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Gregorio Ortiz, Jr. v. U.S. District Court Central Dist. of Cal.
April 27, 2012
GREGORIO ORTIZ, JR.
U.S. DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DIST. OF CAL.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Present: The Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, United States District Judge
Wendy K. Hernandez Not Present n/a
Deputy Clerk Court Reporter Tape No. Attorneys Present for Plaintiff(s):
Attorneys Present for Defendant(s):
Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order Denying Petitioner's Motion for Disqualification of the Magistrate Judge
The Court has received and considered Petitioner Gregorio Ortiz Jr.'s ("Petitioner") motion to disqualify Magistrate Judge Victor B. Kenton. See Dkt. # 10. For the reasons that follow, the Court denies Petitioner's motion to disqualify.
Petitioner seeks recusal of Magistrate Judge Victor B. Kenton on the grounds that Magistrate Judge Kenton has a conflict of interest, is personally prejudiced against Petitioner, and because the impartiality of Magistrate Judge Kenton is in question. The factual basis for each of these assertions rests on the fact that Magistrate Judge Kenton was the Magistrate involved in several unsuccessful petitions previously filed by Petitioner. Petitioner claims Magistrate Judge Kenton's "unfavorable opinions of facts of previous rulings or recommendations constitute impermissible bias." See Mot. 2:4-6. In support of this assertion, Petitioner points to the denial of a motion for reconsideration pursuant to Rule 60(b) filed in Ortiz v. Runnels, Case No. CV 04-00324 AHM (VBKx). This motion was denied on March 15, 2012. See Ortiz v. Runnels, Case No. CV 04-00324 AHM (VBKx), Docket No. 38 (Mar. 15, 2012). Magistrate Judge Kenton did not issue a Report and Recommendation in connection with that motion.
Petitioner provides no evidence that would cause a reasonable person to question Magistrate Judge Kenton's impartiality, see 28 U.S.C. § 455; Williams v. Costello, No. CV 95-3055 VRW, 1996 WL 637849, *1 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 21, 1996), and is unable to point to anything in the record even hinting at such a high degree of "favoritism or antagonism" that might warrant recusal, Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555-56 (1994) (explaining that opinions formed in the course of judicial proceedings "almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or partiality motion" and can only do so "in the rarest circumstances" where the opinions reveal "a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment impossible").
Based on the foregoing, the Court denies Petitioner's motion to disqualify Magistrate Judge Victor B. Kenton.
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