Temporary Judges in California Superior Courts
By Judge Stuart M. Rice
Gone are the days when a supervising judge asks an attorney sitting in the courtroom to please assist the court by going down the hall to handle the traffic calendar. In fact, my personal road to the bench began in just such a manner. As a young attorney in Long Beach, I was asked to cover traffic court when the commissioner had called in sick.
Now California Rules of Court Rules 2.810 and 10.740 et seq. formalize the rigorous requirements to serve the court as a temporary judge. (All references to Rules hereafter are to the California Rules of Court, unless otherwise stated.) The legal underpinnings are set forth in the California Constitution, Article 6, Section 21 which provides: "On stipulation of the parties litigant the court may order a cause to be tried by a temporary judge who is a member of the state bar, sworn and empowered to act until a final determination of the cause." The requirements for stipulation to a court-appointed temporary judge are set forth in Rule 2.816.