Bloom says religion no reason for his recusal

By Justin Anderson | May 7, 2009



CHARLESTON -- Kanawha Circuit Judge Louis "Duke" Bloom says just because he is Jewish isn't reason enough to warrant his stepping down in a case against prominent lawyer Scott Segal.

Still, Bloom thinks it is best that he remove himself from the case.

Segal, in a motion for Bloom's recusal, cited Bloom's religion as the reason he should step aside from hearing March 15 a lawsuit brought by David Harless, a man who claims he's being barred from practicing law in West Virginia because he says he left a Christian note at Segal's law office in 2001.

Harless claims that Segal, who is Jewish, took offense to the note and used his affiliations with the state Supreme Court -- Justice Robin Jean Davis is Segal's wife -- to get Harless' law license on the fast track to suspension.

Segal in his motion said that if Bloom found in his favor in the lawsuit, Harless would blame it on a conspiracy amongst people of the Jewish faith.

Bloom, in an April 28 letter to Chief Justice Brent Benjamin, said Segal's motion has no merit.

"Although I am a member of the Jewish faith, I do not believe that my religious affiliation, alone, would calse a 'reasonable and objective person knowing all the facts' to harbor any doubts concerning my impartiality," Bloom wrote.

However, Bloom said that because Segal and Harless are both lawyers who have appeared before him in the past and likely in the future, Bloom believes his recusal is warranted.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-465

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