not a suppositious 'cumulative effect,' which is at best a mere conclusion arguendo.
As was said ever so pertinently in the Tucker case, supra, 186 F.2d at page 85: 'No good purpose could be served in prolonging this opinion by citing or discussing other cases. After all, the statute is plain, and a judge when * * * passing upon an affidavit charging 'personal bias or prejudice' is entitled to and must look solely to the facts alleged in support of such charge. His duty to deny the affidavit on insufficient allegations is no less imperative than to allow it on sufficient allegations.'
It is the finding of this court, therefore, that the affidavit of personal bias and prejudice filed in this matter is insufficient in law, and it is ordered stricken.
There are additional factors, however, which urge themselves upon the court's attention in this case, and imperatively demand in good conscience that they be given somewhat extended consideration.
Standing alone as isolated or unrelated instances, or factos, exerting upon the entire course of proceedings in this matter, each its particular preemptive impressionistic effect upon the mind of the trial judge would not be and, indeed, should not be, sufficiently compelling, or even persuasively diverting to such extent of influence that personal bias or prejudice would displace impartial conduct and prostitute the judges' judicial oath of office.
Such factors as above enumerated and there considered would not adversely affect or, I trust, mislead this writer from the fullest and most sincere exercise of good faith in the performance of his judicial duties, with the utmost objectivity and dispassionateness of which he is capable and able as a supposed rational human being, to bring to judicial proceedings involving the rights and liberties of others, including this defendant; for she is of no less nor of greater importance than any other, who, as a member of our society stands before this court as a defendant in a criminal prosecution. Indeed, this court is ever mindful of the fundamental truth of the proposition that justice is a respector of no persons before the law; and that in order to administer the judicial system as the ultimate arbiter between contending interests and render justice, the Court must be free of all bias or prejudice of a personal nature; and that the paramount and all prevading attribute and objective of those entrusted with the awesome responsibility of dispensing judgment on their fellow-men is the conscientious pursuit of justice.
'To practice the requisite detachment and to achieve sufficient objectivity no doubt demands of judges the habit of self-discipline and self-criticism, incertitude that one's own views are incontestable and alert tolerance toward views not shared. But these are precisely the presuppositions of our judicial process. They are precisely the qualities society has a right to expect from those entrusted with the ultimate judicial power.' So spoke Mr. Justice Frankfurter for the Supreme Court of the United States in Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165, 171, 172, 72 S. Ct. 205, 209, 96 L. Ed. 183. Perhaps, the idea is nowhere more accurately and concisely stated than by Judge Frank, when he said: 'Democracy must, indeed, fail unless our courts try cases fairly, and there can be no fair trial before a judge lacking in impartiality and disinterestedness. If, however, 'bias' and 'partiality' be defined to mean the total absence of preconceptions in the mind of the judge, then no one has ever had a fair trial and no one ever will. * * * Only death yields complete dispassionateness, for such dispassionateness signifies utter indifference.'
However, a trial judge by reason of the very nature of his office, as the presiding officer of the trial court cannot function in the abstract completely unmindful and unaware of variegated interests and divergent personalities. For the trial of a criminal case being a proceeding in a tribunal of law for the vindication of the collective rights of society and the protection of the common weal has as an essential attribute of its nature, and coextensively therewith, the protection of the rights of the accused individual members of such society, based upon the presumption of innocence of each defendant and the burden upon the Government to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And having for its particular proximate subject matter the alleged wrongful conduct of an individual member of that society, and being attended, as it must, with the present and immediate impact of the forensic affray with its resurgent human emotions, does not lend itself always, unfailingly, and under all circumstances to the calm, calculated, and deliberate objectivity of participation therein by the trial judge with stoic passivity, or according to some magical legalistic formula, and wholly aside from all possible preconceptions of human conduct and behavior in some rarified atmosphere bespeaking only of mystical serenity and metaphysically abstract contemplation. There is not, nor can there ever be, in the law governing the affairs of men, a legalistic vacuum. And as has been said so aptly, 'A judge of a court is human, and, like every other man, must have his likes and dislikes, * * *. In so far as he is not swayed by these natural emotions to do any man an injustice, the fact that he has them in common with his brother man does not disqualify him from trying a case.'
A decent respect for the dignity of the law as well as for my own judicial office restrains me from availing myself of this occasion which, while not of my own making, now affords opportunity, indeed, almost injudicious invitation, not only to sustain but to offer justification for my conduct, and of this court, regarding this defendant in prior proceedings involving criminal prosecution. Such an undertaking would selfishly exceed my province in this matter, and would be at least injudicious if it would not constitute legal error. The rulings of this court have been subjected to appellate review according to law so providing. That is the democratic and proper course. While those matters which have been asserted as establishing my personal bias or prejudice as a trial judge have heretofore been found to be insufficient as a matter of law, and were disposed of in accordance with the foregoing authorities, it may be considered well within judicious propriety, on the other hand, to acknowledge the aura of odium and opprobrium which has been generated about this defendant and the charge against her by others who had not under their care and supervision the prior proceedings involving this particular defendant. This court is not unaware of the extensive serialized newspaper comment in the immediate community of this court, and throughout the State of New Jersey, as well as other states, tending to focalize public interest in certain collateral matters and immaterial incidences arising during the course of the prior prosecution in this court and against this defendant. So, also, the fact that this court was literally deluged with personal letters of intemperate expression, pro and con, during and after the prior trial characterizing the real issues in such prosecution as 'communism' and 'red-baiting,' in no way or manner was permitted to vary the charge in the indictment of the Grand Jury against this defendant, and in regard to which indictment specific issues were presented to the jury by the court for their function as the fact-finding body. However, these matters, I trust, in no manner affected or influenced the conduct of such prior proceedings, nor were they of any particular interest, either personal or otherwise, to this court. For this is a Court of Law and Justice, and not a forum for individual speculations or public opinion. Additionally, and quite possibly as a consequence of wide-spread public interest in the criminal prosecution against the defendant, unusually large crowds were in daily attendance evidencing more than a mere curious regard for the ordinary functioning of a criminal proceeding. This, however, is the established right of the public to be present at every trial providing, of course, such presence does not detract from the dignity of the court or interfere with its proper functions. This situation in no manner affected or influenced the conduct of such prior proceedings, nor was it of any particular interest, either personal or otherwise, to this court. So also, with respect to the extra-judicial statements of Union 'Strike' bulletins, and 'Defense' bulletins issued out of the Local of which defendant was then the Secretary, during the trial and in the immediate vicinity of this court characterizing the criminal prosecution against this defendant as a 'witch hunt,' a 'red-herring trial,' and the court itself as a 'Kangaroo Court,' while if not contemptuous per se, as bordering upon brazen intimidation of the court and the trial judge thereof, were reasonably calculated to incite disrespect for the trial judge, and manifested scandulous disregard and ridicule for the ordinary and proper functioning of the court in the administration of justice in the then pending criminal proceeding. And yet I trust that this activity, while it went judicially uncensored for reasons not here pertinent, in no manner affected or influenced the conduct of such prior proceedings, nor was it of any particular interest, either personal or otherwise, to this court. Furthermore, the nearest approach to conduct which, in the ordinary course of human events, would be most calculated and likely to disturb the requisite judicial decorum of a trial judge was that in fact against which this writer most assiduously and diligently guarded to insure and preserve such decorum, and that was the obviously surly conduct and attitude of defense counsel towards this Court, coupled as it was with the condescending complacency of both defendant and her defense attorney throughout the trial; in particular, the needless argumentiveness of the defense attorney, and his evident disrespectful pugnacity during and after required final rulings by the trial judge on matters and questions of evidence according to what the latter conceived to be the established rules of law. Quite evident, was defense counsel's design and purpose to create, for the benefit of the jury, an atmosphere of arbitrary persecution, and distort the real issues in the case. However, this court was ever mindful that it was the defendant, and not the defense attorney, who was on trial, and the conduct above referred to in no manner affected or influenced the conduct of such prior proceedings, nor was it of any particular interest, either personal or otherwise, to this court. For this court was not then, is not now, and God willing never shall be, consciously or artfully engaged in any act or word seeking popularity for the performance to the best of its ability and according to oath and conscience of what it verily conceives and believes to be its sworn judicial duty.
It is worthy of note also, that it is not only the right, but the sworn duty of a trial judge to preside in a particular matter within the jurisdiction over which he is the presiding officer when there is no legally sufficient foundation in fact and basis in reason and law for his disqualification or recusation.
Personal predilections of a trial judge in this regard are immaterial where his qualifications to preside in a particular proceeding are called into question by a party on asserted grounds of personal bias or prejudice; but he may recuse himself, sua sponte, for compelling moral reasons, or where there exists in his own mind some real doubt as to the impartiality which he, as an individual, may exert on the matter then before him as a judicial officer.
The matters of complaint above set forth, together with the additional factors alluded to, did not affect or influence this court in any manner adverse to the rights or interests of this particular defendant. But the danger inherent in the inevitable collation of such elements in view of a new criminal prosecution seems to generate an accumulative effect with crescendo-like proportions giving rise to some serious and grave concern and misgivings with respect to the continuance of complete personal impartiality of judgment or impression, which may or could effect objectivity of judicial considerations. For the incessant momentum incident to all activity concerned with human events, while not at all times clearly delineated and detailed for all to perceive, inevitably traces its patterns by way of collation and relation across isolated incidents, however seemingly unimportant or unrelated, drawing unto itself the composite aspects of ultimate personal impression. And human nature being what it is, and being projected as it must through individual personalities, it is imperative that those entrusted with the awesome responsibility of administering justice should, so far as is reasonably possible, insure the fullest measure of dispassionate consideration and impartiality, rather than chance even the slightest taint or opprobrium however obscure, albeit real, to cast shadow or divert the fullest, fairest, impartial trial of the innocence or guilt of an accused in accordance with the ever fundamental tenets of Law, the highest ideals of our Anglo-American jurisprudence, and traditional concepts of justice.
It is my considered conclusion, therefore, in accordance with the foregoing authorities, and for the latter reasons which I have herein assigned, that as a matter sua sponte, I deem it my duty in all good conscience to voluntarily stand aside in my judicial capacity, upon my own motion, and permit Criminal Indictment No. 310-52, being a case in which United States of America is against Anthony Valenti and Sylvia Y. Neff, as defendants, to find audience before another judge of this United States District Court of the District of New Jersey, and it is hereby so Ordered.