Isn’t state court a hoot? Motion practice can be like waiting in line at the old Corky’s or Pumpernik’s, lawyers and court reporters stuffed in and around the small hallways, fighting to be heard, listening for your number, hoping/praying the judge has read your brief or at a minimum has the file on her desk.
This opinion today from our coffee-drinking robed brethren to the south epitomizes the sometimes surreal world down on Flagler, in this week’s nostalgic edition of 3d DCA Watch:
The trial judge denied the petitioners’ motion to disqualify as legally insufficient, and we agree that the grounds asserted in the motion did not require the trial judge’s disqualification. However, after ruling on the petitioners’ motion to disqualify, the trial judge addressed the merits of the motion and stated her reasons for the ruling. Accordingly, prohibition disqualifying the trial judge is required. See Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.330(f) (stating that after deeming the motion to disqualify insufficient, “[n]o other reason for denial shall be stated”); Bundy v. Rudd, 366 So. 2d 440, 442 (Fla. 1978) (“When a judge has looked beyond the mere legal sufficiency of a suggestion of prejudice and has attempted to refute the charges of partiality, he [or she] has then exceeded the proper scope of his [or her] inquiry and on that basis alone established grounds for his [or her] disqualification.”).
So the grounds for disqualification were legally insufficient, but then the judge pipes off on the motion, thus mandating immediate recusal? “Your Honor, can you cut my brisket any leaner”?