View Full Version : Sidney P. Chapin, Bakersfield, Dept. 4

The Underdog
09-27-2006, 10:06 PM
After spending a few days in trial, and then settling my case, I must say that this judge impressed me. He knows his rules of civil procedure and is very fair. He is difficult to read but after my case settled I had a very brief conversation with him about a small procedueral aspect of the resolution of the case, and he so friendly and helpful it just made me feel good that this guy really cared and wanted to make sure everything worked out correctly. It was one of those "warm and fuzzy feelings" that made me think, hey, I need to get out of the Big City and the BS that is the defacto standard in LA. Also my local opposition was honest, straight forward and a pleasure to deal with.
Judge Chapin was all business but I liked that. He is what you think of when you define judicial temperment. He can also scare the bejeezus out of you. He likes to say how the local tax payers spend $4,000 a day for a trial in his court and he will sanction you if you waste his court's time. Yet, he gave us plenty of time to talk settlement while we were in the middle of trial. :) Though I think he is much more bark then bite!

He seems to do a lot of thinking out loud, ie. while he is talking, but he also listened to everything said and was more then fair. As an out of towner I was afraid of being prejudiced, especially going against the 2nd largest firm in Kern County after my client fired the largest, but I never felt prejudiced.

I really liked that he has a calendar of 1 or 2 law and motion cases a day and with written tenatives posted. His calendar starts promptly and ends promptly.

The Court room was large, almost like US District Court so I could not read the Judge's facial expressions (albeit he has a poker face anyway). The counsel tables were in the L shape which I like as a defendant because my profile sucks!:D I like this guy and would love to try another case in front of him. His courtroom clerk was very good and helpful as well.:) The only other strange thing was the Court house was always full of jurors and others hanging out in the hallways, but very few lawyers were running around. Usually I see lots of lawyers, but the lack of lawyers freaked me out. I guess that what happens when the big fish moves into the small pond!

P.S. For parking park east (above) of the court (about L street and 19th) for free parking in a covered structure or on the street. If you park in the "court" lots past the railroad tracks you might get stuck there waiting 30 minutes while a train passes by.