Hon. Jesus G. Bernal See Rating Details
District Judge See Comments
Average Rating:8.2 - 4 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)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Trial:    (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Sentencing:    (1=Most Lenient,10=Most Harsh)
Typical Discount Off Guidelines for Cooperators:    (1=10%,10=100%)
  Items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating

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What others have said about Hon. Jesus G. Bernal


Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 33387
In spite of some issues, Judge Bernal was a pleasure to try a civil case before. In the lead up to the trial, Judge Bernal partially granted our summary judgment motion with a thorough analysis of the issues. At oral argument, he asked pointed questions, but never belittled anyone. His courtroom staff are professional. Unfortunately, he handles all of the voir dire, so make sure that you are prepared to tender your requested voir dire. He was quick to rehabilitate obviously biased jurors, so be prepared to build a record. He is a bit of a stickler on obeying local and chambers rules in the lead up to the trial, but he is not a tyrant. Although both sides submitted proposed verdict forms and jury instructions, Judge Bernal largely crafted his own. He especially witted down the jury instructions to about 25 pages, from about 60 pages that the parties were proposing. As a result of his taking the reigns for the verdict forms, they were not ready for closing argument. This was unfortunate. In the end, if you get Judge Bernal, then you should enjoy your experience. As a final note, my plaintiffs were Hispanic. One other person commented that they thought that Judge Bernal may be biased in favor of Hispanics. I did not find that to be the case at all.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 33380
I’ve had many cases with Judge Bernal, and here is my honest assessment:

He reads the law, he examines the facts, and he at least tries to get it right. I do not always agree with his rulings, but he explains his reasons at length, and that’s more than I can say for many other lifetime appointees in this district.

One of his best qualities is his temperament. He is very predictable. He does not yell or berate attorneys. He lets both sides speak. He speaks his reasoning on the record. He changes his mind if presented with new facts or law. If anything, he may be a bit passive compared to certain other courtroom tyrants. In my opinion, that’s not a bad thing.

Although he may lean a bit toward civil rights plaintiffs, don’t get lazy with your arguments if you’re on plaintiff’s side. He rules for the government plenty. But unlike many judges, he won’t bend over backward to make the government’s case, or accept half-baked arguments for qualified immunity.

One concern I have is that I have heard he is partial to his racial identity group. He’s a Latino, and I have heard he is extra lenient or receptive toward Latino litigants, particularly in the immigration context. I hope that’s not what drives his decision-making. It may be in style to be vocal about “woke” racial politics (even among judges), but it erodes public trust in the judiciary. Hopefully he is applying the law neutrally, and not to benefit one group over another.

Overall, a good judge. One of the better ones in the Central District.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 29733
Civil rights case against USA/Bivens Action. Started out on a very sour note when Judge Bernal dismissed the action- Ex Parte without notice or argument- on an alleged technicality. After getting the action reinstated Judge Bernal bent over backwards to give the Feds every opportunity possible. After the Feds/AUSA fumbled the ball on every down Judge Bernal saw the light (he had no other choice really) and knew there was only one way this game could end; Judge Bernal did what he was supposed to do as a "referee" and made the right ruling, which was the ONLY legit ruling he could make based on the facts of the case. Like Chief Justice John Roberts said at his confirmation hearing, judges are just there to "call balls and strikes" and ensure a fair playing field (OK, try not to laugh at that). In this action Judge Bernal was a very fair referee/umpire. Took some pushing and convincing to get him there, but he was fair today. 7/10 today, and I hope to raise Judge Bernal's average in future actions before him.


Comment #: 23949
Rating:Not Rated
This judge favors and has a history of favoring the rich and wealthy companies. His rulings are not just and fair, and he avoids commenting on matters and facts that show how unfair his decision is. He does not follow the law or common sense. Such judges should be stopped from practicing.