Amatucci v. Wolfeboro Police Dep't, Doc. No. 212-2013-CV-178 (Carroll Super. Ct., January 3, 2014) (Houran, J.)

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Docket No. 212-2013-CV-178

Josephine Amatucci


Wolfeboro Police Department


Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 38, Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 2.11, I hereby recuse (disqualify) myself from this proceeding.

This order will also serve as notice to the Clerk that I am henceforth disqualifying myself from all matters concerning Ms. Amatucci.

A judge disqualifying himself or herself from presiding over a specific case or over a litigant's or lawyer's cases is not required to disclose the basis for the disqualification.1 Nonetheless, given the cost and inconvenience to the parties caused by a mid-litigation disqualification such as this, I provide a brief explanation.

All judges experience litigants, often but not always self-represented, who appear before them repeatedly, and I am no exception. All judges experience litigants who, often but not always when their position has not prevailed, make baseless accusations of things such as ex parte communications or judicial conspiracy, and I am no exception. In and of themselves, such factors form no basis for recusal. All judges must, however, be conscious of the possibility that the point may be reached at which the judge can no longer be certain that he or she is being fair to the litigant or the litigant's opposing parties and being impartial in the matters in which the litigant is involved. I have reached that point with this litigant.

Since 2008, I have presided over numerous cases brought by Ms. Amatucci. I have no doubt that I have been scrupulously fair to both Ms. Amatucci and the defendants she has sued in those cases. I also have no doubt that, but for the allegations Ms. Amatucci has made in her [2] recent pleadings in the above-referenced docket, I would be able to continue presiding over her cases impartially and fairly.

In her recent pleadings in this case Ms. Amatucci has asserted that I have engaged in judicial conspiracy and in ex parte communications with the attorney for the other party.2 These kinds of meritless accusations by an unsuccessful litigant would not typically result in judicial recusal. Here, however, the combination of my experience presiding over prior cases brought by Ms. Amatucci together with the recklessness of her current accusations causes me to be concerned that on a going forward basis I may not be able to maintain the dispassionate impartiality in her cases required of a judge. I therefore disqualify myself effective immediately.

Because I am disqualifying myself while a motion to reconsider my order on the merits is pending without ruling (and because I am now disqualified in this case, it will not be ruled upon) I am vacating my December 3, 2013 order, and notwithstanding the inevitable cost and inconvenience to the parties the merits of the case will need to be considered by a judge other than me.

So ordered.

January 3, 2014    /s/   

Steven M. Houran

Presiding Justice

1 Unless remitting the disqualification to the parties for potential waiver, Rule 2.11(C), which I am not.

2 So that there can be no possibility of any misunderstanding: These assertions are not true.