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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    10

    Default Using Case Law in Traffic Court

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: CA

    As I move to a TWD for my No Left Turn case (sign totally obscured), it occurred to me: are superior court cases all on file somewhere?
    If so, if another judge dismissed a citation for a sign being totally obscured, can't one cite that case as precedent? Or is that really only
    limited to district and supreme court cases?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,598

    Default Re: Are Superior Court Cases Eligible for Citing Precedent

    Nothing prevents you from citing it. Unless, of course, the judge tells you to stop as soon as you start your citation.

    But nothing obligates the judge to consider it.

    Only published appellate court decisions are precedential.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    1,055

    Default Re: Are Superior Court Cases Eligible for Citing Precedent

    A case from another jurisdiction is not binding on your court, whether published or not. A case published in your jurisdiction's Appellate Division would be binding on the trial courts in that jurisdiction. A published California Supreme Court decision would be binding on all California Courts. As Jack points out, you can cite whatever you want, if the court allows. One way around this is to admit at the beginning that you know it's not published or that it's from another jurisdiction but explain that you think the reasoning is persuasive and ask the court to consider it. I've read Appellate Division decisions where the court admits up front that the case cited is not published but then goes on to quote the case in agreement with its eventual ruling.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Florida
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    2,344

    Default Re: Are Superior Court Cases Eligible for Citing Precedent

    Might not be authoritative, but rulings from other jurisdictions can be persuasive. Not usually trial court decisions, though, unless the facts of the case and the court's reasoning are spot-on...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    1,055

    Default Re: Are Superior Court Cases Eligible for Citing Precedent

    Quote Quoting Bubba Jimmy
    View Post
    Might not be authoritative, but rulings from other jurisdictions can be persuasive. Not usually trial court decisions, though, unless the facts of the case and the court's reasoning are spot-on...
    If the prior reasoning being quoted is obviously faulty, it may not help. But, one Appellate Division quoting another is roughly analogous to one trial court considering another's reasoning, even if from another jurisdiction. I wouldn't be wagging my finger in court but one judge is quite likely to consider another's opinion favorably. I would agree that the opinion in another Appellate Division would carry more weight than another trial court decision.

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