Hon. Robert Leslie Hess See Rating Details
Judge
Superior Court
Los Angeles County
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Attorney Average Rating:   3.9 - 21 rating(s)
Non-Attorney Average Rating:   1.0 - 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)
Comments




What others have said about Hon. Robert Leslie Hess


Comments


Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: CA6292
Rating:2.2
Comments:
The most antagonistic judge I have ever come across. Takes way too long on his CMC calendar, constantly chastises attorneys, I feel like a child being scolded. Awful, I cannot believe that he is still on the bench.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA6246
Rating:1.1
Comments:
I can honestly say after practicing for 2o years this was the worst judge I've ever appeared in front of. His Courtroom is not a court of law but a court of whatever he wants it to be. I've never seen a judge disregard bright line laws so flagrantly. Shame they've done away with court reporters.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA5907
Rating:3.8
Comments:
He takes a very long time of CMCs for no apparent reason. Morning calendar often drags into the lunch hour. Part of the reason for this is he does not seem to read pleadings prior to court and part of it is his inclination to allow oral argument and opine on various issues. I actually like the guy, but he is not a good judge. He gets annoyed at counsel and is a bit sarcastic, but I have appeared before him a number of times and have a good relationship with him.
What finally convinced me of his dubious competence was his inability to correctly recite what he considered to be the "new" jury fee posting rule. The rule was nearly two year old at the time he cited it, and he completely botched it. I could not comprehend how this does not come up at all his CMCs given that they often take 20-30 minutes apiece. The jury trial request is one of the few things that needs to be clarified at a CMC.
I will 170.6 him in the future because I cannot afford to sit in his courtroom all morning when I am on a contingency case. If you are hourly, he is the greatest if you have heavy law and motion.
In his defense, I think that he is honest and committed to the principles of justice. He is an odd judge, but on the whole quite fair to all.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA5534
Rating:2.6
Comments:
Judge Hess wants you to know, really know, that he is the smartest guy in the courtroom. He blabs on and on, really enjoying hearing himself talk, until you appreciate that he is just so damn much smarter than you, or your adversary, are. A matter that would take 7 or 8 minutes of the morning calendar in any other courtroom will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes with this guy -- no joke! Judge Hess is rude, intemperate, gratuitously nasty and self-absorbed. He is not stupid, but he is only about 1/2 as smart as he thinks he is. He is to be avoided if at all possible.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA5408
Rating:1.6
Comments:
Robert Hess is an intelligent man, but he is not fit to sit on any court. He is a disgrace to the bench.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA5308
Rating:4.1
Comments:
takes a 2 minute cmc and makes it 20 minutes. No courtesy to counsel. Bad termperment. always 170.6 him. equally nasty to plaintiff and defendant. seeks expert disclosure at cmc.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA5146
Rating:1.3
Comments:
Stated in open court racist remark that he (Hess) "...would not let the Mongolian hordes sack Europe"

My client was Asian.

I got an his striking of punitive damages overturned on appeal.

He is one of the worst jurist I have ever experienced in over 15 years as a civil litigator.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA4976
Rating:3.1
Comments:
I did not have a good experience with this judge, but that was about five years ago -- maybe things are different now. He was terribly rude. He could not admit to making an error or a bad call. Somehow, I got onto his s**t list, and there was no way off of it. (I'd admit if I belonged there, and I really do not.)

There were times when he did not read the papers. For example, he simply failed to read a demurrer or the opposition, summarily ruling that the complaint should be amended. Honestly, he did not read it at all and had no clue what the case was about. The second time around, he read the stuff and was completely shocked by his own original ruling. It was a waste of time and nonsensical.

I paper this guy every time since that experience.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA4908
Rating:6.2
Comments:
Judge Hess is one of the most honest and straightforward judges that I've been before. He takes the time to learn the details of every case. If he draws a blank on a case, it's likely to be because of his case load, not his disregard for a matter. He has high expectations of the attorneys in his courtroom, and you had better know your case. He wants to know theories and details about causes of action, because it not only allows him to evaluate how much attention the case will need, it allows the attorney to make sure that his cause of action is valid. People who are critical of him or claim that he is biased probably weren't prepared for their hearing. He has little patience for unprepared attorneys and attorneys that aren't moving their case along. I've never known him to be pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant -- rather, he is pro-prepared and anti-incompetent. He does take a long time on each case on his calendar -- at least 20-45 minutes for a CMC -- but he gives you the time to make your case. He entertains all motions, but won't tolerate meritless claims. While witnessing a continued post-mediation status conference where no mediation had taken place, I watched him set trial 30 days out. He ultimately bumped the trial out to 120 days, but it put the fear of God into the attorneys to get their case moving. Overall, I think that he is one of the best jurists on the bench. He is always polite and courteous. He is knowledgeable about the relevant law and he applies it. He is not one of those judges that makes a decision based on what he wants the outcome to be, instead of what the law says. I would take him as a judge any time over any other judge that I've ever been before.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA4654
Rating:8.4
Comments:
There is something that you should know about Judge Hess -- something about which you will be misled by these comments. You can get all your causes of action and other claims before the jury. Judge Hess will give you a bad time arguing them, but eventually you will stumble onto the right argument and you will get it to the jury. He's actually good for P.l.'s because he does not want to get reversed, IMHO.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA4511
Rating:7.5
Comments:
His courtroom is not run efficiently, and you could easily sit for a few hours before your case is called. He does not tolerate disrespect from attorneys or litigants. But he is very knowledgeable, fair, scholarly, reads all the papers and the supporting cases and applies the law appropriately. He is a good trial judge.

Other

Comment #: CA4121
Rating:1.0
Comments:
He is never on time. He chooses which side he wants to win in the beginning, then sets up the other for failure. He is rude, impolite, and an unrighteous advocate of the law. He allows padding of expenses in such a way as to punish the side that he wants to lose. He ignores the law and makes up his own. He will not recuse himself even when there is a clear conflict of interest. He has never met a back-room deal he didn't like.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA4091
Rating:1.1
Comments:
The worst judicial temperament I've ever seen. Judge Hess is an absolute tyrant, has his own ideas about how the case should be litigated, prejudges the merits, and will try to bully you if he doesn't like you or your case. His morning calendar is also interminable. If you are last on the morning calendar, plan on being there until lunch.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA3614
Rating:9.1
Comments:
Very fair and smart Judge. He is not a great Judge for anyone who is unprepared or does not know their case.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA3042
Rating:1.6
Comments:
Horrible judicial temperament. Mumbles obscenitites. Seems to hate women. Completely biased against plaintiffs. Also, the most inefficient judge with his time I have ever seen.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA2140
Rating:1.3
Comments:
I note that prior ratings have given this judge an average of 5!?? No way - he is a total idiot (see infra, bottom line). The other lawyers rating him must be also. When sitting at law & motion matters, hearing him go on & on & on with other lawyers on other cases, it is clear that he is simply to stupid to understand the basics facts & how they relate to the law on the issues before him. If he were capable of keeping an open mind, which he isn't, he might be able to learn enough to understand the cases before him. But he is simply to stupid & too closed minded.

Bottom Line: He does not even know the most basic tenants of civil litigation, such as, for example, the 9 possible statutory grounds for a demurrer [CCP sec. 430.10(a)-(i)]. Such ignorance must be deemed "stupidity" when you consider that he rules on demurrers virtually ever day!???

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA1300
Rating:3.8
Comments:
Judge Hess comes across as very rough, but in some situations he is reluctant to make the hard decisions or to reject the barest of excuses. I have seen an attorney blatently ignore court orders for payment of sanctions and deadlines without consequence. His case management conferences do run for 30 minutes, and you'd think he was taking your deposition about work product and theories of the case.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA1212
Rating:6.0
Comments:
Hardworking judge dedicated to reaching the correct result. Attitude from the bench could be a bit nicer, but I'll take smart and curmudgeonly over dumb and sweet any day.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA549
Rating:7.4
Comments:
Has an ego. Be prepared to wait in court. He invites counsel to sit and chat. The upside is that you will get a chance to argue if the tentative is against you. The downside is that it doesn't seem to matter.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA10
Rating:1.3
Comments:
This judge is never on time - he comes out maybe at 9:00 a.m. He'll then spend an average of 30-45 minutes for each motion or case management conference. He spends an inordinate amount of time with circular discussions about obscure details of the case, which gives him an opportunity to 1)allow counsel to argue with him after which he won't change his mind, sometimes going 2 or 3 go-arounds on the same point, and 2) gives him an opportunity to opine about how much he knows about litigation and world in general. After having suffered through 3 of these case management conferences on the same case, I had the pleasure of going back for one last trial setting conference to find that the this guy remembered nothing of previous discussions or previous filings. At the trial setting conference he professed complete indifference and lack of recall and set a quick trial date. Add to that the fact that he patently misread the substantive law in an attempt to bluff opposing counsel, and you've got a jurist who will definitely get it wrong.