the subject of judicial impartiality, citing R. Flamm, Judicial Disqualification. To locate North Carolina libraries that have the current edition of Judicial Disqualification in their collection click here