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Commisioner question (family law)

Los Angeles, CA |

Say, you have a commisioner as the hearing officer on an upcoming OSC, could you ask the court for a new judge because it almost appears as if opposing counsel and the judge are old frat buddies?

The old frat buddies part was sacrasm, but I would feel more comfortable with another judge, could one make a peremptory challenge?

Attorney Answers 3


I would not make a comment like that unless you are sure that it is true. It could just be your perception, particularly if you are representing yourself. If it's a commissioner, not a judge, just don't stip to it. It could be that this lawyer appears regularly in that courtroom and is just being professional. If you have a concern about not having a fair hearing, then I would speak with a family law lawyer in your area about preparing for the hearing.

Ms. Johns is a lawyer although she is not your lawyer unless and until you have consulted with her and have signed a fee agreement or letter agreement. This post does not constitute legal advice and no attorney client relationship results.

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If the time has not passed, you can file a 170.6 disqualification. But, that is a serious step. Did you research the Judge and the lawyer? Did they go to the same school? Is there some other reason you think there is bias? Judges/Commissioners and lawyers see each other a lot and just because they get along does not mean they are old frat buddies. You better have some seriously good facts before you say that out loud to anyone.

Michael is in San Jose, California and can be reached at 408-295-4232 or at Consultation fees, rates and retainers vary based on need and ability to pay.

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If you have not already stipulated to the Commissioner, you can "non-stip" the Commissioner, i.e., refuse to sign a stipulation which would allow the Commissioner to sit as a Judge on your case. A non-stip would send your case to the Master Calendar Court, which would send you to another Commissioner or a Judge. If you don't like the other Commissioner, non-stip that Commissioner. If you don't like the Judge, you have one opportunity to 170.6 one Judge in your case - and you will never have another such opportunity in your case. If you have already stipulated to the Commissioner, you are likely stuck with the Commissioner for so long as that Commissioner sits in Family Law in your court.

Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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