- Associated Press - Thursday, February 26, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas lawmaker wants to require judges to recuse themselves from civil cases if they involve major campaign contributors.

Democratic Rep. John Baine on Thursday proposed requiring judges to not hear civil cases involving someone who gave a substantial campaign contribution if a reasonable person could perceive that the donation would impair the judge’s impartiality or if there is a “serious, objective” probability of actual bias.

The legislation would require judges who deny a motion to recuse over a contribution to do so in writing, and that motion may be appealed within 30 days of the order.

The proposal comes after a former Faulkner County judge pleaded guilty in January to a federal charge of accepting a bribe in exchange for reducing a nursing home negligence verdict.

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