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Writing a concern letter to the court about the manner in which the hearing was held /comments made/judge's attitude.

Los Angeles, CA |

If I, attorney and witness think that the hearing was held favoring one party over another, the manner in which the hearing was held wad harsh and inappropriate and that if it was obvious that the judge harbors a bias. What are the remedies for this? There will be more hearings?
The attorney says it is useless to write a concern/complaint letter to the court. Then what are the options to bring this up to someone/somewhere higher? I do not have money to appeal. I am unemployed mom with an infant in hands.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

What kind of hearing was it? Your attorney was right that it's ineffective (as well as improper and not in accordance with the rules) to write a letter to the judge complaining of "bias". You should also ask your lawyer to explain the concept of "bias" to you or use google to look at the disciplinary rules for judges.

"Bias" doesn't mean the judge decided against you or thought the other parties' or attorney's case was more compelling. Judges are humans, all humans are "biased" by their perceptions and experiences as "bias" is commonly used in casual conversation. But in the court sense, "bias" means the Judge is related to one of the parties, or represented them in private practice before he became a judge, it's a very narrow ethical complaint.

If it was a family court case, like child custody or support, you don't have to appeal. Even if you have the money, appeals are usually not effective either, unless the judge made a glaring mistake of judgment or violated the law arbitrarily or without following proper procedure. This probably did not happen, and judges, like sports referees, are given a lot of latitude over review of their "calls", to preserve their authority.

In a child custody or support case, you can simply file for a modification at a later date, in six months or a year or so. Keep a detailed diary of your issues and complaints in a spiral notebook with dates and times. Keep in touch with your attorney and the attorney for the children. For family law problems, you can often get help from Legal Aid Societies in your area or the County if you meet poverty guidelines. Best of luck to you.

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Asker

Posted

it was a relocation/move away hearing ; custody and visitation issues; What a woman can do to protect her rights to be able to move for work, to be able to support a baby when her husband has trapped her and does not let her move with the baby; when he left them right after the baby was born? Where else she can seek for help if the Court does not even listen to her and imposing on her to pay for a custody evaluation when she is not working and wanted to move for work??? Her attorney does not want to do anything, just saying keep finding the money to fight!!! Please help!

Posted

Generally speaking, a judge cannot and will not consider a "letter" because it constitutes a one-way ex parte communication. A party must make a motion to the court so that the opposing party has the opportunity to oppose it. Writing a letter of concern or complaint will most likely be ignored.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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Posted

it was a relocation/move away hearing ; custody and visitation issues; What a woman can do to protect her rights to be able to move for work, to be able to support a baby when her husband has trapped her and does not let her move with the baby; when he left them right after the baby was born? Where else she can seek for help if the Court does not even listen to her and imposing on her to pay for a custody evaluation when she is not working and wanted to move for work??? Her attorney does not want to do anything, just saying keep finding the money to fight!!! Please help!

Posted

Unsuccessful parties frequently accuse judges of bias. You would have to show absolutely concrete evidence of bias if you want to make it an issue. A lack of success does not count.

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Posted

That is not about a lack of success, but about the manner is which the hearing was held; how the judge did not even listen to the respondent and her attorney's comments; the judge just left the room while one party was still making some comments; about how the judge shut the attorney and the respondents; about how the judge did not even want to listen to any facts or anything;

Posted

Complaints against judges: http://cjp.ca.gov/file_a_complaint.htm

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Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

Good resource, but asker might not appreciate the irony that one of the grounds of valid complaints against judges includes considering the letter asker is contemplating "Some examples of judicial misconduct are ... receipt of information about a case outside the presence of one party..."

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

Although the rules also include "...improper demeanor..." but I'd assume asker's attorney is in a better position to determine whether the judge's demeanor was improper, or asker just didn't like what the judge was saying.

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