Judicial Recusal in Georgia
Section 15-1-8 of Georgia’s Annotated Codes sets forth certain instances in which a Georgia judge is disqualified. Other Georgia statutes have occasionally been considered in resolving disqualification issues. However, because the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct provides a broader rule of disqualification than does any Georgia statutory provision, motions to disqualify in Georgia have often been brought pursuant to and decided in accordance with the dictates of that Code.
While §15-1-8 of the Annotated Statutes and the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct ordinarily provide the substantive bases for seeking a judge’s disqualification in Georgia state court, neither provides the proper procedure for doing so. The procedure is codified in Georgia Uniform Superior Court Rule 25.1, which generally provides that a disqualification motion must be in writing, and accompanied by an affidavit asserting the facts and circumstances upon which the motion is based. The affidavit must allege facts that, if true, would be sufficient to show that the judge is biased in the case.
Uniform Superior Court Rule 25.3 indicates that, when a Georgia trial judge is presented with a motion to recuse or disqualify that is accompanied by the requisite affidavit, the judge must “temporarily cease to act upon the merits of the matter and shall immediately determine the timeliness of the motion and the legal sufficiency of the affidavit, and make a determination, assuming any of the facts alleged in the affidavit to be true, whether recusal would be warranted.” If it is found that the motion is timely, and that recusal would be authorized if some or all of the facts set forth in the affidavit are true, another judge is assigned to hear the motion to recuse.
1. A short but useful overview of Georgia recusal law (through 2002) can be found here:
2. For an article on “Recusal in Georgia post-Caperton” click here.
3. For a an analysis of recusal and disqualification law in the state of Georgia which is updated annually see Flamm, R., Judicial Disqualification: Recusal and Disqualification of Judges (Second Edition, 2007). See also this article on United States Supreme Court recusal policy, written by Georgia State University professor Scott Graves, which cites to Judicial Disqualification.