Decide’s Order Recusing Himself Can’t Be Appealed Instantly

Tennessee case abstract on recusal in divorce.

Margaret Kathryn Young v. Larry Joe Young

Shelby County Courthouse

The spouse on this Shelby County, Tennessee, case filed for divorce after 35 years of marriage.  She challenged the validity of the antenuptial settlement signed the day earlier than the wedding, and the query of the validity was heard at a listening to in July, 2022 earlier than Decide James F. Russell.

Throughout this spouse’s testimony, she was testifying relating to a toddler custody petition filed by her first husband, shortly after this marriage.  Decide Russell realized that he had been a associate within the regulation agency which represented the primary husband.  Decide Russell suggested the attorneys of those details, and advised them that his involvement in that case would haven’t any impact on his impartiality.  The spouse’s legal professional requested if the decide had any recollection of the case 37 years in the past, to which he replied, “not a lot.”

After a break, the husband’s legal professional requested that the decide recuse himself, on the grounds that the spouse may later complain.  The spouse, nevertheless, opposed recusal.  The court docket requested the spouse to waive any attainable battle, which she did.  Nonetheless, Decide Russell determined to recuse himself.

The spouse’s legal professional sought accelerated evaluation of the decide’s choice beneath a Supreme Courtroom rule governing recusal instances.  The legal professional argued that the decide had an obligation to listen to the case.

The appeals court docket first famous that the foundations of judicial conduct require judges to listen to instances except disqualified by some regulation.  It conceded {that a} recusal can, certainly, burden the events to a case.

However the appeals court docket identified that the rule cited by the husband utilized solely to instances the place the trial decide refused to recuse himself.  Appeals of a decide’s choice to recuse himself, like all different appeals, should wait till a last judgment.

The spouse anticipated this argument, and likewise requested evaluation beneath a standard regulation writ of certiorari.  However the appeals court docket held that this was not the correct process to be adopted.  There are different provisions which can be utilized for interlocutory appeals, and since these weren’t adopted, the attraction was not correct.

For these causes, the Courtroom of Appeals dismissed the attraction.  The court docket’s opinion was authored by Decide W. Neal McBrayer, and it was joined by Judges J. Steven Stafford and Thomas R. Frierson II.

No. W2022-01031-COA-T10B-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 19, 2022).

See unique opinion for actual language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To be taught extra, see The Tennessee Divorce Course of: How Divorces Work Begin to End.