The judge has it out for you. You're in court, and you have that sinking feeling in your gut.
When you feel like this, it's important to know that many people don't enjoy working with judges. They're not paid to be friendly. When they treat you gruffly or seem annoyed at the things you're doing and the questions you're asking, you may think they are biased against you. That doesn't mean it's true. The judge isn't there to like you or to be your friend.
That said, you may also be right. There could be specific ways in which the judge is treating you differently than he or she would treat others. This could be due to a bias based on race, gender, country of origin, or something else.
If you think that the judge is biased, he or she can't sit for the case, and you can ask for the judge to step away and let someone else take it. However, remember that you must prove that there is bias. Just feeling like the judge doesn't like you isn't enough.
So, how do you prove it? You need to find specific examples of ways in which you were treated unfairly. For example, perhaps those who are testifying against you are given as long as they want to speak. Those who are testifying for you are consistently cut off by the judge, even when they want more time. These types of clear actions go beyond your gut feeling and show that the judge is not treating you fairly.
The Judge May Leave When Asked
There is one situation in which you may not have to prove much: if the judge agrees to leave the case. On occasion, just because you requested it, the judge will "recuse" himself or herself, which means that the judge gives up the case.
What if No Change Is Made?
Even if no change is made, you may be able to appeal the judge's decision because you asked for a new judge and were not given one. Make sure you have excellent records of the supposed bias. Your request for a change will also be noted on the official record.
Your Rights in Court
The judge does have the most power in the courtroom, but that doesn't mean you don't have any rights. Always make sure you know what your rights are and what you can do if you think those rights aren't being respected.
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