Sanders appeared on the appointed day with the Return of Service and the defendant did not show up in court. Rule 360 requires that the court grant a default judgment to the Plaintiff if the return of service is filed and the defendant fails to appear.
Magistrate Claire Mootz then made the plaintiff produce license, registration and insurance. Clearly, it was not the magistrate's place to conduct a trial challenging the charges. Rather, this is something the defendant would do if he cared enough to show up.
Finding that two digits of the VIN number on the registration was transposed on the insurance card, Magistrate Mootz ordered the Plaintiff to get a corrected insurance card and then she set another hearing date and required the Plaintiff to notice the defendant of the new date.
Since when can a judge or magistrate challenge the issues in a case for a defendant who doesn't even bother to appear as summoned? By doing so Claire Mootz violated the law by acting on behalf of the absent defendant and grossly impeded the flow of justice.
Plaintiff objected loudly and reminded Magistrate Mootz that she was sua sponte "practicing law from the bench" and violating Rule 360 by not entering default. Several people in the courtroom applauded the Plaintiff for standing up to this arrogant magistrate who ignored the law. WIth that Magistrate Mootz assumed a Judge Judy pose and stated: "Denied, this case will be reset."
The Plaintiff appeared on the reset date, again having to take time off from work, and once again the Defendant failed to appear. But no matter there was another god of the universe in charge on that day, Magistrate Catherine Cary. Plaintiff Sanders again motioned for a default judgment. Magistrate Cary said she didn't "feel right" entering judgment without the defendant being present.
Sanders was livid at this abrogation of judicial responsibility and then went to Chief Judge Raymond Satter. Judge Satter ordered the lesser god, Magistrate Catherine Cary, to enter the judgment then and there. However, Sanders lost extra time from work needlessly and the defendant incurred expenses that would not have been added to the judgment if the magistrates had done their duty under the rules in the first place.
Instead of entering a default judgment against the properly served and non-appearing party, as required, Magistrates Claire Mootz and Catherine Cary kept saying the defendant needed another chance to respond to the complaint. Finally, with a complaint to Chief Judge Satter, the judgment was entered.