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Why does judicial bias occur?

After getting charged with a felony, you have the right to a fair trial. Nothing can infringe upon that right.

Many people focus on the second part of the equation: The right to a trial itself. While that is a fundamental right in America and a reason the justice system helped pave the way for modern systems all over the world, the first part is equally as important. It has to be fair.

One potential problem is judicial bias. A judge may be biased against you and your case from the very beginning, making it impossible to render a fair ruling. Why does this happen?

Usually, experts note, it is because the judge has something at stake. It is often personal.

For instance, one professor said that it often involves investments or people who own stock in certain companies. If a corporation was taken to court and the outcome would cause the stock value to plummet, a judge who owned stock in that company may be more likely to side with the company. After all, doing so would directly impact the judge's own investments in a positive manner, or it would at least prevent a negative impact. On those grounds, a judge in such a case may get disqualified.

Another common reason, the professor noted, is that a judge is related to someone who goes to trial. It may be a distant relationship or just through marriage, but can still get the judge disqualified on the grounds that he or she is biased.

If you think your judge is biased, it is a very serious accusation. Make sure you know exactly what legal steps to take.

Source: National Public Radio, "Judicial Bias: What Crosses The Line?," Jennifer Ludden, accessed June 03, 2018

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