Originally Posted by Fuuma
So let's say I'm defending someone who (allegedly) gay-bashed 3 people I could, in theory, avoid having a known gay judge without needing to justify it by some other factor than said judge being gay?
Under the rule quoted by w/a above, I'd say yes.
In CA, which is the only state I have significant experience with, the practical answer is still yes but the doctrinal answer is a bit murkier.
Technically, the peremptory challenge (again, speaking only of CA law) is supposed to be based on a good faith belief that the judge may be prejudiced against the attorney, the attorney's firm, or the client. But there's no definition given for what it means to be "prejudiced against" an attorney or party, and more to the point there's really no way to test the bona fides of that purported good faith belief.
Originally Posted by Piobaire
So to bring this back to the case at hand...did the judge display a bias or did the judge render a sentencing many in the public disapprove of and this is what made the prosecutor demand reassignment? Also, even CNN is saying this move is highly unusual in occurrence. Is this correct?
I think "CNN . . . is this correct?" is pretty much all you ever need to type, no? No, CNN is not correct.
Depends on your definition of bias, I guess. I have a bias against lima beans. Lawyers exercise their reassignment rights all the time. Prosecutors, included. I can think of a number of instances where individual prosecutors or whole offices had pretty much a standing policy of challenging particular judges who they believed to be light sentencers, generally pro-defense, temporarily on the shit list because of how a particular case was handled, etc. So no, if CNN is saying it's highly unusual for prosecutors to exercise such strikes against judges, they're full of shit. (Again, only as a matter of California practice.)
To your first question . . . we all have preconceptions, values, what have you that filer how we perceive and respond to things.