Hon. Michael E Whitaker See Rating Details
Judge
Superior Court
Los Angeles County
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Attorney Average Rating:   3.2 - 4 rating(s)
Non-Attorney Average Rating:   2.0 - 1 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. Michael E Whitaker


Comments


Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: CA23724
Rating:1.6
Comments:
The absolute worst judge I have ever been in front of in dependency court. Summarily denied my meritorious motion for de facto parent with no notice or explanation. Refused to continue a pre-trial case when I had a calendar conflict. No priority for private counsel. Had to wait all day to get one case called only to be barked at for a few seconds. Clerk’s personality fits his as well. Totally rude.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: CA23723
Rating:1.6
Comments:
The absolute worst judge I have ever been in front of in dependency court. Summarily denied my meritorious motion for de facto parent with no notice or explanation. Refused to continue a pre-trial case when I had a calendar conflict. No priority for private counsel. Had to wait all day to get one case called only to be barked at for a few seconds. Clerk’s personality fits his as well. Totally rude.

Litigant

Comment #: CA16054
Rating:2.0
Comments:
I would agree with some of the other assessments of Judge Michael Whitaker; namely, that he is extremely volatile and beholden to the CLC attorney, who really seems to run the show (and is extremely unethical about it). He defers to her on everything and it’s shocking how there’s no neutrality in his courtroom. He yells— A LOT— and frequently calls the attorneys to his chambers. Our attorney said that he would scream and berate them and he’s never seen this kind of temper in his 25 years of dependency practice. He seems to not respect foster parents especially— perhaps this is what the other poster meant by his disdain for advocacy. Some judges greatly welcome caregiver participation and feedback, but he is not one of them.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA15937
Rating:2.7
Comments:
Judge Whitaker is an intensely volatile jurist, whose temper is quickly inflamed. He seems to give absolute preference to the Children’s Law Center attorney and lacks independence on the bench.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA11481
Rating:6.8
Comments:
J. Whitaker is currently assigned to hear dependency cases and the workload is a "meat grinder" assignment, heavy caseloads with a lot of emotion. The second dynamic with which he has to contend is an entrenched narrowly focused group of lawyers who practice daily, and yearly, in this environment. In a different assignment I suspect his temperament would be somewhat improved and his decisions less confined. With aggressive advocacy not directed at the bench he can overreact with vitriol and defensiveness, which may be a product of the assignment or something else.
However he has the potential to be an excellent judge due to some strong qualities. He is very hardworking and decisive. It was clear that he took his obligations seriously and was prepared in the law and facts. Unfortunately in this assignment he lacked untethered independence from the department/government agency and had great difficulty with trial objections. In a different assignment these challenges would be more pronounced.
Overall he is a good judge in this environment, but in a civil court he should be an excellent judge.

Litigant

Comment #: CA10621
Rating:Not Rated
Comments:
You will not find a more better, fair, just, and efficient judge in the State of California than the Honorable Michael E. Whitaker. Judge Whitaker restored my faith in the judicial system in general, the California judicial system in particular.