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In re City of Milwaukee

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 9, 2015

IN RE: CITY OF MILWAUKEE, et al., Petitioners

Submitted: May 20, 2015.

Page 718

Petition for Writ of Mandamus to the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Nos. 13-cv-920-JPS, 14-cv-1224-JPS, 14-cv-1548-JPS, 15-cv-311-JPS--J.P. Stadtmueller, Judge.

For City of Milwaukee, EDWARD FLYNN, Chief of Police, Petitioners: Miriam Rachel Horwitz, Attorney, Milwaukee City Attorney's Office, Milwaukee, WI.

For Chavies Hoskin, Party-in-Interest: John L. Stainthorp, Attorney, People's Law Office, Chicago, IL.

For Edward E. Wright, Party-in-Interest: Ronald Bornstein, Attorney, Ronald Bornstein Law Offices S.C., Milwaukee, WI.

For Jermain Caine, Party-in-Interest: John L. Stainthorp, Attorney, People's Law Office, Chicago, IL.

For Quantell Collier, Party-in-Interest: Heather Lewis Donnell, Attorney, Loevy & Loevy, Chicago, IL.

Before WOOD, Chief Judge, and POSNER and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 719

Hamilton, Circuit Judge.

The City of Milwaukee is defending a number of lawsuits brought by scores of plaintiffs alleging that its police officers have conducted unconstitutional stops and searches, including strip-searches and body-cavity searches. Judge Stadtmueller has been assigned to preside over several of these cases. Milwaukee, asserting that some of the judge's comments in opinions and conferences in the related cases raise reasonable questions about his impartiality, moved for his recusal under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). The judge declined. Hardy v. City of Milwaukee, __ F.Supp.3d __, No. 13-CV-769, 2015 WL 1609159 (E.D. Wis. April 10, 2015).

Milwaukee and its police chief now seek to force the judge aside by petitioning for a writ of mandamus. (For convenience we refer to both petitioners as Milwaukee or the city.) The plaintiffs in the underlying cases have filed a joint response arguing that the petition should be denied. We conclude that Milwaukee's petition for a writ of mandamus must be denied.

A mandamus petition is the proper way to challenge the denial of a recusal motion. See In re Sherwin-Williams Co., 607 F.3d 474, 477 (7th Cir. 2010) (per curiam); United States v. Diekemper, 604 F.3d 345, 352 (7th Cir. 2010). We independently assess questions raised about a judge's impartiality from " the perspective of a reasonable observer who is informed of all the surrounding facts and ...


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