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Schlenvogt v. Marshall

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


September 15, 2008

O. PAUL SCHLENVOGT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SCOTT MARSHALL, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Presently before the Court is Plaintiff O. Paul Schlenvogt's motion to disqualify both the district judge and the magistrate judge assigned to his case.*fn1 For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

A district judge or magistrate judge "shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." 28 U.S.C. § 455(a).

A judge shall also disqualify himself for reasons of bias or prejudice, financial interest, or a prior relationship to the case." Id. at § 455(b). In determining whether disqualification is proper, courts apply an objective test: "whether a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would conclude that the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned." Clemens v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for Central Dist. of California, 428 F.3d 1175, 1178 (9th Cir. 2005) (citations omitted). "The 'reasonable person' in this context means a 'well-informed, thoughtful observer,' as opposed to a 'hypersensitive or unduly suspicious person.'" Id. (citations omitted). Further, the grounds for disqualification must arise from "extra-judicial" factors, namely, factors not related to the judicial proceeding at hand. Id.

Although, Plaintiff has filed over 180 pages in support of his motion for disqualification, a careful reading of Plaintiff's arguments shows that his grounds for disqualification amount to nothing more than a disagreement with the Court's rulings in this case. Thus, Plaintiff's argument does not arise from the "extra-judicial" factors required to warrant disqualification. Further, to the extent Plaintiff disagrees with this Court's rulings, his avenue of redress is via an appeal, not a motion to disqualify.

Plaintiff also makes several egregious and wholly unfounded accusations regarding the district judge and magistrate judge. Plaintiff even goes so far as to accuse the district judge and magistrate judge of conspiring to murder him.

Not only do Plaintiff's assertions lack support, but they are precisely the hypersensitive and unduly suspicious beliefs that the Ninth Circuit has found do not support disqualification.

The Court finds that viewing the facts of this case, a reasonable person would not conclude that either the district judge's or the magistrate judge's impartiality should be questioned.

CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff's motion to disqualify the district judge and magistrate judge assigned to this case is denied.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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