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Hernandez v. Brewer

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 22, 2017

Cristobal Hernandez, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
Janice K Brewer, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          James A. Teilborg Senior United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Recusal (Doc. 199), Plaintiff's Motion for Miscellaneous Relief under Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rule 60”) (Doc. 180), and several additional motions and miscellaneous filings by Plaintiff asking the Court to take “Judicial Notice” of purportedly “new” information or otherwise reconsider past holdings. (Doc. 176, 177, 183, 186, 188, 189, 192, 193, 195, 203, 204, 205, 209, 210, 211, 213, 217, 219, 220, 221). Also pending before the Court is the Pinal County Defendants'[1] Motion to Declare Plaintiff a Vexatious Litigant (Doc. 197), which the State Defendants[2] subsequently joined (Doc. 198). The Court now rules on the motions.

         I. BACKGROUND

         These motions relate to a §1983 claim Cristobal Hernandez, Jr. (“Plaintiff”) brought against Defendants in October 2011. (Doc. 1). On July 9, 2012, this Court dismissed all of Plaintiff's claims except one, which was a Fourth Amendment claim against Defendant Parry, a Pinal County deputy who conducted a traffic stop of Plaintiff. (Doc. 42). Subsequently, on September 10, 2013, this Court granted summary judgment to Defendant Parry and issued a final judgment for Defendants. (Doc. 167).

         Plaintiff then appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. On August 26, 2016, the Ninth Circuit affirmed this Court's ruling and ultimately denied Plaintiff's many motions and requests, including a request for reconsideration, a panel rehearing, and a rehearing en banc. Hernandez v. Brewer, 658 Fed.Appx. 837, 839 (9th Cir. 2016), cert. denied sub nom. Hernandez v. Ducey, 137 S.Ct. 1333 (2017), reh'g denied, 137 S.Ct. 2151 (2017). Plaintiff then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on March 30, 2017. Id. Plaintiff's subsequent petition for rehearing was also denied. Id.

         Although this Court entered a judgment in Plaintiff's case, which was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit and refused to be reheard by the Supreme Court, Plaintiff reverted to filing motions and requests in this Court. Plaintiff submitted numerous motions calling the Court's attention to “new” evidence or case law (Doc. 176, 177, 183, 186, 188, 189, 192, 193, 195, 203, 204, 205, 209, 210, 211, 213, 217, 219, 220, 221), in addition to a more formal request for relief under Rule 60 (Doc. 180) and a Motion for Recusal (Doc. 199).[3] Defendants filed timely responses to each of Plaintiff's motions calling for action. (Doc. 184, 187, 190, 194, 200, 206, 214, 218). Additionally, Defendants asked the Court to declare Plaintiff a vexatious litigant and enter a pre-filing order against him. (Doc. 197, 198). The Court will first analyze Plaintiff's pending Motion for Recusal (Doc. 199).

         II. MOTION FOR RECUSAL

         Plaintiff moves for the undersigned judge's recusal “for not follow[ing] binding case law.” (Doc. 199).

         A. Legal Standard

         Two statutes govern whether a federal judge must recuse in a particular case. The first, 28 U.S.C. § 144, provides:

Whenever a party to any proceeding in a district court makes and files a timely and sufficient affidavit that the judge before whom the matter is pending has a personal bias or prejudice either against him or in favor of any adverse party, such judge shall proceed no further therein, but another judge shall be assigned to hear such proceeding. The affidavit shall state the facts and the reasons for the belief that bias or prejudice exists, . . . A party may file only one such affidavit in any case. It shall be accompanied by a certificate of counsel of record stating that it is made in good faith.

28 U.S.C. § 144 (2006).

         The second statute, 28 U.S.C. §455, further provides in pertinent part:

(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following circumstances:
(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding.

28 U.S.C. § 455 (2006).

         The substantive standard for recusal under 28 U.S.C. § 144 and 28 U.S.C. § 455 is “whether a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would conclude that the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” United States v. Bigley, CV-14-00729-PHX-HRH, 2017 WL 3432370, at *2 (D. Ariz. Aug. 10, 2017) (citations omitted). In interpreting these statutes, the United States Supreme Court determined that “judicial rulings alone almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or partiality motion.” Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 541 (1994). This is because a judge's opinions formed “on the basis of facts introduced or events occurring in the course of the current proceedings, or of prior proceedings do not constitute a basis for a bias or partiality motion unless they display a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment impossible.” Id. at 555. “A judge's ordinary efforts at courtroom administration-even a stern and short-tempered judge's ordinary efforts at courtroom administration-remain ...


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