GPO-CONAN-2017-10-15.pdf

773 in caperton a company appealed a jury verdict of

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there is an unconstitutional ‘potential for bias.’ ” 773 In Caperton , a company appealed a jury verdict of $50 million, and its chairman spent $3 million to elect a justice to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia at a time when “[i]t was reasonably foreseeable . . . that the pending case would be before the newly elected jus- tice.” 774 This $3 million was more than the total amount spent by all other supporters of the justice and three times the amount spent by the justice’s own committee. The justice was elected, declined to recuse himself, and joined a 3-to-2 decision overturning the jury ver- dict. The Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 opinion written by Justice Ken- nedy, “conclude[d] that there is a serious risk of actual bias—based on objective and reasonable perceptions—when a person with a per- sonal stake in a particular case had a significant and disproportion- 768 Hortonville Joint School Dist. v. Hortonville Educ. Ass’n, 426 U.S. 482 (1976). Compare Arnett v. Kennedy, 416 U.S. 134, 170 n.5 (1974) (Justice Powell), with id. at 196–99 (Justice White), and 216 (Justice Marshall). 769 556 U.S. ___, No. 08–22, slip op. at 6 (2009) (citations omitted). 770 556 U.S. ___, No. 08–22, slip op. at 6, quoting Tumey v. Ohio, 273 U.S. 510, 523 (1927). 771 556 U.S. ___, No. 08–22, slip op. at 6 (citations omitted). 772 556 U.S. ___, No. 08–22, slip op. at 7, 9. 773 556 U.S. ___, No. 08–22, slip op. at 11 (citations omitted). 774 556 U.S. ___, No. 08–22, slip op. at 15. 1974 AMENDMENT 14—RIGHTS GUARANTEED
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ate influence in placing the judge on the case by raising funds or directing the judge’s election campaign when the case was pending or imminent.” 775 Subsequently, in Williams v. Pennsylvania , the Court found that the right of due process was violated when a judge on the Pennsyl- vania Supreme Court—who participated in case denying post- conviction relief to a prisoner convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death—had, in his former role as a district attorney, given approval to seek the death penalty in the prisoner’s case. 776 Relying on Caperton , which the Court viewed as having set forth an “objective standard” that requires recusal when the likelihood of bias on the part of the judge is “too high to be constitutionally tolerable,” 777 the Williams Court specifically held that there is an impermissible risk of actual bias when a judge had previously had a “significant, personal involvement as a prosecutor in a critical de- cision regarding the defendant’s case.” 778 The Court based its hold- ing, in part, on earlier cases which had found impermissible bias occurs when the same person serves as both “accuser” and “adjudi- cator” in a case, which the Court viewed as having happened in Williams . 779 It also reasoned that authorizing another person to seek the death penalty represents “significant personal involvement” in a case, 780 and took the view that the involvement of multiple ac- tors in a case over many years “only heightens”—rather than miti- gates—the “need for objective rules preventing the operation of bias that otherwise might be obscured.” 781 As a remedy, the case was
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