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If a prosecuting attorney, prosecuted a case and is now a judge, can that judge now preside over a case involving that same pers

Taylor, MI |
Filed under: Professional ethics

If a prosecuting attorney, prosecuted a case and is now a judge, can that judge now preside over a case involving that same person?

Example: A prosecuting attorney prosecuted "John".

"Jane" was the victim.

Now that prosecuting attorney is a judge and has a case before him/her involving "Jane" as the plaintiff and "Mark" (a different man) as the deffendant?

Can that judge still hear the case?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Probably so long as it is not the same case. There may be an argument for disqualification if it can be shown that the judge has a bias against the defendant as a result of the former prosecution. If challenged, the judge may elect to disqualify himself or herself if there is the appearance of impropriety even though the judge may not feel he or she is biased.

    Do you have a lawyer? It seems like if you had an attorney you trusted, you would know the answer to your question. The individual facts and circumstances of your case are unique and your question must be analyzed based upon your particular case.

    If you do not have an attorney, you can find an experienced criminal defense lawyer by searching on for a 10.0 rated attorney.

    Loren M. Dickstein (248) 263-6800

  2. From the example you've given I do not believe there is any bias unless there are other facts. However, it may be that there is an appearance of impropriety and a Motion to Recuse the judge might be granted. Remember, the judge will decide the motion and if they decide against you will continue to preside over the case. I rarely recommend filing such a motion so take care.

    This response does not create an ongoing duty to respond to questions, nor does it form an attorney-client relationship, it is simply the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. The Answering Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Responses are based solely on Pennsylvania law unless stated otherwise.

  3. Your scenario does not present a conflict of interest; which in Michigan must be actual, and not perceived.

  4. You should review Michigan Court Rule (MCR) 2.003 re: Disqualification of Judge. You can find it online @ or through my website

    You can also review the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct where the 1st 3 Canons have some potential application to the situation you posit. You can also find same @

    Either the judge, or a party, can move for disqualification.

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