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Blanket recusal comes in Vanderburgh child-support case

January 1, 2007
Every so often, judges find they must recuse themselves in certain cases. That's happening in Vanderburgh County, where all the superior judges have been recused from a case involving the child support matters of a magistrate's son.

Suzanne Hebert Hamilton is waging the child support legal battle against her ex-husband, Richard Hamilton, who is son of Vanderburgh Superior Magistrate Allen Hamilton. The couple separated in 2005 and finalized a divorce early last year. She lives in Florida with the couple's two children and in May 2006 asked Vanderburgh Superior Judge Robert Pigman to enforce a contempt order from Florida that Richard Hamilton owed $25,000 in back child support.

In June, Judge Pigman recused himself because of a conflict of interest - he supervises magistrates.

"Recusal in the face of criticism is a particularly uninviting option for this court; however, given the nature and the circumstances surrounding the particular case, the court feels it is in the best interest of both parties that a fresh set of eyes examine the evidence," Judge Pigman wrote in his June 28 order.

The following day, Superior Judge Wayne Trockman recused all of the county superior judges in the case. A hearing was canceled last week to determine if Hamilton was making progress on child support payments, according to the local clerk's office. The Indiana Supreme Court has yet to assign a special judge.
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