Sacramento Family Court Judge Pro Tem Attorney List Published by SFCNSacramento Family Court News Exclusive Content
|County of Sacramento Superior Court recruits private-sector lawyers to act as temporary judges, also known as judge pro tems, in Sacramento Family Court.|
Our ongoing coverage of the controversy is available on our Judge Pro Tems page, and by clicking the label judge pro tems. Among other charges, court reform advocates assert that temporary judge attorneys receive kickbacks in the form of rubber-stamped, favorable rulings from full-time judges at a statistically improbable rate, especially in cases where the opposing party is indigent and unrepresented. The preferential treatment deprives the public of the federally protected right to honest government services, a federal crime, court watchdogs charge.
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What The Temporary Judges Do
|Sacramento Family Court lawyers who also work as judge pro tems take this oath to assume the Office of Temporary Judge. Click here to view the full document.|
California Rules of Court rule 2.818(b) disqualifies an attorney from serving as a temporary judge in family law cases where "one party is self-represented and the other party is represented by an attorney or is an attorney." Rule 2.818 became law in 2006 and was intended to level the playing field in family court where there are a disproportionate number of cases where one party is unrepresented and financially disadvantaged, while the opposing party has a lawyer, income, and assets. The court rule, then numbered 243.20, took effect on July 1, 2006. But just five days later, then-Presiding Judge Roland L. Candee quietly issued a "standing order" cancelling the rule in Sacramento Family Court. Candee's order used, or, some charge, misused, a "good cause" waiver exception in subsection (b) of the rule. For good cause, the subsection allows a presiding judge to make the rule non-operative.
Judge Candee claimed the new rule "would seriously impair the court's ability to continue operation of its successful settlement conference program by limiting the types of cases in which pro tem judges may sit," according to the order. Candee privately issued a second standing order in December, 2006, this time justifying the waiver on "the continuing shortage of judicial assets in Sacramento County," according to the order. More than six years later, both orders remain in effect. Family court watchdogs assert that Candee's order effectively turned over to the local, for-profit family law bar court operations that should be run by neutral, full-time judges, as required by rule 2.818.
The temporary judge program is supervised by a "Judicial Faculty" of full-time, state government judges. In Sacramento County, the Judicial Faculty consists of Judges Judy Holzer Hersher, Russell L. Hom, Raoul M. Thorbourne and Sharon A. Lueras. The requirements to become a temporary judge are posted at the Sacramento County Superior Court website. The minimum requirements can be, and often are waived by the Presiding Judge.
Judge Pro Tem Ethical RequirementsLawyers acting as temporary judges must comply with certain sections of the Code of Judicial Ethics [pdf]:
- Canon 1.
- Canon 2A.
- Canon 2B(1).
- Canon 3B(1)-(8) and 3B(11).
- Canon 3C.
- Canon 3D(1).
- Canon 3D(2).
- Canon 5.
- Canon 6D.
- Under Canon 3D(1) a judge pro tem attorney must take appropriate corrective action - which may include reporting the violation to the appropriate authority - if they learn that another judge has violated any section of the Code of Judicial Ethics. .
- Under Canon 3D(2) a judge pro tem attorney must take appropriate corrective action if they learn that a lawyer has violated any section of the California Rules of Professional Conduct.
How To Submit A Complaint About A Temporary Judge:
Under California Rules of Court, Rule 10.746, a complaint about a temporary judge can be made to the Superior Court. The form and instructions for lodging a complaint is available at the Sacramento Superior Court website.
Related articles and updates:
Sacramento Family Court News has continuing coverage of issues involving judge pro tem attorneys. For a list of all posts about temporary judges, click here. Our special, independent Judge Pro Tems Page is at this link. Specific issues with direct links include: