San Francisco, CA asked in Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Civil Rights and Small Claims for California

Q: can a Pro Tem Judge make a verbal judgement in open court then later on change the judgement without prior indulgence

can a Pro Tem Judge make a verbal judgement in open court then later on change the judgement without prior audience with the parties involved. Pro Tem judge told us in open court that we would be awarded the full amount of the maxed asked for in small claims. During the judges exit the defendant claimed that plaintiff didn' let the maintenance in to do repairs, judge tells plaintiff that they must allow the maintenance workers in, plaintiff responded with an acknowledgement and replied that th only time they don' get in is if they have not honored the 24hours notice, judge then in taking leave from the benched asked for any and all evidence, so for two to three months later and the award letter shoe the amount grossly low, Pro tems judges preponderance of the evidence was all backwards and at certain entry's were wrong, and where only the opining of the judge who didn' hear the whole case, so her facts were wrong. I tied to bring to light the error and filed a motion to change verdict

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, a judge, including a Pro Tem Judge, has the authority to make a verbal judgment in open court. However, the official judgment is typically entered in writing after the hearing. The written judgment is considered the final, official decision of the court.

In some cases, a judge may modify or change the judgment before it is entered in writing. This can happen if the judge realizes there was an error or if new information comes to light that warrants a change in the decision. However, it is unusual for a judge to substantially change the judgment without providing the parties an opportunity to be heard on the matter.

If you believe that the written judgment does not accurately reflect what was decided in open court, or if you think the judge made an error in their decision, you have a few options:

1. File a motion for reconsideration: You can ask the court to reconsider its decision by filing a motion explaining why you believe the judgment is incorrect and providing any supporting evidence.

2. Appeal the decision: If you disagree with the final judgment, you can file an appeal with a higher court to review the decision. Keep in mind that there are strict deadlines for filing an appeal, and you may need to show that there was a legal error in the original decision.

3. Consult with an attorney: Given the complexity of your situation, it may be beneficial to consult with an attorney who specializes in civil litigation or landlord-tenant law. They can review the specifics of your case and advise you on the best course of action.

It's important to act promptly, as there are time limits for filing motions and appeals. Carefully review the written judgment and any instructions provided by the court for challenging the decision.

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