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Thursday, September 11, 2008

SMALL CLAIMS COURT: AVOID TEMPORARY COMMISSIONERS

After falling victim to an unlawful, retlaiatory eviction by John Lyon, landlord of the Del Oro Apartments at Tenth & Robinson Avenues, which cost me over $3,000; I filed suit in Small Claims court to recover the money.

My BIG mistake was to accept a temporary "judge" (who is a local attorney who wants to become a "real" judge, and sits in on Small Claims cases temporarily hoping to get a real appointment as a Superior Court judge).

The "commissioner" that I appeared before was the "honorable" Jessica Rowland.

I had done my homework at the County Law Library and provided the commissioner with a comprehensive legal brief on the facts and the legal issues involved.

Unfortunately, she didn't read the brief before making a ruling.

Usually, when a Small Claims judge receives a comprehensive legal brief, filled with the facts of the cases of citing all the applicable state statutes and case law; the judge will take the case under submission so that she can read and study the brief.

Not "commissioner" Rowland.

She shot from the hip.

She didn't even read the brief I submitted.

Even after the landlord perjured himself on the facts, she ruled in his favor.

The case taught me one BIG lesson: When appearing in Small Claims Court, Never, Never, accept a temporary "commissioner" to hear your case. Have the case continued until it can be heard by a "real" judge.

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