United States of America v. Travalino

Filing 97

ORDER DENYING 83 Motion to Disqualify Judge Signed by Judge David B. Fannin. (jl)

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Case 4:20-cv-00046-DC-DF Document 97 Filed 08/02/22 Page 1 of 2 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS PECOS DIVISION UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, EX REL.; Plaintiff, v. MICHAEL MARC TRAVALINO, aka “MARK WHITE EAGLE”, Defendant. § § § § § § § § § P:20-CV-00046-DC-DF ORDER BEFORE THE COURT is the Motion for Disqualification of Judge David B. Fannin with Cause (hereafter, “Motion for Disqualification of Judge Fannin”) filed on July 22, 2022, by pro se Defendant Michael Marc Travalino (“Defendant”). (Doc. 83). Defendant moves for disqualification of Magistrate Judge David Fannin under 28 U.S.C. § 455. Id. at 1. Title 28, United States Code, § 455(a) provides that any judge “shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). Additionally, it mandates disqualification in cases where the judge “has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding.” 28 U.S.C. § 455(b). “Section 455 establishes an objective test such that ‘disqualification should follow if the reasonable man, were he to know all the circumstances, would harbor doubts about the judge’s impartiality.’” United States v. Watson, No. A-07-CA-835-SS, 2008 WL 11416963, at *1 (W.D. Tex. Mar. 7, 2008) (quoting Potashnick v. Port City Constr. Co., 609 F.2d 1101, 1111 (5th Cir. 1980)). Here, Defendant does not state why a “reasonable man” would “harbor doubts” about Judge Fannin’s impartiality. (See Doc. 83). Defendant claims Judge Fannin has “fail[ed] to have the mandatory credentials to meet” criteria under the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Case 4:20-cv-00046-DC-DF Document 97 Filed 08/02/22 Page 2 of 2 Practices Act of 1977, 15 U.S.C. § 78dd-1, et seq. (Doc. 83 at 2–3). However, Defendant does not link the provision of “mandatory credentials” to any bias, prejudice, or other reason to question the impartiality of Judge Fannin. (See id.). As District Judge David Counts already observed, “[n]either has Defendant shown that [Judge Fannin] has a personal bias or prejudice concerning Defendant.” (Doc. 95 at 1 n.1). The Court finds no reason to do so now. For these reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant’s Motion for Disquailfication of Judge Fannin. (Doc. 83). It is so ORDERED. SIGNED this 2nd day of August, 2022. DAVID B. FANNIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

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