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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Relator, Susan C. Norman, filed a motion to recuse Judge Mike Wood of Probate Court No. Two. Wood referred the motion to the presiding of the statutory probate courts, who assigned the motion to Judge Russell Austin. Relator then filed a verified motion to recuse Austin. On Dec. 20, 2005, Austin signed an order denying relator’s motion to recuse him. On the same date, Austin ruled on the motion to recuse Wood. Relator challenges Austin’s order of Dec. 20, 2005, denying the motion to recuse claiming that Austin failed either to recuse himself or refer the motion. Relator also claims Austin’s subsequent ruling on the motion to recuse Wood is void, because Austin was without authority to rule on that motion. HOLDING:Conditionally granted. Real party in interest, Mylus James Walker, filed a response to relator’s petition for writ of mandamus, claiming that Austin properly could deny the motion, because the motion was defective. Walker claims the recusal motion did not comply with the procedural and substantive requirements of �25.00255 of the Government Code. This section sets out the requirements for recusal or disqualification of a statutory county court judge. Under this section, a recusal motion must be filed at least 10 days before the date of a hearing or trial, be verified, and state with particularity the alleged grounds for recusal based on 1. personal knowledge supported by admissible evidence, or 2. specifically stated grounds for belief of the allegations. Walker claims that the recusal motion at in this case here did not state with particularity the grounds for recusal. Even though a motion to recuse may be defective, the challenged judge must either recuse or refer the motion, so that another judge can determine the procedural adequacy and merits of the motion to recuse. This is the proper course of action regardless of the sufficiency of the grounds for recusal. Though the motion to recuse ultimately might fail, that decision is made by a different judge, thereby avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. The court holds that Austin erred in failing to comply with the rules governing motions for recusal and in denying the motion to recuse rather than referring it so that another judge could rule on it. If a judge fails to comply with the rules governing motions for recusal, all subsequent actions by the judge in that case are void. Therefore, Austin’s order ruling on the motion to recuse Wood is void, the court decides. OPINION:Frost, J.; Hudson, Frost and Seymore, JJ.

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