Dubaldo v. Dubaldo

In Dubaldo v. Dubaldo, 14 Conn. App. 645, 542 A.2d 750 (1988), after an attorney-witness testified at a dissolution proceeding, the trial court declared a recess and called the attorney-witness into chambers for an ex parte meeting. After the meeting, the judge stated that she had "'sympathies'" for the attorney-witness and that she had "known the attorney-witness for a while. I know this practice can be devastating to people and I think some words from people are helpful sometimes." Id., 647. In finding an appearance of impropriety, we stated that "the question presented here is not whether the judge could render an impartial decision, but whether an ex parte discussion with the witness immediately following his testimony created in the minds of observers, particularly the defendant, an appearance of impropriety." Id., 650.