Superior Court of California, San Bernardino County

Superior Court of California, San Bernardino County

Temporary Judge Program Overview and FAQs

Thanks to the generous efforts of members of the legal community, the Superior Court of San Bernardino County has always enjoyed a strong Temporary Judges’ program. Our court welcomes qualified attorneys to become a part of our Temporary Judges’ program. A Court-appointed Temporary Judge is an attorney who has satisfied the requirements for appointment [See Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 2.812]. Through this program, the court maintains a panel of trained and experienced attorneys who preside over small claims and traffic matters, facilitating settlement of civil and family law disputes, and in other capacities at the discretion of the Presiding Judge. As there are a high volume of cases in the Superior Court of San Bernardino County, applications for Temporary Judges are accepted year round.

Frequently Asked Questions

Checklist of Documents Needed to Become a Temporary Judge

  • Application Form (5 pages)
  • Copy of Certificate of Completion of Bench Conduct, Demeanor, & Decorum Course
  • Copy of Certificate of Completion of Judicial Ethics Course
  • Copy of Certificate of Completion in Any Substantive Area
    • Small Claims
    • Traffic
    • Other

Who is Eligible to Become a Temporary Judge?

An attorney in good standing and an active member of the California State Bar, with no disciplinary action pending, no felony convictions, and who has been admitted to practice at least 10 years is eligible to serve. For good cause, the Presiding Judge may permit an attorney to participate in the Temporary Judges’ Program if they attorney has less than 10 years of experience [Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 2.812 (a)].

What Steps Must I Take to Become Qualified?

You can obtain an “Application to Serve as Temporary Judge” on our website: http://www.sb-court.org [Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 10.744]. This application should be filled out and submitted to the Superior Court of San Bernardino County, Court Executive Office, Attention Sharon Prentiss, 303 W. Third Street, 4th Floor, San Bernardino, CA 92415. The application can also be faxed to 909-708-8754 or emailed to Ms. Prentiss at sprentiss@sb-court.org.

Attorneys must complete training in the following areas:

  1. Bench Conduct, Demeanor, and Decorum
  2. Judicial Ethics
  3. Training in their bench assignment (e.g., small claims, family law, etc.)

* There is an exception to the Temporary Judge training requirements for those attorneys wishing to hear Probate Matters. The Judicial Council of California is responsible for developing materials for training courses. There are currently no Probate training courses available through the Judicial Council. The Presiding Judge approves Temporary Judges for Probate [Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 2.812 (c)].

Training for the Bench Conduct, Demeanor, and Decorum course must be attended in person and will be provided by the court. Several sessions have already been held and other courses will be scheduled (See Question 9 for upcoming dates). If this course is not being offered by the Superior Court of San Bernardino County, attorneys may take this course in any other California county when it is offered.

Following the training administered by the Court, the attorney should go online to the “Temporary Judge Resources Page” to find online courses required for bench assignment training. This website offers other helpful resources on the topic.

When do I Need to Renew my Certificates?

Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 2.815(a) requires that each attorney appointed as a temporary judge must complete a course on Bench Conduct, Demeanor, and Decorum; an Ethics course; and a course in each substantive area in which the attorney sits as a temporary judge every three years. The courses must be approved by the Court. If you would like to add additional certifications, it is mandatory that you complete the required training and submit copies of the certificates. It is the responsibility of the attorney to make sure that their certification is current.

*Please take note that the Bench Conduct, Demeanor, and Decorum class must be attended in person and is only offered by most courts once or twice a year. If your certificate is due to expire any time during the current year, be sure to sign up for this class when it is offered.

Will I Get Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Credit for These Courses?

Yes, and the courses are offered to you at no cost.

Do I Have to Disclose Financial Information Required Under the California Fair Political Practices Act?

The California Code of Regulations require temporary judges who sit thirty days or more in a calendar year to file with the clerk of the court the statement of economic interests (Form 700) required of regular judicial officers. This form can be found online at http://www.fppc.ca.gov/.

Temporary judges are responsible for keeping track of the number of days that they serve. The San Bernardino Court Temporary Judge Administrator can also help answer any questions or concerns.

Why Should I Serve as a Temporary Judge?

As one of the largest trial court systems in the state, the Superior Court of San Bernardino County utilizes temporary judges to hear various types of cases, including small claims, traffic, family law, and probate. Attorneys who serve as temporary judges have the privilege of serving the community, while gaining invaluable experience. The Superior Court of San Bernardino County has the highest caseload per judge of any county in California. When a judicial officer is absent due to vacations, illness, or judicial education, those cases will most likely be continued to the next available date which can, at times, be many months away. This can lead to unnecessary court appearances, further backlog, unhappy clients, and increased legal fees. Without its temporary judges, the Court would be hard pressed to hear all of its cases in a timely manner. Temporary judges can serve in all court locations.

Where Can I Go to Get Further Information?

For information specific to the Superior Court of San Bernardino County, contact Sharon Prentiss, Administrative Services Manager, 303 W. Third Street, 4th Floor, San Bernardino, CA 92415, (909) 708-8745, FAX (909) 708-8754, sprentiss@sb-court.org.

The rules are set forth at Cal. Rules of Court, Rules 2.812(c) et seq. For training and online educational courses see the “Temporary Judge Resources Page”. The application can be obtained on the Superior Court of San Bernardino County website http://www.sb-court.org [See also Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 10.744].

*If you change your contact information, please contact the Temporary Judge Administrator to update our records at sprentiss@sb-court.org.

When and Where is the Next Bench Conduct, Demeanor, and Decorum Class?

Year

Date

Course Title

Taught By

2014 March 29 Bench Conduct Judge Kyle Brodie & Commissioner Ronald Gilbert
2013 April 13 Bench Conduct Judge Kyle Brodie & Commissioner Ronald Gilbert
2013 April 13 Civil Harassment Judge David Cohn & Judge John P. Vander Feer
2012 August 3 Civil Harassment Judge John P. Vander Feer
2012 April 21 Bench Conduct Judge Larry Allen & Judge Gilbert Ochoa
2012 April 21 Probate Judge J. Michael Welch
2011 July 29 Civil Harassment Judge Stanford Reichert & Judge Christopher Marshall
2011 March 31 Bench Conduct Judge Steve Mapes & Judge Joseph Brisco
2010 June 16 Bench Conduct Judge Tara Reilly & Judge David Cohn

California Rules of Court Applicable to Temporary Judges

  • Rule 2.810 Temporary judges appointed by the trial courts
  • Rule 2.811 Court appointment of temporary judges
  • Rule 2.812 Requirements for court appointment of an attorney to serve as a temporary judge
  • Rule 2.813 Contents of training programs
  • Rule 2.814 Appointment of temporary judge
  • Rule 2.815 Continuing Education
  • Rule 2.816 Stipulation to court-appointed temporary judge
  • Rule 2.817 Disclosure to the parties
  • Rule 2.818 Disqualifications and limitations
  • Rule 2.819 Continuing duty to disclose and disqualify
  • Rule 2.830 Temporary judges requested by the parties
  • Rule 2.831 Temporary judge-stipulation, oath, order, assignment, disclosure, and disqualification
  • Rule 2.832 Compensation
  • Rule 2.833 Documents and Exhibits
  • Rule 2.834 Open proceedings; notices of open proceedings, use of court facilities, and order for hearing site
  • Rule 10.740 Responsibilities of the trial courts for temporary judge programs
  • Rule 10.741 Duties and authority of the presiding judge
  • Rule 10.742 Use of attorneys as court-appointed temporary judges
  • Rule 10.743 Administrator of Temporary Judge Programs
  • Rule 10.744 Application procedures to serve as a court-appointed temporary judge
  • Rule 10.745 Performance
  • Rule 10.746 Complaints