January 2010 • Vol. 30 No. 1 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

Board Ratifies Approval of Support and Lobbying of State Bar Legislative Proposal to Make Peremptory Challenge Timeframes Consistent

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to ratify a consent item granting approval by the LACBA Executive Committee to work with the State Bar of California and lend its support to two legislative proposals that would make consistent the timeframes under which peremptory challenges may be filed.

LACBA’s Litigation Section Executive Committee reviewed a proposal by the State Bar’s Committee on the Administration of Justice to delete Government Code Section 68616(i), which allows 15 days for filing peremptory challenges in direct calendar courts while limiting challenges under delay reduction rules to 10 days under Code of Civil Procedure Section 170.6. Consistency with C.C.P. Section 170.6(a)(2), which allows 10 days for filing peremptory challenges in all other cases, was given as the reason for the proposed change.

The Litigation Section opposed the CAJ change at first, believing that consistency would be better served if the time period for matters assigned to a judge for all purposes is increased to 15 days. Since the adoption of the current 10-day rule, the court system has become much larger and more complex, the practice of law has also become more complex, and increasing the timeframe to 15 days in all cases would make more sense.

CAJ considered and supports the Litigation Section’s proposal—to amend C.C.P. Section 170.6(a)(2) by increasing the time to file a peremptory challenge in cases assigned to a judge for all purposes from 10 days to 15 days—if made in conjunction with a repeal of Government Code Section 68616(i). Judicial efforts to apply Section 68616(i) in situations not expressly contemplated by the statute have resulted in rules that are somewhat inconsistent. If Section 686816(i) is repealed, those cases now governed by the statute and by the cases interpreting the statute would be governed instead by the clear and definite timing provisions of C.C.P. Section 170.6(a)(2). (The timing requirements of Government Code Section 68616(i) expressly supersede those of Code of Civil Procedure Section 170.6(a)(2) in cases governed by Section 68616(i)).

Reuben Ginsburg, chair of the State Bar CAJ, and Herb Barish, member of the Litigation Section Executive Committee, made the presentation to LACBA’s Executive Committee, which approved their joint efforts in lieu of the Board of Trustees per LACBA’s bylaws to allow the State Bar to move forward with its legislative procedures immediately.

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