Sconyers v. Robicki
A lawyer who files a motion that accuses a judge of "bias, prejudice and partiality" without evidence can violate Rule 3.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. In motions to reargue and to disqualify in October 2010, the respondent attorney, Zbigniew Rozbicki, alleged that Superior Court Judge Vincent Roche "failed to adhere to the basic principles of judicial impartiality, and championed the defendants' cause." In 2011, Attorney Rozbicki moved to disqualify Superior Court Judge John Danaher and alleged that Judge Danaher exhibited "bias, prejudice and partiality." The respondent attorney proceeded to filed a motion to vacate "because of judicial misconduct" and alleged that Judge Danaher "manifested a bias and prejudice to the plaintiff and harassment which violated the plaintiff's constitutional right of access to the courts and a fair trial." When a lawyer makes unsupported charges of bias against a judge, judicial discipline may be appropriate, pursuant to Burton v. Mottolese, a 2003 decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court. The Statewide Grievance Committee found, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent attorney violated Rule 3.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, because he questioned the judges' ethics, impartiality and integrity, without any evidence that the judges engaged in wrongdoing. Rule 3.1 requires that attorneys "shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous." An adverse judicial ruling does not constitute evidence of judicial bias. The respondent's "improper" and "baseless" allegations also violated Rules 8.2(a) and 8.4(4) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The respondent is already the subject of a suspension, and the Statewide Grievance Committee ordered the respondent's presentment to Superior Court for discipline.