I am a defendant who is adverse to another defendant. She did not serve me with a demand for a jury trial. Grounds for mistrial?

Asked 8 months ago - Pasadena, CA

The other party defendant is a sublandlord (mine), and an Unlawful Detainer was filed against us both. She abandoned me at the premises after turning off my electricity and trying to kick me out illegally, so I had no new address at which to contact her. Then she hired an attorney, whom I found out only served the landlord with a Substitution of Attorney Notice. Because of this I wasn't able to propound discovery in time. She also demanded a jury trial and never had me served with a copy of her demand, so I did not find out in time to participate in voir dire (I think I had a right to do so?) The trial is in too little time for me to file a written motion beforehand, but would I have a good chance at having the judge declare a mistrial if I asked to approach the bench and just explained?

Additional information

I read on some self-help sites that it is best to move for a mistrial as soon as possible, but is there a "best stage" from the start of a jury trial? It seems odd/inappropriate to do this before the opening statements are made. Thanks in advance for any help!

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Michael Kevin Cernyar

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . It is unlikely that the court will provide a mistrial based upon that argument. Bear in mind that the judge is not going to walk you through the process because the judge must be impartial to both parties. So if one party is making legal arguments and the other side is making passionate non-legal arguments, then the judge has to rule in favor of the legal argument, which is the reason it pays to be represented by legal counsel. Good luck.

    The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice... more
  2. Greg Thomas Hill

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . I think it is time to hire an attorney. You have attempted to represent yourself, but you are all tangled up in legal issues you do not know how to handle. If you chose to represent yourself, you are held to the same standard of performance as an attorney, so if you do not know certain things or what to do, you are not given a break because you are without an attorney. Hire an attorney - unfortunately you are over your head.

  3. Richard Wynn

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . It appear to me that you are a sub-tenant, and the Unlawful Detainer action is between the Landlord and the Tenant (which you labeled "Sublandlord"). Unless you have approval by the Landlord of your sub-tenancy or assignment of the Lease, there is no privity among the two of you. Therefore, the court will deal with the issue at hand which is the dispute between the Landlord and Tenant, and you will be out of luck! This area of litigation can get very complicated, I strongly recommend you hire a Unlawful Detainer Lawyer before the trial is over.

  4. Darryl Elliot Young

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . Please get an attorney ASAP! You're behind the eight ball and time is running out.

  5. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your post is a jumble and does not explain things well enough for you to get any general legal information.

    Remember too, Avvo is not a place for legal advice and it appears that is what you need.

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