United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Criminal Procedure — judicial bias
A trial judge who formerly served as counsel for INS need not recuse himself from a criminal trial of a defendant charged with illegal reentry. “Judge Der-Yeghiayan was not disqualified from presiding over Lara’s trial and sentencing because he has not “served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel [or] adviser concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy.” 28 U.S.C. § 455(b)(3) (emphasis added). While serving as INS Counsel in the Executive Branch, Judge Der- Yeghiayan was not personally involved in Lara’s 1997–1998 deportation proceeding. Even if he had been, the criminal proceeding on appeal here is entirely independent of his first deportation proceeding fifteen years ago. Additionally, Lara’s counsel concedes that our circuit’s precedents foreclose Lara’s collateral attack of his deportation order under 8 U.S.C. § 1326(d).”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Der-Yeghiayan, J., Manion, J.