Peremptory challenges of a trial judge are governed by Code of Civil Procedure section 170.6. The section permits a party to an action to summarily disqualify a judge based on a sworn statement of the party’s belief that the judge is prejudiced against that party or the party’s attorney.
Provided the statement is timely and in proper form, the judge has no discretion and must accept the challenge. The right to disqualify a judge under section 170.6 is automatic in the sense that a good faith belief in prejudice is sufficient – no showing of actual prejudice is required. In common parlance the use of an affidavit pursuant to section 170.6 is known as “papering the judge.” Continue reading