A THRIVING CAREER
Peter Singer is in his eighth year as a San Diego Superior Court Commissioner, a judicial officer who presides over Superior Court proceedings in public, open courtrooms. Court Commissioners perform many of the same functions as Superior Court Judges. Commissioner Singer wears the same black robe as a Judge, has undergone the same training as a Superior Court Judge and handles over 100 matters each week in a very busy courthouse!
Peter Singer has distinguished himself while serving on the Superior Court bench. He is among a small number of California judicial bench officers who have been selected to teach New Judge Orientation, a required training program for all new Judges and Commissioners. In addition, Commissioner Singer actively serves on the faculty of California's Judicial College, where he teaches new Judges and Commissioners in their mandatory advanced training.
In 2019, in recognition of his excellence on the bench and his service to the community, Commissioner Singer was selected by his statewide colleagues to be honored as California's Court Commissioner of the Year. In 2020, the quality of his judicial performance was recognized again, when he was elected to the position of President of the California Court Commissioners Association, a role that he continues to fill.
Courtesy, patience, respect, good judgment, intelligence, neutrality, and courage to do the right thing.
THESE are the qualities of an outstanding Judge! Commissioner Peter Singer practices and exhibits these talents daily. He understands that he is in the people business and conducts himself with that foundational understanding always in mind. He recognizes that he is there to serve the public and it is not about him. When dealing with difficult individuals, he is not interested in achieving a symbolic victory.
He has a calming demeanor, is exceptionally patient, always permitting litigants and attorneys a full and complete opportunity to be heard, yet always able to handle all of his cases in a timely manner. Commissioner Singer has outstanding judicial temperament and is never rattled by what may be taking place in the courtroom.
In dealing with self-represented litigants, many of whom are homeless, mentally ill or drug-addicted, Commissioner Singer remains mindful of the challenges some have in finding their way to court, whether they are sacrificing a day of work, overcoming transportation problems or needing childcare in order to access the justice system.
Even though severe penalties are handed out to some defendants, they often thank Commissioner Singer for the respect and patience he has exhibited in handling their cases. These are the traits of an outstanding Judge.
Since his appointment to the bench as a Commissioner in 2015, Commissioner Singer’s primary role has been the handling of minor crimes, known as infractions, as well as small claims cases. The infractions include beach, transit, animal, homeless, quality of life and traffic violations. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was called upon to also handle unlawful detainer (eviction) real estate matters in the Downtown Hall of Justice. Since 2015, Commissioner Singer has presided over thousands of cases. In the majority of these cases, most people represented themselves without an attorney. As a result, Commissioner Singer has been the face of the Court, exhibiting patience, understanding and courtesy, for thousands of San Diego County residents.
In addition to completing the required New Judge Orientation, Judicial College and Primary Assignment Orientation, all of which he currently instructs, Commissioner Singer has taken many additional optional trainings to better enable him to perform in his role and to also qualify him to teach his Judge colleagues.
In recognition of his exemplary service and value to the judicial branch, Commissioner Singer is one of only two Court Commissioners appointed by the Chief Justice to serve on the Judicial Council’s Traffic Advisory Committee.
Prior to coming to the bench full-time in 2015, Commissioner Singer was a solo practitioner attorney for 28 years. During 22 of those years, he served the Court as a temporary (pro tem) judge. In that role, Commissioner Singer presided over thousands of trials in Kearny Mesa and El Cajon, involving criminal infractions and small claims.
In his former legal practice, Commissioner Singer’s emphasis was on civil law, which included business and collection litigation, real estate litigation, probate, mental health, personal injury and wrongful death. He was often engaged by out-of-town law firms to handle their trial work in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
YEARS OF VOLUNTEER SERVICE IN THE COMMUNITY
Commissioner Singer began a path of community volunteerism at an early age, and that spirit of giving back to the community continues today.
Here are some examples:
Volunteer firefighter during high school and college.
Founding Director for the Mira Mesa/Scripps Ranch RSVP Foundation.
San Diego CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and Disaster Services Worker.
San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program representing SSI appellants.
Free legal representation to wildfire victims.
Organized several picnics for San Diego Blind Recreation Center.
Annual volunteer for the Lions Invitational High School Baseball Tournament.
Five-year volunteer troop cookie manager for San Diego/Imperial Girl Scout Council.
Volunteer director and president of Lions Welfare Foundation, a charitable granting organization.
Current president of non-profit Lions Community Service Corporation, owner/operator of a 131-unit low-income housing community in Downtown San Diego.
Instrumental in negotiating the creation of the Shiley Institute-San Diego Lions Biobank for Sight.
Annual service as a Judge in the San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition.
Providing Constitutional Law lessons to elementary and middle school students in the Judges In The Classroom program.