This case was not handled by our firm. However, if you have any questions regarding this case, or any trusts and estates matter, please contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.
For purposes of this article, “judge” means probate judge, probate magistrate and attorney probate referee.
When disqualification of a judge is required:
A judge shall disqualify himself or herself if required under C.G.S. section 45a-22, section 3E of the Code of Probate Judicial Conduct or the Probate Court Rules of Procedure. Section 45a-22 states that when there is so near a relationship between any deceased person or any legatee, devisee, heir, spouse or creditor of such deceased person, and a judge of probate, as between husband and wife, parent and child, brothers and sisters, by nature or marriage, or when any such judge is interested in any matter brought to or pending in his court, he or she shall be disqualified to act as judge in relation to the estate of such deceased person or in hearing such matter; and he or she may decline to act as such judge in any matter if in his or her opinion it would be improper for him or her so to act.
Motion for disqualification of a judge:
A party seeking disqualification of a probate judge shall file a motion setting forth the grounds for disqualification. The party shall file the motion for disqualification at least three (3) business days before the hearing on the matter for which disqualification is sought. The court may waive this requirement, however, if strict adherence will cause injustice. The court shall decide the motion for disqualification before hearing the underlying matter.
Hearing and decision on motion for disqualification:
On receipt of a motion for disqualification, the judge shall disqualify himself or herself, conduct a hearing on the issue of disqualification, or ask the probate court administrator to cite another judge to act in the matter, without recommending or suggesting a judge, to hear and decide the issue of disqualification. The court shall issue a decree, in writing, on a motion for disqualification. If the court denies the motion, the court shall make findings regarding the grounds set forth in the motion.
Lawsuit or complaint against judge:
A judge is not automatically disqualified from acting on a matter because a party or attorney for the party has a pending lawsuit against the judge or pending complaint about the judge with the Council on Probate Judicial Conduct. If the judge becomes aware of a lawsuit or complaint about the judge, the judge shall disqualify himself or herself, or advise each party and attorney of record of the lawsuit or complaint and with conduct a hearing on the issue of disqualification, or ask the probate court administrator to cite another judge to hear and decide the issue of disqualification. Disclosure of a complaint is not a waiver of confidentiality of proceedings before the council.
Disclosure and waiver of disqualification:
If a judge is not disqualified from acting under C.G.S. section 45a-22, section 3E of the Code of Probate Judicial Conduct or the Probate Court Rules of Procedure, but is aware of information that a party or attorney for a party might consider relevant to the question of disqualification, the judge shall disclose the information, in writing, to each party and attorney of record. The judge may hear the matter if, after the disclosure, each party and attorney of record is afforded an opportunity to consider waiver of disqualification outside the presence of the judge, and no party or attorney files a motion to disqualify the judge.
Judge to act for disqualified judge:
If a judge disqualifies himself or herself from hearing a matter, the court shall ask the probate court administrator to cite another judge, without recommending or suggesting a judge, to act in the matter.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a probate law attorney about a will, trust, or estate matter, please contact the experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.