Miller v. CarrollAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court's denial of Father's motion for reconsideration of the circuit court's ruling in favor of Mother in a custody dispute, holding that the "extreme" facts of this case rebutted the presumption of judicial impartiality and established a due process violation.
The circuit court judge accepted Mother's Facebook "friend request" after a contested hearing but before rendering a decision. During the twenty-five days between the judge's acceptance of Mother's friend request and his issuance of a written decision entirely in her favor, Mother engaged with and reacted to at least twenty of the judge's Facebook posts. Mother further "shared" and "liked" several third-party posts related to an issue that was contested at the hearing. After discovering the Facebook friendship and communications, which the judge never disclosed, Father moved the circuit court for reconsideration, requesting judicial disqualification and a new hearing. The judge denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed and remanded the case with directions that the court proceed before a different circuit court judge. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circumstances and facts of this case rose to the level of a serious risk of actual bias, which rebutted the presumption of the judge's impartiality.