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Ask Lawmoe Your Own Question
Lawmoe, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 2415
Experience:  Lawyer with 19 years of litigation experience in state and federal court systems.
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I Need legal authority to grant an in camera hearing on a

Customer Question

I Need legal authority for Judge to grant an in camera hearing on a Name and Gender Change matter - is there any Case Law that supports this request or is there any statutary law that supports this request - it is a mater of public privacy for my client - our Court is in a very redneck area of USA
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.


I have access to WestlawNext, and I will be happy to research this question for you. Please accept the additional services offer, so that we can discuss the issue in a confidential setting.

Thanks in advdance.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I do not accept the offer listed above
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.

Okay. Is there some other assistance that I can provide?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My question is - can you find any legal authority (case law or code) that will allow a judge to grant an in camera hearing on a request for Name and Gender Change in CA?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.

Thank you. Here's the problem. Customers frequently come here with a question requiring case law research. Many times the customer's question is such that I know that I will be able to find a dispositive answer. In other cases (such as yours), I am uncertain about whether there is any dispositive case law or statute.

Unfortunately, when I conduct time-consuming research, and return to the customer, the answer that there is no legal authority -- the customer inevitably refuses to provide a positive rating for my answer -- which means that I have expended time and effort to try to answer the question, in exchange for nothing.

I cannot afford to conduct free legal research. So, the question for you is this: If my research returns a negative result, will you provide a positive rating, regardless?

If your answer is yes, then I will research your question. If no, then I'll have to reopen the question for others to try to assist.

Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am a California Legal Document Assistant - I understand that an in camera hearing in a civil matter is to some degree at the discretion of the Judge. This particular case is one in which my client lives in a very redneck part of California - his family is well known. I do not believe that he started to live his life as a man until he left our area for college. Now after college and gradschool he is back with his family - for all intensive purposes his is an unknown in the community. I have been working on this case for almost 3 years - and a this point we are ready for a hearing, but he is very concerned that if this is held in open court someone in the audience will have known him or his family in his youth when he was a very lonely little girl. I have choices, I can either have you do the research in US law, CA, law and examples from other perhaps more liberal states - Or take the suggestion of the Court clerk and have him and his family write declarations to the Judge explaining why they believe this matter needs to be heard privately and hope for the best. The Judge on this case is an older Judge and generally a pretty fair and good judge. I have, to the best of my ability researched this matter - I have found nothing useable - I do not have good access to case law and I was hopeful that you would. Rating you would be based on your research, not on the results of your research. Are you the right man for the Job? I really do not know....If you do not find this problem worthy of your time please advise me.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your detailed and informative reply. I will reopen the question for others to try to assist you further.

Best of luck with your legal dilemma.

Expert:  Lawmoe replied 2 years ago.

To a degree, i think you are asking the wrong question. An "in camera" review generally relates to a Judge reviewing a document in chambers that is being contested as evidence or as part of a discovery request.

What you are really asking is whether there is any authority to: (1) Hold a private hearing where the public is excluded; or (2) where the Judge can administratively approve the Petition without a hearing.

I think the latter would apply. Under teh California Code of Civil Procedure 1277, which relates to a name change, it states, as follows:

1277. (a) (1) If a proceeding for a change of name is ***** ***** the filing of a petition, except as provided in subdivisions (b), (c), and (e), the court shall thereupon make an order reciting the filing of the petition, the name of the person by whom it is filed, and the name proposed. The order shall direct all persons interested in the matter to appear before the court at a time and place specified, which shall be not less than 6 weeks nor more than 12 weeks from the time of making the order, unless the court orders a different time, to show cause why the application for change of name should not be granted. The order shall direct all persons interested in the matter to make known any objection that they may have to the granting of the petition for change of name by filing a written objection, which includes the reasons for the objection, with the court at least two court days before the matter is scheduled to be heard and by appearing in court at the hearing to show cause why the petition for change of name should not be granted. The order shall state that, if no written objection is timely filed, the court may grant the petition without a hearing. If the petition seeks to conform the petitioner's name to his or her gender identity and no objection is timely filed, the court shall grant the petition without a hearing.

Please see the last sentence of that statutory provision.