Jones v. Superior Court of Nevada County

A superior court’s branch with only one sitting judge is still part of a larger court with more than one authorized judge, so the normal rules setting the time for filing a 170.6 challenge apply, not CCP 170.6(a)(2) which sets a special rule for courts authorized to have only one judge.  CCP 170.6(a)(2) provides that a peremptory challenge of a judge must be filed within 30 days after a party’s initial appearance “if the court in which the action is pending is authorized to have no more than one judge.”  The provision is a holdover from the days before unification of trial courts, when some superior courts had only one authorized judge.  But now all superior courts have at least two, one a position formerly held by the municipal court judge.  This decision holds that the 30-day rule does not apply to branches of a single county’s superior court where only one judge sits—here the South Lake Tahoe branch of the Nevada County Superior Court.  Instead, the deadline for filing a 170.6 challenge in such a branch court is ten days after the party receives notice of an all-purpose assignment to the judge sitting in that branch court.

California Court of Appeal, Third District (Hoch, J.); April 8, 2016; 2016 WL 1403646

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