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String of judges recuse themselves in Palm Beach County

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WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- A string of circuit judges were appointed, and them recused themselves Tuesday in a growing list of cases challenging the ballot used in Palm Beach County.

The judge now assigned to the case -- Jorge Labarga -- is the sixth. Monday, Judge Stephen Rapp recused himself after an attorney for one of the plaintiffs alleged that Rapp made prejudicial statements about Democrats the day after the election.

Judge Catherine Brunson recused herself Tuesday, saying her husband was represented in a case by one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs. The trend continued when Judge Edward Fine, within an hour after being appointed, recused himself. He said that he had a conversation two days after the election with an attorney for the plaintiffs, who was seeking guidance on how he could inform a judge in the case about a motion seeking that judge's recusal.

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The fourth judge to quickly recuse himself was Judge Thomas Barkdull. He said his father, as senior counsel to the state attorney general, was working on issues which may impact the outcome of these cases.

Judge Peter Blanc was the fifth to recuse himself in the case, saying the attorney for one of the plaintiffs and his partner, showed as co-treasurers for Blanc's 2000 re-election campaign.

There are only 11 judges in the civil division of the Palm Beach County Circuit Court.



RELATED STORIES:
Judge grants injunction to freeze Palm Beach vote certification
November 10, 2000
Florida law provides variety of cures for problem elections
November 9, 2000
Reno says Justice Department keeping an eye on Florida election November 9, 2000
Justice Department discusses Florida election
November 8, 2000
Election Day allegations could form basis for legal challenges, experts say
November 8, 2000
Electoral win not a guarantee, no matter what happens in Florida
November 8, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Florida Attorney General Web site
Florida law: Electors and elections
Florida law: Conducting elections and ascertaining the results


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