RECUSAL BY JUDGE

Opinion No. 12 (1976)*


QUESTION: A lawyer who is now a district judge borrowed money from A, executing his promissory note payable over a period of four years; prior to maturity, A was shot and killed by B who was found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial and was committed to a mental hospital; the lawyer, now the district judge, paid A's widow the loan balance but made another loan from her which has since been repaid. B has now been returned to the court for trial. Is the district judge disqualified to preside at any judicial proceedings involving B?

ANSWER: The Code of Judicial Conduct does not contain a specific answer to the question presented. A judge should bear in mind the provisions of
Canon 3C(1) and should recuse himself from any pending matter if he knows or has reason to believe that "his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

_______________

*Provisions relating to recusal and disqualification were removed from Canon 3C effective January 21, 1987. See Rules 18a and 18b, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.