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FATHERS RIGHTS-Should a judge that once presided over my felony criminal case recuse himself from hearing my child custody case?

Santa Maria, CA |

I plead to felony having sex with a minor (17 year old, I was 23) b/c alcohol was involved, was told it was a great deal because no jail time & no sex offender registration.This was 5 years ago, it has now been reduced to a misdemeanor & soon will be dismissed.I have not seen my 6 year old daughter in 1 year b/c her mother won't let me, so I filed. After gradual visitation was agreed on, we went back to court b/c she wants sole physical and legal custody, which the judge granted! We were the last case to be heard,& there were cases where fathers hadn't seen their kids for 5 years whose mothers were not awarded sole custody. He is saying I am incapable of making rational common sense decisions regarding the well being of my daughter. There has to be some bias here, what recourse do I have?

I do not have an attorney so I did not know I could object to having this judge hear my custody case, which, for the record, made me uncomfortable from the first time I realized he would be ruling. It wasn't until I was talking to a friend about his unfair ruling that they mentioned he should have recused himself, that I looked into this. My criminal history was NEVER brought up by my daughters mother, who also represented herself, so this judge has to be acting on prior knowledge which the mother purposely left out. So if she left it out, shouldn't the rule with impartiality? Why should he use information, that JUDGE X, wouldn't have knowledge of unless it was brought up in court?Ihave been in my child's life all but the last year when her mother prevented it, out of spite. I am married, own a home,I have other children, I am a responsible father who wants to be there for my daughter. What recourse do I have?

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Attorney answers 1


First: when you went to court in regard to the custody hearing, did you object to this judge hearing it? (Did this judge actually do anything in the criminal case other than accept the guilty plea?) If you didn't object then, you don't get to decide AFTER you've seen his ruling that you want to object NOW.

You're going to have the same problem with this judge, or any other judge, because the fact that you had a criminal conviction for a sex offense involving a minor, which was apparently AFTER you were the father of this child, is going to be admissible in a custody hearing, and will probably have a significant effect on the custody order any judge will make.

So, from the time of your daughter's birth, to one year ago, what did your parenting skills look like? How much did you participate in your daughter's life? As much as anything else, this will be important information to the judge. What did the judge do about the visitation schedule?

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