June 23, 2014      10:09 PM
Abbott loses bid to remove Judge John Dietz from school finance case
“One email from him to all the lawyers was sent at 8:40 p.m., a time when many people his age are getting ready for bed,” noted Peeples.
You can see the decision from Judge David Peeples by clicking here.
a nine-page opinion issued late Monday night, semi-retired Administrative Judge David Peeples
showed he both had a healthy sense of humor and carefully weighed the evidence
in the state’s effort to remove District Judge John Dietz from the ongoing school finance case.
his brief opinion sent to lawyers and media alike tonight, Peeples
opined that correspondence indicated the state clearly understood the
communication between Dietz and plaintiff attorneys, even if the state didn’t
recognize the extent of that communication. The extent Dietz’s procedure might
be considered rare, if not possibly unique, but it did not meet the legal
threshold for impartiality.
knew that the ISD plaintiffs would
be drafting proposed (findings of fact and conclusions of law) and sending
them to the court,”
Peeples wrote in his opinion released tonight. “Submissions from a prevailing party cannot be expected to be neutral and dispassionate, especially in a case like this one. It seems implicit
that this procedure contemplated some feedback in each direction, some back-and-forth discussion. All parties must have understood that there would be some give and take, such as: “Let’s keep A, omit B, and modify C. Why do you suggest
D? E seems better, but I am interested in your explanation for preferring D.” Is it the better practice
to be explicit
when deviating from usual procedures? Absolutely! But, as said above, the inquiry in this recusal proceeding is not best practices
but whether a judge’s
impartiality can be
Hence, despite the vehement objections of
Assistant Attorney General Beau Eccles,
Peeples could find nothing in the record that
indicated bias or partiality in the evidence. That didn’t stop him from taking
a poke at Dietz when he noted some of the extraordinary circumstances of the
By Kimberly Reeves