Hon. Susanne M. Fenstermacher See Rating Details
Superior Court
Contra Costa County
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Attorney Average Rating:   3.5 - 3 rating(s)
Non-Attorney Average Rating:   5.0 - 4 rating(s)
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Only items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating.

General Rating Criteria

* Temperament (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
* Scholarship (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
* Industriousness (1=Not at all industrious,10=Highly industrious)
* Ability to Handle Complex Litigation (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
* Punctuality (1=Chronically Late,10=Always on Time)
* General Ability to Handle Pre-Trial Matters (1=Not all Able, 10=Extremely Able)
* General Ability as a Trial Judge (1=Not all Able, 10=Extremely Able)
Flexibility In Scheduling (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)

Criminal Rating Criteria (if applicable)

* Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Plea Discussions (1=Not at all Involved, 10=Very Involved)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Pretrial Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Trial Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Sentencing Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)

Civil Rating Criteria (if applicable)

* Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation (1=Not at all Evenhanded,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Involvement in Settlement Discussions (1=Not at all Involved,10=Very Involved)
General Inclination (1=Pro-defendant, 10=Pro-plaintiff)

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What others have said about Hon. Susanne M. Fenstermacher



Comment #: CA29227
Rating:Not Rated
Behavior irresponsible. Denied my rights and conspied with petitioner and their Lawyer with absoutely no evidence. No record of hearing.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA15072
Terrible. Unfair. Unreasonable. At most, she sounds soft spoken as to temperament, but that's as good as it gets. She has difficulty and makes poor rulings on simple discovery issues, so it is doubtful she can handle more complex matters. She was 50 minutes late to the bench, so she is not very considerate of time and money incurred by the parties or in my case representing a non-party witness.
She refused to consider reasonable offers for reasonable accommodations. She refused to consider alternatives from reasonable accommodations like stipulations to requiring counsel to double their meet-and-confer efforts or referring matter to a discovery referee before inconveniencing an ill elder person third party witness who may die from the stress. She refused to consider less onerous discovery options against a non-party, as required by appellate decisions. She gives home court advantage to local attorneys. She unfairly shifts costs incurred. It bears repeating, she is unfair, unreasonable and abusive.


Comment #: CA9622
She held no bias, got it right, called it exactly as it was and got it over with. With over 30 year experience she is an asset to this court.


Comment #: CA8186
Thank God Judge Fenstermacher has been moved from family law. Hopefully she will not destroy any more lives as she has one of my friends. My friend was involved in a highly contentious divorce with millions in assets as stake. My friend was isolated from all finances by her estranged husband and has been destitute for three years. It is customary in a family law case for a judge to even the playing field by having the side with finances pay for the other side's legal representation. In this case any attempt at such fairness was rejected by the judge. Furthermore, my friend has a life threatening heart condition, documented by multiple letters from physicians. Left to represent herself in a highly contested, high asset trial my friend had a severe flare up of her heart condition the night before trial. Landed in the ER and the ER doctor and regular physician wrote letters to the judge informing her that my friend could not attend the trial as it would be life threatening for her to subject herself to the stress just a few hours after getting out of the emergency room. The judge refused to show any mercy and proceeded with the trial in her absence. Ultimately, my friend has lost everything she helped her family earn in a 20 year marriage (millions of dollars) and has been burdened with a sizeable judgment against her. She was never given an opportunity to present her case and denied any means of mounting a defense of her assets and her reputation. Judge Fenstermacher is the kind of judge who makes people despise and distrust the legal system. This was a huge injustice that needs to be corrected. Can anyone help?


Comment #: CA7840
This judge I have seen very bias and does not look into children's best interest. Is known to favor ppl in her circle to rule in their favor there is a case right now going on that has been very poorly ruled. I was in shock and feared for the children's well being. It will be heard again this Monday nov 1 2015. The father's gf knows court personal and the judge and shows how she favors the father in this family case. Never have I seen someone allowed to yell or talk back to the judge with such rudeness and get his demands made. Evidence had clearly been shown. By the fathers negligence drinking issues verbal abuse missed visits he has not completed his parental classes per court order the cps investigation was completely ignored after brought up I saw a poor single mother struggling and pleading her case for custody and to get her children away from this man until further time and changes made on his end his demands of when and where and who to do visit drop offs were met with no question even after the mother stated she did not drive and for he location to be change and the conflict is intrest in who did the drop offs she has stated numerous domestic violence incidents that had occurred under his care that were never questioned or even asked to interview the children's even after it was stated they are being forced to go and it is traumatizing the children. I truly hope this is reviewed and looked into before the hearing Monday for those poor kids sake. God forbid she makes a ruling due to bias conflict of interest with the Father and something horrible happens under his care to the children. It would be an awlful pr hit for the county court system. I myself and 4 other reporters will be present Monday to see the ruling on this family case and write about it to be printed in our 4 publications I encourage more staff and ppl to come and see about this judge


Comment #: CA7716
fantastic judge


Comment #: CA7032
Rating:Not Rated
She is a bad judge who abuses her powers

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA6428
This judge is outrageous. She was removed from the family law division of Contra Costa because she was so incredibly biased. Multiple complaints were filed with the Commission for Judicial Performance. She intentionally miscalculated one litigants support order to the tune of $40,000 per year greater than it should have been. This cannot have been on accident. This has been used as a tactic to cruch one of the litigants on behalf of a favored party. She also toook away custody from a parent in a closed session hearing with no evidence to back it at all. Scrutunize her every move, she can stab you in the back when you are not looking!

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: CA3191
Absolutely wonderful human being. She cannot, however, separate her personal feelings about equity from the outcome, which makes her very result oriented.