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Williams v. State

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


November 9, 2009

LANA K. WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REGARDING MOTION FOR NEW JUDGE AND CHANGE OF VENUE

(Document 7)

Plaintiff Lana K. Williams ("Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant action on September 22, 2009. On October 26, 2009, Plaintiff filed a document entitled "Request of Motion for New Judge-Retired Out of Venue. Amended." By the motion, Plaintiff requests a "new judge, retired, and out of venue" and asks that her matter "go before a Judge Sullivan." Plaintiff appears to contend that due to her prior cases in this district, the present judges may be biased.

1. Request for New Judge

Generally, a party has no right to a judge of her choice in federal court. McCuin v. Texas Power & Light Co., 714 F.2d 1255, 1262 (5th Cir. 1983). Insofar as Plaintiff suggests a bias based on her prior cases in this district, this is insufficient to support recusal because "judicial rulings alone almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or partiality motion." Pesnell v. Arsenault, 543 F.3d 1038, 1044 (9th Cir. 2008) (internal citation omitted); see also McWhorter v. City of Birmingham, 906 F.2d 674, 678 (11th Cir. 1990) ("Ordinarily, a judge's rulings in the same or a related case may not serve as the basis for a recusal motion."). Therefore, Plaintiff's motion for a new judge is DENIED.

2. Change of Venue

It is unclear whether Plaintiff's request for a change of venue is related solely to her motion that she "go before a Judge Sullivan" or whether it is a separate request. To the extent it is separate, the Court finds no basis for a change in venue. Plaintiff elected to file her complaint in this Court, she lists her address in Madera, California, and the allegations in her complaint appear to arise from events or occurrences in Madera County. Pursuant to Local Rule 3-120(b), civil actions arising in Madera County shall be commenced in the Fresno Division of the Eastern District of California. Accordingly, Plaintiff's request for a change of venue is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20091109

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