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socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 37871
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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If you remember my thread with seeking to render aid, I was

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If you remember my thread with "seeking to render aid," I was in court with my debtor Monday. He didn't stall this time. As a SPO I'm somewhat familiar with the court room. I'm hoping you could expand some of my weapons for 12/8 like enhancing badgering object during cross using Leyra v. Denno (247 U.S. 556 [1954]). I'd like to stop him before he even starts. I know how to use Leyra, but I'm not sure of my self. Like most I more comfortable with none personal stuff, and not with a psychologist who has known me for 10 years making references to sensitive areas like about my son out the hearing range of courtroom personal like last week. It was so disguised so well I did figure out what I was so upset about until I got to my car. I'm thinking on moving.

I just notice this post -- sorry for the delay. In the future, please put my userid on the title of your question (e.g., "To Socreteaser").

Attempting to use U.S. Supreme Court rulings in a judgment debtor exam is overkill to the extreme. California law provides that the purpose of the examination is to "compel the judgment debtor to give information concerning his property." The judgment creditor is accorded "the widest scope for inquiry concerning property and business affairs of the debtor . . ." Young v. Keele (1987) 188 Cal.App.3d 1090, 1093, 233 Cal.Rptr. 850, 852; Marriage of Sachs (2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 1144, 1159, 116 Cal.Rptr.2d 273, 286; Hooser v. Super.Ct. (Ray) (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 997, 1002, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 341, 345.

The purpose of a judgment debtor examination is "to leave no stone unturned in the search for assets which might be used to satisfy the judgment." Jogani v. Jogani (2006) 141 Cal.App.4th 158, 172, 45 Cal.Rptr.3d 792, 800 (internal quotes omitted); Troy v. Super.Ct. (Rourke), supra, 186 Cal.App.3d at 1014, 231 Cal.Rptr. at 112.

In short, practically any question is relevant, and the only reasonable objections are (1) privilege (attorney-client, marrital communications, self incrimination, priest-penetent, physician-patient, etc.) -- and tax returns, i.e., under California law, the judgment debtor cannot be compelled to produce his/her tax returns, or discuss anything directly stated thereon. See Hooser v. Super.Ct. (Ray), supra, 84 Cal.App.4th at 1002-1003, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d at 345 (citing text); Young v. Keele, supra, 188 Cal.App.3d at 1092-1093, 233 Cal.Rptr. at 851-852; and as to privileges generally, see Wegner, Fairbank, Epstein & Chernow, Cal. Prac. Guide: Civil Trials & Evidence (TRG), Ch. 8E.

The exception is that if the debtor brings the tax returns with him/her, or he/she voluntarily answers questions about the returns, then the privilege is wavied. See Lee v. Swansboro Country Property Owners Ass'n (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 575, 582, 59 Cal.Rptr.3d 924, 927 (citing text).

Most judgment debtor exams are conducted in a separate room, with only a court reporter, and without either a judge or referee present. If you receive an objection, and there is no decisionmaker, you can suspend the hearing, return to the courtroom and request that the judge give you a ruling. If the unreasonable objections continue, then you can ask the court to provide you with a judge, commissioner or referee, because of the hostile nature of the hearing, and then if the objections occur again, then you can ask the referee to order the witness to answer, and if he/she does not, then you can move for contempt.

Hope this helps.
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