View Full Version : John Rafferty, Commissioner Div. 92 WLA

UD King
05-05-2006, 11:19 PM
I'm a bit odd myself, maybe that's why I like Rafferty. I did not always like him. He looks a bit like Andy Warhol. Rafferty can be extremely nasty for no good reason. E.g. no cell phones, even on vibrate, no talking, no gum chewing, no wearing of sunglasses or hats, etc. If he hears someone talking he stops the trial, asks will the person who was speaking in the audiance please leave (or identify himself). He then waits for a response. The person is now not only shy, but scared he will be arrested for talking. Rafferty pauses, then says fine, and continues.:eek:

When you must initially address the Court he wants you to state your name, who you represent and if your client is present or not. If your argument or request in your motion, etc., is not clear he asks for clarification which is good, but the way he does it you feel like an idiot. If you are a slow talker, he will stop you and say "I have a large calendar this morning, you are too slow, please take a seat and I will hear you after everyone else." :o

Given his "discipline", he is also a very sweet guy. He gives some of the nicest lectures about how in today's society we need to get along, and even though you are being evicted from your home of 20 years, his ruling is not a reflection upon the individual as a "bad person" but only an expression of the law, and how the law applies in this case. He will tell a person he is evicting "that the world needs more people like you who are honest and admit to a mistake (e.g. forget to pay the rent on time) even if it means losing your home. I don't think the tenant is very happy, but Rafferty sincerely seems to mean that. He often says I'm sorry that you being evicted, but the law is clear and requires this judgment.:confused:

But for all of his "issues", he really is smart and undersands UD law. Given that, he rules 98% of the time for landlords. But landlords should win 98% of the time anyway. He does not care about "minor" defenses like the Notice to Quit was not served correctly, "minor" breaches of the implied warranty of habitability, small retaliation defenses, etc. However, I have seen him rule many times for a defendant. But only when it is a strong defense case. And that probably only happens 2% of the time. I have tenants win several times. I have also seen him regularly grant a small stay on execution to help out the tenant.

I'm not sure how much longer he will be on the bench as I think he has been a Commissioner for abut 20 years. When he goes I know many UD lawyers will say thanks; but not me. You need a strong judge who knows the law and when appropriate shows compassion.:)

It's a tough job being a bench officer, but I think if a lawyer tried it for a week, he would not want to do it full time. I know that when I do pro tem, I often think about the border line cases and it is troubling. That is a problem with these quickie UD and small claims courtrooms. So give the guy a break when he askes for silence and to turn off your cell phone.