Court Watch LA - A Project of La Defensa

Rate My Judge

What is Rate My Judge?

Rate My Judge is a public resource for community members, practitioners, public defenders, and others engaged in fighting for justice to provide honest reviews of their day-to-day interactions with  judges and their experiences within a judge’s courtroom.

We currently provide a rating platform for Superior Court judges in Los Angeles County, Inland Empire, and in Los Angeles-based Federal immigration courts.

To rate a judge, you just need to create an account, then you can search for the judge(s) you’d like to rate. You’ll be asked to rate them on: (1) Demeanor, (2) Sensitivity, (3) Neutrality, (4) Fairness, and (5) Lawfulness. Court Watchers can request a certified court watcher badge that shows up next to their reviews. 

Why does it matter?

Professional Accountability: Holding judges accountable through professional organizations and codes of conduct. This includes imposing sanctions and consequences for judges who engage in unethical or unprofessional behavior.

Judges make huge decisions over peoples’ lives that can lead to loss of freedom — and in turn, loss of child custody, drivers licenses, jobs, and housing. Judges have the authority to label someone as a threat or risk, to decide whether a person is charged or sentenced, and to determine the sentence length, and whether sentencing enhancements like Three Strikes are used to lengthen the time someone is imprisoned. Judges determine the fines and fees people pay, which can create serious debt and loss of housing. Judges also decide the conditions under which a person does time, how long they are on probation, and whether they have access to parole or not. 

Immigration judges hold significant authority in determining the outcomes of migrants’ lives, which can result in deportation, separation from families, loss of employment, and significant disruptions to their livelihood.

Racial Bias: Black, Indigenous and Latine people are likely to receive longer and more severe sentences than white defendants accused of similar charges.

The Bail System: On any given day, up to 7,000 legally innocent people are being incarcerated in Los Angeles County jails before their trial.

Mass Incarceration: Los Angeles County has the largest jail system in the world, and Superior Court judges play a major role in this crisis.

Our Mission

La Defensa is a femme-led 501(c)(4) advocacy organization dedicated to shifting Los Angeles County’s reliance on criminalization and incarceration towards systems of care that center human dignity.

At La Defensa, we defend the presumption of innocence through policies that challenge pretrial detention, we advocate for local and state budgets that reflect our values and we challenge judicial power by building public resources and electoral power. Our work is informed by the legacy of the communities we belong to: Chicanx, queer, immigrant, undocumented, working class people with incarcerated loved ones.