posted 2021 | State v. DH (Central Florida)
What do you do when your judge is unfair and biased against your client? As a lawyer, it takes guts to file a motion telling a judge that he or she is unfair. It takes an even bolder lawyer to have the appellate court actually remove the biased judge from your case. Unfortunately, this happens way too often. Here is yet another instance (third time) that Mr. Forman successfully had an appellate court remove a judge from a case – not an easy task.
Mr. Forman was hired to file a motion for post-conviction relief after the client was given four life sentences. During the preparation of the motion, Mr. Forman learned that the trial judge made off-the-record comments. Instead of simply filing the motion for post-conviction relief, Mr. Forman devised a perfect legal strategy. He would file a motion for disqualification and a motion to mitigate sentence. By filing this motion instead of a motion for post-conviction relief, Mr. Forman knew that a favorable ruling in the appellate court would pave the way for success in vacating the client’s open plea.
As expected, the trial judge denied both motions. Mr. Forman appealed the trial judge’s denial and won. The trial judge was required to remove himself from the case, which was assigned to another judge. The client now has a new judge and an appellate decision to use as a basis to vacate his plea. This was a great first step and of course, client was happy.