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Is it too late to change judges?

That’s a question often asked by a client. Moreover, it depends. The answer depends on where you are. Well, that answer is simple: are you in state court or federal court?
If you are in federal court removing a judge is next to impossible. The judge must show bias or has some interest (financial usually) in the outcome. For instance, your case is assigned by “lot” to a federal judge that hates defendants – what can you do? You have your attorney file a “motion to recuse the judge” based on bias or interest. The case is sent to another judge who then makes a finding. Other than that you can appeal after the motion is over.
In state court, the answer is more straightforward. At the outset of your case being assigned to a judge, you can disqualify the judge by filing a P.C. 170.6. However, it has to be timely, once the court begins to hear the case, say after the first appearance, you may be out of luck to disqualify the judge. It has to be at the beginning of the criminal case and not at some other time.

Author: Errol Stambler

Author: Errol Stambler

Errol Stambler’s nearly 30 years’ experience representing criminal defendants in state and federal courts – together with his expertise as a California State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist — enables him to craft a knowledgeable and compelling criminal defense for a wide variety of prosecutions, including white-collar crime, HUD fraud, drugs and narcotics, juvenile indictments, gang-related activities, tax evasion, and a myriad of other federal charges.

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