In Davis v. Jones, No. 06-15530 (Nov. 8, 2007), the Court denied habeas relief to an Alabama inmate who claimed that the fact that the State’s attorney was the brother of the Alabama judge who presided over certain pre-trial proceedings created an appearance of impartiality that violated Due Process.
The Court noted that, under Supreme Court caselaw, only actual bias, not the appearance of bias, rises to a Due Process violation. Although the federal recusal rules would have required recusal in these circumstances, Due Process did not so require. Hence, the Alabama proceedings did not violate Due Process.