Recusal of Trial Judge
Ex parte Derrick J. Williamson, Jr., [Ms. 2200070, Dec. 18, 2020], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. Civ. App. 2020). The court (Thompson, P.J., and Moore, Edwards, and Hanson, JJ., concur; Donaldson, J., recuses) denies a pro se plaintiff’s petition for writ of mandamus seeking recusal of the trial judge presiding over an action asserting injunctive and damage claims arising from the termination of plaintiff’s employment with the Alabama Department of Mental Health. In denying the petition, the court explains
The political contribution made in 2008 by the law firm that employed [defense counsel] Tompkins was not made in “the immediately preceding election” so as to trigger the application of §12-24-3(a). None of the “procedural deficiencies” described by Williamson amount to a basis to question the trial-court judge’s impartiality. That is, the trial-court judge was not required to have the hearings on the motions to dismiss recorded, was not required to state his rulings at the conclusion of the hearings, and was not required to make findings of facts or conclusions of law in his orders granting the motions to dismiss, preventing his failure to perform any of those actions from being construed as partiality or bias for or against any party. In addition, neither the fact that the trial-court judge failed to discipline Tompkins for a legal argument she asserted in the motion to dismiss filed on behalf of the individual defendants nor the fact that the trial-court judge and the attorneys for the various defendants are Caucasian are sufficient to raise questions of bias or partiality.