Thursday, August 29, 2019

Motion for Recusal Denied As Untimely


In the case of Philadelphia Cmty. Dev. Cole. v. Isabella, May Term, 2016, No. 04133 (C.P. Phila. Co. March 27, 2019 Powell, J.), the court addressed the current status of the Pennsylvania law surrounding a motion for recusal of a trial court judge.  

In denying the motion, the court noted that the parties seeking their recusal at a pattern of filing recusal motions at the trial level and on appeal, all of which had been previously denied. The court also observed that all of the party’s recusal motions had been filed after the court issued decisions adverse to that party.  

The court generally noted that judges are presumed under Pennsylvania law to be fair and competent.  

It was also noted that a party seeking recusal was required to raise the objection at the earliest possible moment or the issue would be considered time-barred.  

The court otherwise noted that, once a trial in a matter was completed, a party was deemed to have waived the right to have a judge disqualified.  

In cases where after-discovered evidence was involved, the moving party was required to show that the evidence could not have been brought to the attention of the court in the exercise of due diligence and that the existence of the evidence would have compelled a different result.  

In this matter, the party did not submit its Motion for Recusal until more than four (4) months after the trial court had finally decided the matter.   The court concluded that the Motion for Recusal was therefore untimely such that the issues raised were waived.   

The court additionally found that the party failed to meet the requirements regarding after-discovered evidence given that that evidence could have been easily discovered through a simple internet search and presented to the court far sooner.  

Please click this LINK if you wish to read this Opinion.

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