Motion to Disqualify District Attorney California
Penal Code Section 1424, subdivision (a)(1) provides that a motion to recuse a district attorney "may not be granted unless the evidence shows that a conflict of interest exists that would render it unlikely that the defendant would receive a fair trial."
"A 'conflict,' within the meaning of section 1424, exists whenever the circumstances of a case evidence a reasonable possibility that the DA's office may not exercise its discretionary function in an evenhanded manner." (People v. Conner (1983) 34 Cal. 3d 141, 148 193 Cal. Rptr. 148, 666 P.2d 5.)
The conflict is disabling under section 1424 only when it is "so grave as to render it unlikely that the defendant will receive fair treatment during all portions of the criminal proceedings." (Conner, supra, 34 Cal. 3d at p. 148)
Thus, the Conner court sets forth a two-part test for determining whether recusal is required:
(1) is there a conflict of interest and (2) is the conflict so severe as to disqualify the district attorney from acting? (Ibid.; People v. Eubanks (1996) 14 Cal. 4th 580, 594 59 Cal. Rptr. 2d 200, 927 P.2d 310.)
On appeal, we review the court's factual determinations on the recusal motion under the substantial evidence test. ( Millsap v. Superior Court (1999) 70 Cal. App. 4th 196, 200 82 Cal. Rptr. 2d 733.)
Once the pertinent factual issues are settled, our role is to determine whether the trial court abused its discretion in granting the motion. (Ibid.)