The Commission on Judicial Conduct of the State of Arizona disclosed this week that a complaint, with case no. 21-348, has been dismissed on August 12, 2022.

The complaint alleged that a superior court commissioner did not properly recuse from presiding over a family law case in which both parties felt uncomfortable with her hearing the case.

The Complaint states in pertinent part:

“In my case, my wife’s lawyer filed a Motion to Recuse Judge __ because she is the judge on __ case and she felt uncomfortable with Judge __ When __ got the Motion he discussed it and his divorce with me and I agreed. I did not want her on the case wither for a lot of reasons. . . . then filed a Response to the Motion. Judge ruled against both lawyers saying she could be impartial. “

the Complaint continues:

“. . . Now trial is in     months. I was adamant then and I still am about not wanting Judge __  on the case. With her, not only is my wife’s lawyers uncomfortable, but so is my lawyer – in fact he has told e so and I am concerned he may not do everything necessary to represent me out of fear of making the judge angry and her taking it out on him in his divorce. . . and I think it is unfair not only to. . . but to me, and even to my wife and her lawyer, Even though the judge says she can be impartial I don’t know if I’m going to get a fair trial.”

The Motion to Recuse Judge and vacate all dates,  filed by the attorney for the petitioner,  was not objected to by the respondent’s attorney, and both stated that it is an uncomfortable situation for all parties.

The subject Judge, denied the Motion, asserting:

“The Court has received and reviewed Petitioner’s Motion to Recuse Judge __ and Vacate All Dates. Counsel for Petitioner acknowledges there is no legal basis for the Motion. The Court finds that the Court can serve as an impartial judicial officer in this matter.”

Accordingly, the Commission dismissed the complaint, stating among others:

“The role of the Commission on Judicial Conduct is to impartially determine whether a judicial officer has engaged in conduct that violates the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct or Article 6.1 of the Arizona Constitution. There must be clear and convincing evidence of such a violation in order for the Commission to take disciplinary action against a judicial officer.”

The dispositive portion of the Order reads:

“The Commission reviewed all relevant available information and concluded there was not clear and convincing evidence of ethical misconduct in this matter. The Commission approved sending the judge an advisory letter reminding the judge of her obligations under Rule 2.11 of the Code. The complaint is therefore dismissed pursuant to Commission Rules 16(b) and 23(a).”

A copy of the original filing can be found here.