Saturday

The Paradox of Recusal

Before I had the "privilege" of being represented by an attorney, I was like a dog in shark waters...pro se. I remember having to call the judicial assistant in order to ask a question about something in the paperwork which had confused me.

She was a woman, and at this time, I had delusions that all women were on the same "side." She was brief and sarcastic and raised her voice to admonish me. Immediately, she apologized for "being a bitch" (her words) and told me that she was just "telling me like it was."

When I got off the phone, tears were brewing in my eyes. I was terrified. This is what I was up against? I gained my composure and decided that I could not lose myself at the beginning of the battle.

Several months later, I had to call the assistant again, this time to set my own court date. She got on my ass like a lion on a deer.
YOU'RE NOT LETTING HIM SEE HIS KIDS...
...is among the many statements that she belted out. I can't remember the rest at this time. (Trust me, I told a few people, and I wrote it down.)

She gave me a court date though, two months out. Funny because within a few days, another court date was scheduled by my ex. And then another one. I found it so strange that he could get heard in court so quickly.

I know what happened. The first time he came to court (I was on the telephone), he probably wore his pressed uniform with his boots shinning like glass. He probably spoke to her respectfully, yet seductively, heating her up in the seat of her panties. And I'm sure she admired his stature, as they all do, in this small, military community.

Anyway, as I was completely disturbed by this phone conversation, I called the court's service center and spoke about the situation. They apologized for the judicial assistant's behavior and then cited that she was new, and known to behave in this manner; but that that, of course, did not excuse her behavior. They recommended that I write the Chief Judge about the situation.

Nervously, I did just that. What do I say to a Chief Judge? Well, at least she, too, was a woman.

I explained in my letter exactly what had occurred, detailed with quotes and all. I also informed her that I expected that she handle the matter appropriately because I was fearful of retaliation by my ex, and the judge.

Her response?

I was very shocked that I received a response. I held the letter in my hand proudly and was excited because it arrived rather quickly. I opened it carefully and in summary, it went something like this:
...as Chief Judge, I have many responsibilities...this isn't one of them...if you have a problem with the judge's staff you should refer it to the judge...he is impartial and would handle it accordingly...I have referred this matter to him...if you feel that he is biased, you can ask for recusal...
Holy shit! I was really going to get it now! I lost all hope.

I was supposed to ask this judge, the same judge who had a private conversation with my ex, while I was on the phone during/immediately after the hearing. The same judge who asked if there was a history of abuse, and I responded affirmatively, then he asked if it had been in the past 7 months, and I responded in the negative (because we had been living apart for a couple of years and he had not "visited" in almost one year), and so he ordered unsupervised, overnight visitation. And now I was supposed to ask this same judge, who now knew that I told on his assistant, to step down because I felt that he could not be impartial...and he was supposed to decide this for himself (and me)? WTF?

I was about to get the noose.

Out of total fear, I never did create the motion for recusal. I still thought I had a chance.

Presently, I have the same judge, somehow, even though the record reflects a change in judges over a year ago. I have asked my attorney, to no avail, to try to get me a new judge.

He won't go away.

2 advocates for peace:

Single Mom Fighting for Justice said...

In response to the paradox of recusal, I went through the same situation. I had to ask a judge to recuse herself because she was overwhelmingly bias against me and she ruled in favor of my ex regardless of the evidence I had against him. I had to ask for a recusal without having an attorney. My mother encourage me to go through without regardless of my fears. I complained to the presiding judge and then I proceeded to ask the judge to recuse herself in person. Surpisingly, she recused herself. If I had not asked her to recuse herself she would have found me in contempt of court because my ex missed ONE visitation. When you are scared and you feel like you are standing alone, remember, God is standing with you even when you can't see his footprints in the sand.

Rj said...

Thank you for your comment.