Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner Harrison and commissioner Dodson are unfair to tenants and biased in favor of landlords and apartment owners.
Harrison recently (12-2-10) presided over an unlawful detainer (#10U09165) hearing in which the defendant asked that the judgement against her be set aside because her initial attorney (Anthony Ranieri, Sherman Oaks, CA) had failed to appear in court for trial and, as a result, the evidence that would have exonerated her was not presented. Harrison denied the motion even though he had the evidence (a previous judgement) right in front of him and the defendant presented a declaration signed by Mr. Ranieri in which Ranieri admitted that a mistake in communication was made, which prevented him from appearing in court. Harrison has a friendly demeanor but don't let the smile fool you.
Commissioner, William Dodson, the one who presided over the original trial, absolutely refused to grant a continuance so that the defendant could present her evidence and be represented by an attorney. He ruled against the defendant.
That is not all. The plaintiff in the case (Dr. Fernando Ibarra, a gastroenterologist in Monterey Park, CA) was allowed to repeatedly perjure himself in Dodson's courtroom with impunity. For example, Dr. Ibarra signed a declaration under penalty of perjury claiming that the defendant owes him over $1100.00 in water usage for watering her plants twice a week even though the actual usage was less than $90.00. Even Dodson thought the amount claimed by Ibarra was somewhat excessive. Excessive is not the right word. Fraudulent is more like it. Dr. Ibarra is a liar and a fraud and he knows it.
Commissioners Harrison and Dodson do not care about the rights of tenants or justice. It would not surprise me if they are both landlords themselves, which would surely constitute a conflict of interest. In my opinion, they should both be removed from the bench.
If you are a defendant in an unlawful detainer case, I recommend that you demand to be heard by an actual judge and not by a commissioner, certainly not by Dodson or Harrison. Make sure you stick to the letter of the law because the spirit of the law (which is justice) means nothing to either of them. If you cannot afford a lawyer, all I can say is good luck to you because you will probably lose your case.