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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ind. Courts - 7th Circuit denies bid to remove Wis. federal judge in strip-search suits

Bruce Vielmetti of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had the story June 9th. It begins:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected the City of Milwaukee's request that it remove a trial judge presiding over some of the civil rights cases brought against the city by people who say they were subjected to illegal strip and body cavity searches.

Citing some statements he made in the cases, the city asked U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller to recuse himself. When he declined, the city asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to order Stadtmueller off the cases.

In a 10-page ruling Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit found that just because a judge forms opinions, they don't rise to bias or impartiality "unless they display a deep seated favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judging impossible," and that in Stadtmueller's case, they did not.

Only one of Stadtmueller's challenged statements involve information from beyond the cases. In a footnote to an order that actually reduced a jury's punitive damages award against the city, the judge commented that Milwaukee police apparently opted to continue the kind of illegal stops that the plaintiff had experienced, citing a newspaper article that quoted Chief Edward Flynn.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 11, 2015 10:53 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions