How to deal with bad judges
How To Deal With A Bad Judge

Revealing Many Ways For Dealing With Bad Judges

This page is informational. We are NOT lawyers.
Nothing on this page should be construed as legal advice!

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"I can state with certainty that if you go against the status quo in Rhode Island and point out wrongdoing of the judiciary they will ruin your legal practice and make it impossible for you to win a case."
--Quoted by a well known lawyer who was discussing the Rhode Island Judiciary

You should consider a Judge bad only if they show a pattern of behaving or ruling in a manner that is:

  • preventing or hindering you from receiving full, fair, impartial hearings or the full, fair, impartial administration of justice or
  • you have seen evidence which would lead a reasonable person to believe they could be prevented or hindered from receiving full, fair, impartial hearings or the full, fair, impartial administration of justice.

The criteria used in deciding if a judge is bad is NOT how they handle a high profile case or people of influence, but how they handle the poor, prosecutorial misconduct and the unrepresented. Regardless of how bad a Judge is, they will undoubtedly make SOME correct decisions. We consider a Judge bad if they do not FAITHFULLY and CONSISTENTLY adhere to their oath of office and aggressively pursue justice for ALL. Anything less is unacceptable and is the definition of a bad judge. Also see the article on dismissals of Government cases.

Bad Judges exist. We all know they do. [See Judges as Criminals?] Very few practicing lawyers are willing or able to expose Bad Judges publicly, for they are at great risk when they must later appear again before the exposed Bad Judge. Exposure of rotten judicial apples offends and embarrasses the entire judiciary. When a lawyer, in diligent pursuit of his client's interests, dares stand up to Bad Judges, the "system" locks arms, and seeks to punish or suppress the iconoclastic lawyer. The system's resistance to admitting the existence of a bad judge can be astounding. Yet someone must stand up to challenge this cancer within the Judiciary. Bad Judges need to be weeded out.  It is to the fair, competent judges that the following is dedicated.

Before you go before a Judge, try to learn the Judge's record!

  • Check Caught! to see if complaints or comments
  • are on file. [Rhode Island]
  • Courtroom Monitoring
  • Case Research [try researching decisions by topic and judge]
  • Investigation [Newspaper Databases, Law Library etc.]
  • Ask local practitioners
  • Ask national court reform advocacy groups
  • For new Judges with no track record, listen to other cases in their courtrooms before losing your right to disqualify
  • Read Case Law Regarding Judicial Behavior During Trials - Actual Case Law.

To Change A Judge Before The Trial:

Peremptory Disqualification - Case: Moore v. Alaska and Peremptory Challenge Step by Step

Disqualification For Cause (Recusal) - Note: In Rhode Island it is customary for a judge to recuse himself if there is a complaint pending with the state's Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline. Check your area and jurisdiction. There are 2 factors to consider. First, once a Judge starts to stink it usually always gets worse. Second, the grass might NOT be greener on the other side.

Now, according to Congress, U.S. Supreme Court case law and Rhode Island's canons of judicial ethics, a judge must bow out of hearing any case in which his or her impartiality might reasonably be questioned. The Rhode Island Canons of Judicial Conduct say that judges must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety.

"The test for appearance of impropriety is whether the conduct would create in reasonable minds a perception that the judge's ability to carry out judicial responsibilities with integrity, impartiality and competence is impaired."

Consider using this wording when moving for drafting a motion for recusal.

Recusal Examples

Check The Judicial Recusal Information Site For Your State.
Also See Motion To Recuse From 2 RI Governors Recusal Motions
Example: see: L'Heureux Motion To Recuse.
See a RI JUDGE'S refusal Refusal Of Recusal of a recusal motion and related story Refusal To Recuse

Suggest Voluntary Recusal

(Okla. City Judge biased by blast damage)

Asserting Ethical Duty

USC 28 Chap. 21 ยง455

See Brief On Recusal Refusal

Removal To Another Jurisdiction - Change Venue

See related example Sample Motion To Change Jurisdiction

See example cases of change of venue

Motions To Dismiss Before Merits Are Heard

Res Judicata or possibly Collateral Estoppel

No Jurisdiction Sham, Frivolous, Meritless pleadings

File appropriate motions to dismiss

Other Considerations

Delay If Judge Is About To Be Rotated Off Of Case or Re-Focus Judge's Bias/Anger Against Other Side if possible

Formal Complaints

See Info From Alaska Judicial Commission. See examples: Gembala Complaint, and Judicial Disciplinary ProcessJudicial Disciplinary Process

If It Is Impossible To Change A Judge Before Trial:

Making Record For Appeal And Preserving Objections: FRCP Rule 52 (or equivalent) Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law - if not mandated by local rules, file motion before trial requesting written Findings/Conclusion.

Learn Rules of Evidence - Object on the record at trial

De-Railer Motions

Mistrial and New Trial

Dealing With A Judge After A Bad Ruling

List Your Complaints on public forums like

Appeal [Note: There is always a limited time to initiate appeal!!]

See Mitchell Appeal and Free Notice of Appeal Form

Special Or Interlocutory Appellate Action

File Special Appellate Actions

Identify And Publicly Expose Biased, Prejudiced And Corrupt Judges!

Early identification of a Bad Judge may be the single most important factor in your litigation. Once one notices a Judge is bad, you can practically guarantee it is only going to get worse. If it is too late to help in your own case, exposure helps prevent similar judicial abuse for subsequent litigants. Consider publicity, picketing and formal complaints like this info from Alaska Judicial Commission and these examples: Gembala Complaint, and see this report on the Judicial Disciplinary ProcessJudicial Disciplinary Process

Impeachment, Recall

See Petition For Impeachment

Legislative & Citizen Action To Limit Judicial Power And Discretion

See Jail4Judges

Suing A Judge Personally For Money Damages

Overcoming Judicial Immunity and Judicial Immunity Case Law

Federal 42 USC 1983 Civil Rights Lawsuits

** NEW ** Mitchell v. City of Henderson. See the Sample Title 42 Suit and the Instructions For Title 42 Suit

Suing A Judge For A Declaratory Judgment

See Article

Related References Public List Of Judicial Misconduct and Abuses Of Power In Rhode Island and article Why Lawyers make Bad Judges


Many times the reason or purpose for events in our life initially escapes us,
but I am certain we can find reason and/or purpose in everything that happens!

It takes a short time to learn to exercise power, but a lifetime to learn how to avoid abusing it.

We are no longer a country of laws, we are a country where laws are "creatively interpreted."

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