United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON MOTION TO RECUSE
A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Defendant failed to present a valid reason for me to
recuse myself from presiding over his case, I deny his motion
March 1, 2016, Daniel Poulin, acting pro se, filed a motion
for me to recuse myself from any further judicial actions in
his case. Mot. for Recusal (ECF No. 339)
(Def.'s Mot.). On April 5, 2016, the Government
responded, objecting to the recusal motion.
Gov't's Obj. to Mot. for Recusal (ECF No.
343) (Gov't's Resp.). On April 19, 2016, Mr.
Poulin replied. Reply to Gov't's Resp. on Mot.
for Recusal (ECF No. 345) (Def.'s Reply).
THE PARTIES' POSITIONS
Daniel Poulin's Motion
motion to recuse, Mr. Poulin recites some generalities
concerning my handling of his case. He says that I have
"for unknown reason(s), exercised partiality in favor of
the government" and revealed "a pervasive bias, or
prejudice." Def.'s Mot. at 1. He claims
that I have "exercised partiality" by accepting the
position determined in the Magistrate Judge's recommended
decision and urged by the Government in its briefing
concerning the proper characterization of his purported Rule
60(b) motion. Id. at 2. He asserts that I
"apparently never read the government's or
Magistrate's description of the 60(b) motion in light of
the controlling preceden[ts]." Id. He then
contends that I have "gone as far as to misquote,
miscite and misrepresent the record for no other apparent
purpose than to benefit the AUSA." Id. at 4.
When Mr. Poulin brought these asserted errors to my
attention, he believes that "they were simply
ignored." Id. He concludes that this "is
not an exhaustive list of circumstances that warrant a
finding that the District Court showed substantial
favoritism, but viewed in the aggregate, they are enough to
warrant recusal." Id.
The Government's Response
Government responds that "nothing remotely suggests that
the Court's impartiality might reasonably be questioned
or that recusal is in order." Gov't's
Resp. at 1 (citing In re Bos.'s Children
First, 244 F.3d 164, 167 (1st Cir. 2001)). After
reviewing the legal standards applicable to a motion to
recuse, id. at 1-2, the Government notes that I
denied his first motion for reconsideration on April 24, 2014
and observes that "it is by no means clear that the
instant motion is timely." Id. at 2-3.
light of Mr. Poulin's prior attacks on the trial
Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) and the Court, the
Government states that "any venom that has been injected
into these proceedings is not that of the Court."
Id. at 3. Instead, the Government quotes my earlier
orders as conscious efforts to "take Mr. Poulin's
assertions of legal error seriously" and to give them
"careful consideration and reconsideration."
Id. (quoting Order on Mot. for Recons. at
84 (ECF No. 310)). The Government views the Magistrate
Judge's recommended decision of October 19, 2015 in the
same vein. Id. The Government concludes that
"the sole basis on which he insists that this Court
should disqualify itself is that the Court has ruled against
him, " which is "insufficient reason for the Court
to grant the instant motion." Id. at 4.
Daniel Poulin's Reply
reply, Mr. Poulin first attacks the Government, noting that
"it must be acknowledged and considered by an objective
mind that the Government is a party opponent which has been
the beneficiary of considerable favoritism from the
Court." Def.'s Reply at 1. He calls the
Government's position "disingenuous" and
asserts that its "contrary position violates Rule
11." Id. at 2. He maintains that the
Government's memorandum constitutes a "gross
mischaracterization of Poulin's pleadings."
Poulin says that "the Government must admit or deny the
allegations asserted against it by Poulin" and states
that "[t]heir failure to do so should be held against
them to the benefit of the opposing party." Id.
at 2. But, he protests, "the District Court has, over
considerable protest, systematically allowed the Government
to ignore these rules with impunity." Id.
Poulin explains the basis for his motion to recuse.
Id. at 3. He concedes that he is "not
protesting the District Court's substantive rulings,
" but he is protesting "pervasive favoritism . . .
in regard to Judge Woodcock's application and invocation
of procedural defects in the process, applicable law, and the
construction (or misrepresentation) of the claims
themselves." Id. Mr. Poulin argues that my
first show of favoritism "began with the
Government's refusal to answer Poulin's claim that
appellate counsel rendered ineffective assistance
for failing to raise Brady/Giglio violation(s) on
appeal." Id. (emphasis in original). He
complains that "Judge Woodcock adopted the
Government's position that the claim was defaulted just
as the Government proposed." Id.
Poulin writes that "[a]nother circumstance that can be
classified as an appearance of favoritism occurred when judge
Woodcock proposed a merits analysis in the absence of
critical exculpatory evidence that was heavily relied upon in
the pleadings." Id. at 4. Mr. Poulin contends
"[t]his was an abuse of discretion." Id.
(citation omitted). He notes that "on April 24, 2014,
the Court released an eighty-five page opinion that announced
for the very first time that critical documents were missing
from the record." Id. He decries my failure to
require his lawyer to produce "critical evidence"
as not only an error of law, but also evidence of my
impartiality. Id. at 5 (citing Igartúa v.
United States, 654 F.3d 99, 103 (1st Cir. 2011) (citing
United States v. Campo, 140 F.3d 415, 419 (2d Cir.
1998) (per curiam)); United States v. Poff, 926 F.2d
588, 590-91 (7th Cir. 1991) (en banc)). Furthermore, he
asserts that the so-called missing evidence was in fact
before me. Id. at 6 ("indisputably in the
Court's possession independent of the allegedly missing
evidence"). Then, he says, "building upon its own
evidentiary misrepresentations, the Court postulated
counterfeit citations to the affidavits and memoranda for the
apparent purpose of falsely representing the material
elements of fraud outlined in the petition."
Poulin claims to be "at a loss" as to why I
described his § 2255 filings as "brimming with a
sense of injustice." Id. at 7-8. Although he
admits that he "took issue" with "several
aspects of the Court's previous January 27, 2014 Order,
" he denies that this constituted a "blasting"
or an "attack." Id. at 8.
criticizes the Government's description of the Magistrate
Judge's recommended decision as "an objective,
well-rounded record - - and precedent-based analysis of a
pleading that, although labeled as one under Rule 60, is
actually a successive 28 U.S.C. § 2255 petition[.]"
Id. at 8 (quoting Gov't's Resp. at
3). He describes the Government's position as
"plainly and simply false." Id. In support
of his accusation, he cites Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545
U.S. 524 (2005) and Rodwell v. Pepe, 324 F.3d 
(1st Cir. 2005), which he says hold that a pleading that
"seeks to correct defects in the procedural
integrity of the § 2255 proceeding . . . falls
squarely within the ambit of Rule 60(b) . . . ."
Id. (emphasis in original).
he asserts that under 28 U.S.C. § 144, once he has filed
an affidavit in support of his motion to recuse, recusal
becomes "mandatory." Id. at 9 (citing
Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975)).
STANDARDS FOR RECUSAL
Poulin brings his motion to recuse under two federal
statutes: 28 U.S.C. §§ 144, 455.