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United States v. Williams

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

June 5, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ANTHONY T. WILLIAMS (01), Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR DISQUALIFICATION OF JUDGE LESLIE KOBAYASHI

          DERRICK K. WATSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Defendant Anthony T. Williams, proceeding pro se, moves to disqualify Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi under 28 U.S.C. §§ 144 and 455.[1] Because Williams identifies no valid basis on which to remove Judge Kobayashi from this case, the Motion is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         This case involves a mortgage rescue scheme covering approximately 200 properties and/or victims. On February 15, 2017, the grand jury indicted Defendants Anthony Williams and Annabel Cabebe on 11 counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and 19 counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341. On March 28, 2018, the grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment against Defendants Williams, Cabebe, and Barbara Williams on 15 counts of wire fraud and 17 counts of mail fraud.[2] Dkt. No. 154.

         On September 29, 2017, Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield granted the government's Motion to Detain Williams Without Bail.[3] Dkt. No. 35. On March 19, 2018, Williams filed a Motion for Disqualification of Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield, which is currently pending before Judge Kobayashi.[4] Dkt. No. 147.

         Trial in this matter is currently set for December 18, 2018. Dkt. No. 235.

         DISCUSSION

         Judge Kobayashi's rulings on the unceasing series of motions and appeals filed by Williams cannot form the basis of a motion to disqualify-on their own, they are not proof of bias or misconduct. Nor, after a careful review of the record, has Judge Kobayashi “display[ed] a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment impossible.” Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994). Williams seeks to disqualify Judge Kobayashi based on nothing more than conclusory and unsupported statements of bias.

         Because a reasonable person with knowledge of all facts of this case would have no reason to conclude that Judge Kobayashi's impartiality might reasonably be questioned, Williams' Motion is DENIED.

         I. Applicable Legal Standards

         Williams brings his Motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 144 and 455. Section 144 provides:

Whenever a party to any proceeding in a district court makes and files a timely and sufficient affidavit that the judge before whom the matter is pending has a personal bias or prejudice either against him or in favor of any adverse party, such judge shall proceed no further therein, but another judge shall be assigned to hear such proceeding.
The affidavit shall state the facts and the reasons for the belief that bias or prejudice exists, and shall be filed not less than ten days before the beginning of the term at which the proceeding is to be heard, or good cause shall be shown for failure to file it within such time. A party may file only one such affidavit in any case. It shall be accompanied by a certificate of counsel of record stating that it is made in good faith.

         Section 455 provides, in relevant part:

(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his ...

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