An AAJ article today reported on the case of Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. in which the Court held in a 5-4 decision that state court judges that get big campaign contributions cannot sit in judgment of their biggest contributors. In this due process decision the court ruled that a judge must step down when one of the litigants is a major campaign contributor to that judge to avoid an inference of bias.
In this case a coal company executive spent $3 million to get Judge Brent Benjamin elected to the state supreme court. He then ruled in favor of that coal company in a $50 million case.
Kennedy, writing for justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer, stressed that ‘not every campaign contribution by a litigant or attorney creates a probability of bias that requires a judge’s recusal’ and that this was an extraordinary case.
Attorney John Feroleto
Attorney John Feroleto understands the value of hard work. He is known in the community and by his peers for his willingness to work and go the extra mile. Other lawyers often ask John to handle their trial matters to maximize clients’ recovery. Trial lawyers know who the best trial lawyers are. He was also named Trial Attorney of the Year in 2012 by the Western New York Affiliate of New York State Trial Lawyers Association. [ Attorney Bio ]