Tyrese Says Divorce Judge Is Biased Against Him – Could It Be True?
Divorce and custody cases are often fraught with emotion simply because of the personal nature of the matters being addressed. Added to that, trusting someone else to make decisions regarding your divorce settlement or child custody dispute can be both challenging and frustrating. The court is required to be impartial, but it may not always feel as though the judge is completely unbiased toward both participants in a case.
R&B singer and actor Tyrese Gibson recently experienced this during court proceedings related to his divorce and custody and support of his three-year-old daughter. A Georgia court ordered Gibson to pay more than $10,000 per month in child support, despite Gibson’s contention that the amount is too high. Gibson has now alleged that the judge handling the divorce case, Judge Kevin M. Farmer, was biased. As a result, Gibson has requested that the judge be recused from the case.
According to documents filed by Gibson’s attorneys on his behalf, Gibson claims that Judge Farmer exhibited multiple signs of bias against Gibson throughout the case. Among the many examples of bias alleged in the Motion for Recusal, the documents cite an alleged incident in which Judge Farmer, during a pre-trial hearing in his chambers, “’stated that he already has reviewed the financial evidence in the case’ and that $10,690 was ‘an appropriate amount’ for the actor to pay,’” according to a report by ETOnline. This, the motion alleges, means that the judge had already decided the matter against Gibson before actually hearing any of the evidence or information that would be presented in court.
In the motion for recusal, Gibson further alleges that Judge Farmer was combative and frequently interrupted Gibson during Gibson’s testimony, allegedly stating at one point that “counsel for [Tyrese] needed to ‘put a foot on her client’s neck.’” The motion also claims that Judge Farmer “yelled at opposing counsel using an expletive” and that the judge told Gibson’s counsel that “if [he] did not behave, he would leave the courtroom in handcuffs.”
Gibson’s claims are supported by his attorneys, both of whom submitted affidavits to the court giving written accounts that back up Gibson.
Now, Tyrese Gibson’s case is not necessarily the norm. For one thing, he is a fairly well-known celebrity, a factor that on its own can result in preconceived notions. Secondly, divorce, child custody, and child support matters are handled every single day in courts across the United States without any claims of bias against the judges presiding over these cases.
However, it is not unheard of and certainly not impossible for a judge to have or develop a bias against one party or another, regardless of anyone’s celebrity status. It is also not unheard of for the court to grant a motion for recusal if there is enough evidence to support the claims made in the motion.
So, what actually counts as bias? And, if you are in the midst of or recently finalized a family law matter such as a divorce, child custody, or child support matter in Maryland family court and you suspect that the judge may be or was biased against you, what should you do?
Worried the judge is biased against you?
If you get the impression that the judge in your family law case dislikes you, the first thing you should do is discuss the matter with your Maryland divorce lawyer. While it may seem silly or you may feel like you are being paranoid, it is important to trust your instincts. Judges are human and not immune to taking a dislike to someone who enters their courtroom. However, it crosses the line if a judge treats you differently or rules against you based on their personal feelings rather than the law. An experienced divorce lawyer has spent significantly more time in court than the average person who is going through a divorce, and should be able to advise you on whether or not the judge’s behavior is inappropriate.
What can you do if a Maryland family court judge is biased against you?
State law requires judges to perform their duties without bias or prejudice. The law clearly states that judges may not “by words or conduct, manifest bias, prejudice, or harassment based upon race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation.” However, judges are not prohibited from “making legitimate references to the listed factors, or similar factors, when they are relevant to an issue in a proceeding.”
Judges who do not adhere to these standards may face repercussions.
If you believe that the judge in your case is being unfair, you do have options. Your attorneys can do the following on your behalf:
- File a Motion for Recusal
- File an appeal to send the decision to a higher court
- File a Motion for Reconsideration
- File a grievance based on the judge’s unethical behavior
Should you challenge a judge if you suspect bias?
If you cannot shake the feeling that your family court judge based their ruling on their personal feelings or prejudices toward you rather than on the rule of law or what is in the best interest of your child, you may need to consider filing a Motion for Recusal or taking other action in response to the judge’s behavior. While these situations do not occur every day, they do happen, and when they do it is important to have an experienced Fulton child support lawyer on your side to help ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
The seasoned divorce and family law attorneys at McCabe Russell, PA in Fulton are knowledgeable in all areas of family law, particularly matters relating to child support and child custody. We also bring significant courtroom experience to every case we handle, meaning we are well-positioned to detect any bias and advise our clients on the best course of action. Every case – and every judge – is unique, and it is important to remain calm and make use of the legal avenues available when bias is suspected.
Our pragmatic and compassionate approach to family law helps to do just that. If you or a loved one is facing a divorce, child custody, or child support case, we can help. We represent families in and around Fulton, Bethesda, Rockville, and Columbia, Maryland. Give us a call today at 443-917-3347 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.
Emily has earned the well-deserved reputation among her colleagues for her willingness to successfully take on some of the most difficult divorce and custody cases throughout the state. Without a doubt, Emily is the trial attorney you want seated on your side of the courtroom.
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