A statute of limitations bar must be pled as an affirmative defense in your answer. The court will not raise this issue on its own. Do not ignore this lawsuit or a default judgment will be entered against you. A judgment can result in your bank accounts being levied, your wages garnished or your property liened. Consult an attorney ASAP.
As you can see, there is no easy answer. It's done through voir dire, gut feelings and experience. Some attorneys in high profile cases will use jury consultants. Go to the courthouse and watch jury selection.
No, Plaintiff cannot appeal. "Only the defendant, or a plaintiff who was counter sued as a cross-defendant and lost on the cross-complaint, can appeal a small claims case. A plaintiff cannot file an appeal. The defendant or cross-defendant must have been present at the time of trial in order to appeal the decision."
The Public Defender absolutely does not represent you and has absolutely no obligation to speak to you. What you, as a lay person, think may be ineffective assistance of counsel, may not be. It always amazes me how non-lawyers think they know more than the trained lawyers representing them and their loved ones. You have absolutely no idea what evidence the People have against your boyfriend. You have no idea what he discussed with his attorney vis-a-vis the case and strategy. Remember, he may...
If there truly is a Judgment, your bank accounts can be levied and your wages can be garnished. Judgments in California carry 10% interest and are good for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10. You can check online with the Orange County's Register of Actions to determine whether or not there is a Judgment against you.