How to Change Judges

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What is a Judge’s Role?

The judge’s role is important in all cases, but their importance does diminish or increase depending on the type of case.

What Happens if You Want to Change Judges?

Changing judges is a common request and each state handles it differently. Many states allow you to easy change a judge if you request the change early, but make it more difficult once proceedings begin. If an early request is not made some clear indication that a fair trial will not occur needs to exist.

Some examples of clear reasons why a judge could not give a fair trial are as follows.

Often if situations like these occur the judge will remove themselves voluntarily, which is called recusal.

Can I Change the Judge if I Don’t Like How They Are Handling My Case?

Simply not agreeing with what the judge decides on an issue will almost never be a sufficient reason to change judges. Since every ruling will hurt one side or the other, things could never get accomplished if people continually asked for new judges every time a party didn’t like a decision.  If you truly think the judge made a wrong decision you can appeal it, but it is very rare to change judges simply because you don’t like how they are handling your case.

Do I Need an Attorney to Change Judges?

The judge that proceeds over your trial will have a significant impact on your case. You may want to research the judge you have been assigned long before your case begins and possibly go into their courtroom and watch how they handle issues. It is important to realize that all individuals have a constitutional right to watch a trial unless extreme circumstances exist. Considering how important the Judge is to your case you may want to observe them in action. If during your research you discover something you dislike about the judge prior to your court date a lawyer can help you change judges. However, the longer you wait to request a change the less likely it is for your request to be granted.

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Last Modified: 09-29-2012 10:22 AM PDT

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