Bench Guide for Civil Harassment

California Judges Bench Guides advise judges and the public of the rules and best practices of presiding in court.  Bench Guides are highly influential official publications written by the judicial system and judges presume them to be credible reference sources.

Bench Guide 20 covers civil harassment proceedings.  It serves as a very good primer for anyone new to the topic.  Note however, that like everything in the law and life, even a bench guide can be wrong.  Caveat Emptor.

But guides are not rules.  Judges may adopt or ignore any guideline.  Rules exist for judges.   Good judges try to learn and follow the rules.  Well intended or not, judges are human and few judges successfully follow all such rules.  Furthermore, Judges are Dictators with enormous power while their court is in session.  Many judges know the rules and choose to violate them.

Hopefully, a judge hearing a civil harassment case will have recently reviewed the current Bench Guide 20, for Civil Harassment.  To increase the chances that a judge knows how he should preside and rule on a civil harassment matter, a defendant could "file" with the court clerk a Request for Judicial Notice of a copy of the Bench Guide 20.  Alternatively, the defense could submit a trial brief before the hearing which has been carefully adapted from and cite to the Bench Guide.

Such a tactical choice should be informed by a careful analysis of the unique factors of a particular case.  Obviously, such tactics would also educate the plaintiff and perhaps both positive and negative consequences may result.  Likewise, a jerk judge may perceive insubordination, but better judges could see the defendant as willing to learn, use, and abide by court rules.

Bench Guide Full Text

from Official California Bench Guides for Judges


Benchguide 20 





Judges are Dictators

Judges are dictators during a court session.  There is no democracy in a courtroom.

In practice, short of a bailiff stopping a physically assault, no one will interfere with a judge's conduct during a court session.  …

Nothing contained herein is tendered as nor should it be considered as legal advice.  What is legal is not necessarily justice.  Almost all of reality is non-"published", ergo, what is legally affirmed is always a retarded misrepresentation of reality.   Use at your own risk!