Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Case Law Development: Two days not too long for divorce trial

Rotating family law cases through judges and court dockets has many downsides.  Recognizing this, the California Court of Appeals has held that a judge's impatience to finish up divorce trials the judge moves on to another courtroom is not a basis for declaring a mistrial when the parties are unable to conclude the trial in less than two days. In reversing the judge's declaration of mistrial, the court noted that  there was only one witness left to call and only a few more hours left to go in the trial. The court determined that the judge's dissatisfaction with the amount of time the trial was taking in relationship to the amount at issue in the case could not by itself justify a mistrial and emphasized the importance in family law that one judge hear a case through to its conclusion. The court noted that the trial judge could take the case with her to her new courtroom assignment, which was only one courtroom away in the same courthouse and was still a family law assignment.

Blumenthal v. Superior Court, 2006 Cal. App. LEXIS 330  (March 10, 2006) BGF

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