Small-Claims Court

* I am not surprised to read the scathing letter written about me by Burt Prelutsky printed in The Times on March 1 ("Small-Claims Court," Letters to the Valley Edition).

It is not the first occasion Prelutsky has put his opinion of me in writing. The last time was in a personal letter to me in which he, evidently so distraught over the fact that I found the actual damages in his small-claims case to be greatly inflated by him and, thus, substantially reduced his dollar award, suggested that I am anti-Semitic. Of course, he did not take the time to first learn that I, too, am Jewish.

Those who come to court, be they plaintiffs or defendants, must realize that it is incumbent upon the bench officer hearing their case to be neutral and detached, and not a mere rubber stamp, approving their claim or defense. No matter how strong your side of the case may seem to you, the judge must weigh the evidence and testimony presented by both sides. Only after doing so and then applying the facts of the case to the law can a fair judgment be rendered. The fact that the ruling may not be to your liking means that the neutral, detached arbiter on the bench after hearing your case was not equally as impressed with its merits as you.

I am sorry Prelutsky mistakenly attributed the above to "judicial arrogance" and "casual contempt for the law" on my part, but as the chief justice of the California Supreme Court, Ronald George, so often says, "Every time a bench officer decides a case he makes one temporary friend and one enemy for life."


Commissioner, Division 114,

Los Angeles Municipal Court

Van Nuys

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