Catchpole v. Brannon

36 Cal. App. 4th 237 (1995)

The racist judge case


  • ¶ was sexually assaulted by her boss in his house after he told her he had to speak with her about her job

Procedural History:

  • Throughout the trial, judge badgered ¶ and exhibited a clear bias against women and impatience for sexual harassment cases.


Whether a new trial should be granted on the grounds of the judge’s bias against the ¶ and her case.


A new trial should be granted on basis of judge’s bias, regardless of whether the issue was brought up in trial.

New Information, questions, etc:

There is a principle of what you can appeal from in a normal case: an issue needs to be raised in the original trial to be appealable. There was an exception here because she could not have raised the judge’s bias to the judge. There may also be a due process violation (being able to have your case hear by an impartial decision maker). This is also a public interest matter and the court is willing to hear it despite the fact that she did not raise it during trial.