Does a Judge Exceed the Grounds of Judicial Propriety If He Acts As Both Judge and Prosecutor ?
In People v. Bullard, 52 Ill. App. 3d 712, 367 N.E.2d 1017, 10 Ill. Dec. 408 (1977), the reviewing court found that the trial judge had exceeded the grounds of judicial propriety by questioning witnesses about their employment, social habits and associations.
The case was remanded for a new hearing. Bullard, 52 Ill. App. 3d at 716-17 (the court noted that, in the proper case, such error might be deemed harmless and nonprejudicial).
In People v. Cofield, 9 Ill. App. 3d 1048, 293 N.E.2d 692 (1973), the reviewing court found that the trial judge had acted as an advocate for the State.
The judge took over the questioning of the victim from the State and threatened to send her to the Audy Home if she did not tell the truth.
The judge then proceeded to call and question all of the State's witnesses. the reviewing court concluded that the trial judge did not act merely to clarify the issues but acted as both judge and prosecutor, exceeding the grounds of judicial propriety. Cofield, 9 Ill. App. 3d at 1050-51;
See also People v. Kuntz, 239 Ill. App. 3d 587, 607 N.E.2d 313, 180 Ill. Dec. 419 (1993) (trial judge acted as an advocate when he prompted the State to seek a continuance to present more evidence).