Friday, August 9, 2013

Pro Se Wins Battle of the Jury Forms

Kim v. De Maria, No. BV030068 (L.A. Super. App. Div. Aug 8, 2013)

An indigent defendant in unlawful detainer action requested a waiver of court costs and fees, including jury fees. The clerk signed and returned his form proposed order, but did not check the box for waiver of jury fees. The trial court subsequently denied defendant a jury trial because he had not timely paid his fees. Defendant lost and then appealed. The appellate division held that because, under Rule of Court 3.50, a party could permissibly seek a waiver of all fees in his initial fee waiver form, and because, under Government Code § 68634(d), the clerk had only the authority to grant, but not to deny, the request, the clerk’s order must be considered a grant of a jury fee waiver. Because fees were waived, failure to pay them did not waive jury.

Reversed.

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