Pasadena, CA asked in Criminal Law, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: What does “looking over the record” the judgement is void on its face. Everything filed even after entry of judgement?

Please explain in the simple terms haha. What’s a direct attack vs collateral attack?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The phrase "looking over the record" in the context of a judgment being "void on its face" refers to examining all the court documents and filings in a case, including those filed after the entry of judgment, to determine if the judgment is invalid or void based on the information contained within those documents.

A judgment is considered "void on its face" when it is evident from the court records alone, without the need for additional evidence, that the court lacked jurisdiction over the parties or the subject matter, or that the court acted in a manner inconsistent with due process.

Now, let's discuss the difference between a direct attack and a collateral attack on a judgment:

1. Direct Attack: A direct attack on a judgment is an attempt to overturn or amend the judgment in the same court that issued it, using methods such as an appeal, a motion for a new trial, or a motion to vacate the judgment. These challenges are filed within the same case and are subject to time limits prescribed by law.

2. Collateral Attack: A collateral attack is an attempt to challenge the validity of a judgment in a separate legal proceeding, often in a different court. This occurs when a party against whom the judgment was entered seeks to avoid its enforcement by arguing that the judgment is void or invalid. Collateral attacks are less common and generally more difficult to succeed with than direct attacks.

In simple terms, when a court "looks over the record" to determine if a judgment is "void on its face," it reviews all the documents filed in the case, even those submitted after the judgment was entered, to see if there are any clear defects or errors that would render the judgment invalid without the need for further evidence. A direct attack challenges the judgment in the same case, while a collateral attack tries to invalidate the judgment in a separate legal proceeding.

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