Submitted: May 10, 2017
Below: Family Court of the State of Delaware File No.
STRINE, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and VAUGHN, Justices.
Strine, Jr. Chief Justice.
August 30, 2016, the Family Court found Todd
Turner delinquent of Drug Dealing and Tier I
Possession of a Controlled Substance. In this appeal, Turner
contests the fairness of his trial before Family Court
because, according to Turner, the State introduced
prejudicial information and made prejudicial remarks that
warranted recusal by the Family Court judge hearing his case.
Turner argues that the Family Court judge erred in not
recusing herself after the State made two supposedly
prejudicial statements. First, the State referred to the
amount of heroin Turner allegedly sold and possessed in its
response to Turner's first motion to dismiss. Second, the
State referred to the existence of an unrelated, pending
firearms charge against Turner when explaining why there was
a delay in the arrival of witnesses.
Delaware Code of Judicial Conduct states "[a] judge
should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which
the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned .
. . ."  Because the Code provides a nonexhaustive
list of examples of circumstances where judicial impartiality
might reasonably be questioned, this Court has also stated
that when there is a claim a judge has personal bias or
prejudice, the trial judge must conduct a two part
analysis. First, the trial judge must be satisfied
"as a matter of subjective belief"that the judge
"can proceed to hear the cause free of bias or
prejudice." Second, even if the judge subjectively
believes she does not have bias, she must determine that
there is not an "appearance of bias sufficient to cause
doubt as to the judge's impartiality." "On appeal,
we review the trial judge's analysis of the subjective
test for abuse of discretion. Because a claim of appearance
of impropriety 'implicates a view of how others perceive
the conduct of the trial judge, ' we review the merits of
the objective test de novo."
Here, the Family Court judge clearly engaged in the
subjective test, when she stated "I don't see any
reason why I can't be fair and that I would be biased in
any way on the case. I'm going to look at it exactly the
way that it is."Turner does not point to anything from the
proceeding that contradicts the Family Court judge's
assertion that she believed she could be fair and unbiased.
Thus, we decline to find any abuse of discretion in the
Family Court's application of the subjective test.
objective test asks us to determine "whether an
objective observer would entertain reasonable questions about
the judge's impartiality, thus warranting
recusal." Here, an objective observer would not
entertain a reasonable question about the Family Court
judge's impartiality simply because she had seen the
State's assertion about the amount of heroin Turner
possessed or because she was aware of the fact of separate
THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED that the judgment of the Family Court
 Todd Turner is the pseudonym used for
the defendant because he is a ...