United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION FOR
CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Colorado Springs Fellowship
Church's(“CSFC”) Motion for
Re-Consideration [sic] to the Hon. Christine Arguello, U.S.
District Judge, to Recuse Herself from All Proceedings Going
Forward and Re-Assign [sic] the Case (“Motion for
Reconsideration”). (Doc. # 1148.) For the following
reasons, the Motion is granted in part and denied in part.
Specifically, the Motion is granted in that the Court will
analyze the arguments in CSFC's Motion for Recusal (Doc.
# 1145) and Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. # 1148) without
focusing on the issue of mootness. However, CSFC's
request for recusal is denied.
Court recently recounted the factual background of this case
in its Order Unsealing, in Part, Hearing Transcripts. (Doc. #
1146.) The Court incorporates those facts in full and
proceeds to a discussion of CSFC's Motion for Recusal.
asserts that recusal is warranted based on 28 U.S.C.
§§ 144 & 455. The Court will address each
alleged basis for recusal in turn.
28 U.S.C. § 144
party believes that a judge is biased against him, he may
file a “timely and sufficient affidavit [alleging] that
the judge before whom the matter is pending has a personal
bias . . . against him or in favor of any adverse
party.” 28 U.S.C. § 144. If a timely and
sufficient affidavit is filed, the allegedly biased
“judge shall proceed no further therein, but another
judge shall be assigned to hear such proceeding.”
Id. “The affidavit [must] state the facts and
the reasons for the belief that bias or prejudice exists . .
. .” Id. An untimely affidavit requires proof
of “good cause” to be considered. Id.
party raises a motion pursuant to § 144, a judge is
“not automatically disqualif[ied].” United
States v. Bray, 546 F.2d 851, 857 (10th Cir. 1976).
Rather, the judge is required to consider the sufficiency of
the filing. See id. The judge's investigation of
sufficiency entails evaluating both whether the allegations
rise beyond conclusory and whether the affidavits are timely
filed. See Hinman v. Rogers, 831 F.2d 937, 938-39
(10th Cir. 1987). “Disqualification under 28 U.S.C.
§ 144 places a substantial burden on the moving party to
demonstrate that the judge is not impartial, not a burden on
the judge to prove that [she] is impartial.” In re
McCarthey, 368 F.3d 1266, 1269 (10th Cir. 2004).
although the Court must accept the facts alleged in the
supporting affidavit under § 144 as true, the affidavit
is construed strictly against the moving party. See Glass
v. Pfeffer, 849 F.2d 1261, 1267 (10th Cir. 1988).
Judicial rulings alone are almost always insufficient to
establish bias, as are mere “speculation, beliefs,
conclusions, innuendo, suspicion, opinion, and similar
non-factual matters . . . .” Leatherwood v.
Allbaugh, 861 F.3d 1034, 1050 (10th Cir. 2017)
support of its Motion, CSFC submitted the affidavit of Rose
Banks. (Doc. # 1145-1.) Ms. Banks' affidavit is
insufficient for two reasons:
is untimely; and
Banks' allegations are conclusory, and the statements Ms.
Banks asserts demonstrate bias are merely the Court's
recitation of the testimony presented by ...