The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Wednesday denied a request by Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner that a judge be recused from hearing all criminal cases because the judge’s girlfriend had filed a racial discrimination complaint against the DA’s office.
Krasner argued that Common Pleas Judge Scott DiClaudio has a conflict of interest because of the complaint filed by girlfriend and former district attorney Catherine Smith earlier this year.
The Commonwealth alleges that DiClaudio had engaged in several improper ex-parte communications with employees of the district attorney’s office before and after Smith’s allegations.
The court concluded that it “belies reason to suggest that Judge DiClaudio would favor a criminal defendant or disfavor an individual assistant district attorney working for the district attorney’s office, based solely on the [domestic partner’s] filing of a racial discrimination charge. Only the most unreasonable and cynical layperson could harbor such a suspicion based on the mere possibility of future litigation by a relative of Judge DiClaudio.”
The court determined that there was no abuse of discretion in DiClaudio’s failure to recuse and his refusal to order an evidentiary hearing before another judge.