Available 7 Days/Week       MON - FRI  8am - 7pm       SAT - SUN  10am – 6pm
Call us (754) 701-3300
Apply Now

Court stops taking complaints against judge overseeing Trump documents case

A federal appeals court has stopped accepting public complaints against U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, many seeking her recusal from the U.S. Government’s classified documents case against former President Donald Trump, citing a flood of 1,000 filings in recent weeks that appear to be part of “an orchestrated campaign.”

The court acted after a general order from Chief Judge William Pryor Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which is based in Atlanta and covers Florida, Georgia and Alabama. A link entitled, “Judicial Council Order In the Matter of Judicial Complaints Against Judge Aileen M. Cannon,” appears on the court’s home page.

“Many of the complaints against Judge Cannon request that the Chief Circuit Judge remove her from the classified-documents case and reassign the case to a different judge,” Pryor wrote in an order dated May 22.

He added that many “also question the correctness of her rulings or her delays in issuing rulings in the case.” The judge instructed the clerk of the appeals court “not to accept further judicial complaints against United States District Judge Aileen M. Cannon” on or after May 16 “to the extent they are similar to previously filed complaints.”

The judge’s order was first reported by CNBC.

For months, Cannon, a 2020 Trump appointee who presides in Fort Pierce and who was assigned the Trump case after a federal grand jury handed up an indictment against the former president last year, has been the target of repeated media commentaries for allegedly “slow-walking” the case at the behest of defense lawyers. In open court and in filings, those lawyers have repeatedly insisted the case should not be tried until after the presidential election in November.

Defense lawyers also have filed a wide-ranging suite of motions to dismiss the case. They are based on allegations that the Biden Administration’s Justice Department is waging a “vindictive prosecution” against the former president, appointed Special Counsel Jack Smith without proper authorization, violated attorney-client privilege during the investigation, and used the FBI to stage a “raid” on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, among other things.    .

Although most of those motions were filed months ago, the judge has yet to rule on them, raising an outcry from critics who assert that she is accommodating the defense in a bid to prevent a trial before the election. If Trump defeats Biden and wins a second term in the White House, critics argue, he could order the Justice Department to drop the case against him.

But in his order, Pryor noted that the complaints “also do not establish that Judge Cannon was required to recuse herself from the case because she was appointed by then President Trump.”

Flood of complaints

He said that before May 16, multiple complaints of “Judicial Misconduct or Disability” were filed against Cannon. “Some of those complaints have been acted upon, and others will be acted upon in due course,” Pryor wrote.

Since May 16, the court clerk “has received over 1,000 judicial complaints against Judge Cannon that raise allegations that are substantially similar to the allegations raised in previous complaints,” Pryor wrote. “These complaints appear to be part of an orchestrated campaign.”

The court went on to dismiss “four of those orchestrated complaints as merits-related and as based on allegations lacking sufficient evidence to raise an inference that misconduct has occurred.”

Moreover, he added, “although many of the complaints allege an improper motive in delaying the case, the allegations are speculative and unsupported by any evidence.”

Legal experts agreed that Pryor could hardly move any complaint forward without evidence.

“There are lots of reasons why a federal district judge can be removed from a case, but the bottom line is that there has to be good evidence of a violation of one of the judicial ethics rules,” Robert Jarvis, a professor of law at Nova Southeastern University, said in an email. “Removal is not permitted simply because the judge is making rulings that one side or the other doesn’t like. That is why Pryor did what he did — he thinks these are just partisan complaints and have nothing to do with Cannon’s actual performance.”

Lawyers who have practiced in South Florida for a number of years suggested Pryor had little choice but to act.

“When judges perceive or observe an abuse of the system, they step in,” said Miami attorney David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor who is now in private practice with the Jones Walker firm. “Normally, the only people who can move for recusals are the parties in the case.”

Weinstein said he was not surprised that Pryor issued an order to stop the stream of complaints.

“The numbers [of complaints] filed doesn’t necessarily make it right,” he said. “It doesn’t mean the complaint is valid.”

David Markus, a longtime Miami criminal defense lawyer who authors the Southern District of Florida blog, filing unsubstantiated complaints are not helpful to the court.

“Like the old ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit where William Shatner tells fanatics at the Star Trek convention to ‘Get a Life,’ perhaps the mobs filing complaints about a federal judge they know nothing about should heed the same advice.”

#fortlauderdale, #fortlauderdalemortgage, #fortlauderdalemortgagelender, #fortlauderdalemortgagerates #fortlauderdalemortgagebroker