Hon. Joseph C. Spero See Rating Details
Magistrate Judge See Comments
Average Rating:5.9 - 15 rating(s)
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*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=Chronic`y Late,10=Always on Time)
*Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation:    (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
*Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation:   (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Flexibility In Scheduling   (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Pre-Trial:   (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Civil Settlement Discussions:   (1=Least Involved,10=Most Involved)
  Items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating

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What others have said about Hon. Joseph C. Spero



Comment #: 35372
This judge is fair and decent.He listened to the issues and helped me achieve a fair settlement in a stressful situation.He is very good at solving problems and resolving issues.6

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 34546
He requires a video call with him now before you can file a motion to compel. That's fine, but he can take 4+ months to made a decision if the moving party is even allowed to file their motion.

He's also the rudest federal judge I have ever encountered, but I don't really care if judges are rude if they get their job done. Spero doesn't.

Spero's mandatory informal discovery conference policy encourages parties not to comply with discovery until the video call. At worst, Spero will order a production during the call, and at that point the party will comply. Since there is no formal motion to compel, there are no sanctions for bad faith tactics.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 33426
Yes, Judge Spero can be crabby and his opinions sometimes contain unnecessary intemperate asides. But he is smart, fair, impartial, and follows the law. I have stipulated to him instead of seeking a random assignment to a District Judge.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 33318
Rating:Not Rated
Whatever he was like when first appointed, that day has long since passed. I agree wholeheartedly that he abuses his position and, in that position, is a coward. Although I received favorable decisions from him. I would never consent to him being the judge or acting in any settlement role. Literally, one of the top three worst judges I ever appeared before. A discredit to the judiciary.


Comment #: 32826
It costs nothing to be nice. He is a jerk to counsel in a situation where there is an inherent power imbalance. He knows that the lawyers can't fight back, and that's the worst kind of cowardice. Then again, that explains why he's clung to this job for so long past the time when he is eligible for retirement at 100% of salary.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 25186
I had a small case before him that was obviously going to settle. He encouraged the parties to move towards that goal and get the work done that was necessary to prepare the case for mediation while imposing absolutely no unneeded deadlines on us. He was very helpful, friendly, and made the process painless.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 25015
smart, empathy doubtful

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 23923
I have appeared ifo Judge Spero occasionally since his hiring.

At first he was charming, patient and fair.

The years have taken their toll on his humanity, professionalism and fairness. I have seen him dress counsel down unmercifully time and time again where simply stating his position suffices. I have also seen him make rulings that might really give the CA 9 pause. I have experienced him telling counsel in effect that their sub-million dollar case was not important enough for his docket, and then use some very questionable means to coerce settlement lest his time be consumed.

I have lost some respect, but more importantly, I see these results as the product of a very difficult workload.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 23445
Superb judge. Couldn't be better for settling cases.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 22180
You will remember at all times that when you're speaking to the Honorable Joseph C., you are speaking to the Ivy League. He will cast off the bookish demeanor in a microsecond if he feels you're bullshitting, and he will make you instantly regret trying. Pushes hard for settlements. The ability to judge his daily mood by his choice of bowtie remains unconfirmed. He may be a touch heavy handed with the "scintillating" sardonic commentary, but he's a good egg in all cases.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 19734
Has had a troubling history in the past few years of treatment of 1983 plaintiffs. He can be incredibly rude and condescending, but, more importantly, if you represent a civil rights plaintiff, realize he sets an extremely high bar of what constitutes a constitutional violation. Latest gem is that a cop who spit on an innocent detainee has qualified immunity since it's not clearly established such conduct is wrongful. Was passed over as federal judge and I've wondered if he was trying to prove how pro-government he is when he was vying for it.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 4757
Judge Spero is, hands down, my favorite magistrate judge in the Northern District of California. He is incredibly intelligent, hardworking, and he will do everything in his considerable power to settle cases - including twisting arms, hard. I have appeared before him many times and have always found him to be very well-prepared on all issues presented, asking intelligent questions. He gets crabby if you get off-track or try to b.s. him! He keeps strong control of all proceedings, which I appreciate. As a trial judge, discovery magistrate, and settlement judge, he is absolutely top-notch.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 3801
Demonstrates bias toward big corporations, who may be funding his benefactors. And even if he rules against a big corporation for some egregious conduct, he nonetheless fails to follow through on his own rulings.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 1156
Wants to move up to federal judge