Center for Continuing Education








Ethics: Judicial Disqualification

Self Study Article & Self Assessment Test

presented by Richard E. Flamm, Esq.

Instructions | Read the Article Pt. 1 - Pt. 2 | Take the Test


  1. There is an important practical difference between recusal and disqualification in modern jurisprudence.
    True
    False

  2. Showing actual bias from a direct pecuniary interest was the cornerstone of judicial disqualification at common law.
    True
    False

  3. The concept of recusation, or disqualification based on suspicion of bias, operated in the civil law system, but was not a practice found in early English and American jurisprudence.
    True
    False

  4. At common law, even a judge with a direct financial interest could preside over a matter if, by the "rule of necessity," no other judge was available.
    True
    False

  5. As the U.S. Congress gradually added more grounds to the disqualification statute in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the statute began to encompass more and more bright-line rules.
    True
    False

  6. Most states treat the question of judicial disqualification in a uniform manner, employing the same common standard set forth in the ABA Code of Judicial Conduct.
    True
    False

  7. Most commentators espouse retraction of what they deem to be overly broad judicial disqualification statutes.
    True
    False

  8. Judicial Disqualification is governed by state constitutions, and federal and state statutes and/or court rules specifically addressing the topic, whereas attorney disqualification is covered by laws concerning ethics in the legal profession.
    True
    False

  9. Attorneys have a duty to seek disqualification whenever they believe-in good faith and after thorough investigation-that a judicial bias in fact exists.
    True
    False

  10. Counsel's duty to make a "reasonable inquiry under the circumstances" into potential judicial bias is a low standard to meet.
    True
    False

  11. Motions to disqualify a judge contain safe haven provisions.
    True
    False

  12. Improper motions to disqualify are subject to Rule 11 sanctions in the federal system.
    True
    False

  13. Attorneys have faced disbarment proceedings for filing frivolous motions to disqualify.
    True
    False

  14. Attorneys face a subjective standard when judges consider whether to impose sanctions for frivolous disqualification motions. Accordingly, if such a motion proves unsuccessful, then averments of bias were likely made in bad faith.
    True
    False

  15. Practically all unsuccessful motions to disqualify are met with some type of sanction, even if only monetary.
    True
    False

  16. Simple negligence is the majority state standard used in evaluating whether sanctions should be imposed on an attorney for an unsuccessful disqualification motion: i.e., if the attorney was negligent in failing to investigate the facts supporting the motion, then sanctions are warranted.
    True
    False

  17. In reality, any motion to disqualify a judge poses numerous downside risks for the moving attorney and party.
    True
    False

  18. Disqualified judges have the power in some jurisdictions to transfer the case to another judge of his or her choosing.
    True
    False

  19. Current law and motion trends suggest that the subject of judicial disqualification is best broached as an "invitation" to the judge to consider recusal, rather than as a demand for affirmative relief.
    True
    False

  20. Due to the heavy implications of bringing any motion to disqualify, counsel's decision whether to proceed will usually come down to trial strategy.
    True
    False

  21. The ruling on a judicial disqualification motion is not an appealable order, but may be reviewed by writ of mandate only.
    True
    False

  22. California CCP §§ 170.1-170.5 govern the area of judicial disqualification for cause in California courts, and parallel the federal disqualification statute, 28 U.S.C. § 455.
    True
    False

  23. CCP § 170 adopts 28 U.S.C. § 455 word for word.
    True
    False

  24. With the 1984 Amendments to § 170, a movant must now demonstrate actual bias on behalf of the judge in order to justify disqualification.
    True
    False

  25. CCP § 170.2, concerning grounds which specifically do not warrant disqualification, is a unique provision, which does not exist in federal or other state laws.
    True
    False

  26. A judge faced with a § 170.3 verified statement alleging facts which warrant disqualification must respond with his or her own verified statement admitting or denying the allegations.
    True
    False

  27. Under § 170.3(c)(5) and (c)(6), if a judge elects to contest a judicial disqualification motion, the matter is resolved by the judge against whom disqualification is sought.
    True
    False

  28. CCP § 170.6, regarding peremptory challenges to judges, applies in criminal cases, but in reality the provision is difficult to employ if the party cannot ascertain who the criminal trial judge will be.
    True
    False

  29. Peremptory challenges of judges are truly peremptory in California, in that no statement or reason is required by the movant before disqualification will be granted.
    True
    False

  30. The decision as to whether a peremptory challenge has been made in a timely manner is determined by a judge other than the one against whom the peremptory disqualification is sought.
    True
    False

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