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Name: People v. Gamache
Case #: S052808
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 03/18/2010

Under Penal Code section 1424, a motion for recusal of the prosecutor will not be granted unless it is shown that a conflict exists that makes a fair trial unlikely, with review of the trial court’s decision being whether there has been an abuse of discretion. In this death penalty case, the Supreme Court reviewed the denial of the motion for recusal against the entire San Bernadino County District Attorney’s Office and found no abuse of discretion. The victim of the attempted murder worked for the office and her husband was the murder victim. The office was extremely large and divided into three geographical divisions. The responsible prosecuting attorneys were no more than superficially acquainted with the employee-victim. Under the facts of this case, although appellant showed that the prosecution had a conflict by virtue of the victim’s employment, he failed to establish that the victim’s employment with the office affected the District Attorney’s decision to seek the death penalty or would affect the conduct of the trial itself, such that he could not receive fair trial.