Books By the Judge

Buy any or all of these novels direct from the publisher

The No BS Handbook for Successful Investing

Judge Smith's Handbook proves once again that "good things come in small packages."

An average reader reads about 275 words per minute.

The Handbook contains about 33,000 words. You can finish this book in about TWO HOURS -- the same amount of time required to watch a movie.

120 minutes is a tiny amount of time to invest in acquiring solid information that can forever change your financial life!

Spend just 20 minutes an evening, and you've finished the Handbook in a week!

Your investing the small sum of $14.95 to purchase The No BS Handbook for Successful Investing will pay you large dividends later. The Handbook is worth ten times its price!

Readers of the Handbook will stay ahead of the curve. While Wall Street slept, Judge Smith, a contrarian value investor, invested in a stock that soon doubled in price. He also purchased a mutual fund that recently paid a huge 39% dividend.

You won't have to wait a year to get stale information from some analyst who's interviewed on CNBC. Judge Smith's information comes from a newsletter whose name you will learn if you purchase The No BS Handbook.

The No BS Handbook for Successful Investing is designed to show the reader how they can keep money in their own pocket rather than in the pockets of expensive brokers or greedy corporate managers.

Reviews by readers of The No BS Handbook

* * * * * I read with highlighter in hand, March 8, 2008
By DWallace:

I recently read "The No BS Handbook for Successful Investing" upon the recommendation of a friend. I am not a "financial investor" and ignorant to such matters. So, it was with a bit of skepticism that I began to read. As I read, however, I found myself saying, "ahh, so that's what that means" or "how interesting," or "good to know." Judge Smith passes on his wisdom from personal experiences and trusted resources explaining the whys and wherefores encouraging us to make good financial choices. I found this book very informative with practical financial lessons that I can put in to practice. I read with highlighter in hand, and will be using it many times over as a reference tool. I am also going to buy a copy for my son.

* * * * * A Good Call, March 5, 2008
By Walter W. Crites "Shalaich" (Prescott Valley, Arizona United States):

The Judge has once again offered up an excellent book, but of a different genre. He gets right to the point, and there really is no B.S. I have started following his advice with some moderate success, despite the economic downturn. A good time to get started in the market.

* * * * * Very readable, January 21, 2008
By D. Redl:

"No BS" is suitably named. Peter Smith begins his book by asking his readers to get their financial act together by spending a few weeks getting a sense of their financial situation. Most investing books gloss over this important first step, hoping that somehow they will change their ways after learning the benefits of investing. Instead, Peter Smith asks something from his readers and in exchange offers valuable investing advice and experience. He also focuses his critical, judicial eye in later chapters on the financial media, giving praise to some financial pundits and wondering why people even bother listening to others. A very readable book (I've assigned it to high school students as an introduction to financial instruments), The No BS Handbook for Successful Investing is a great guide to the ever-expanding array of financial instruments available to investors.

* * * * * Solid Investment Advice, January 9, 2008
By Al Ford (Bethesda, MD):

The "No BS Handbook" is a terrific little handbook and is aptly named. It is a very compact collection of common sense advice on a broad range of investment-related subjects such as mutual funds, taxes, retirement plans, etc. Complex tomes have been produced on all these subjects but Pete Smith's handbook focuses on what he considers the essentials without any wasted words or hint of self-promotion. The writing is concise, based on experience, easy to understand and also contains a glossary at the end for anyone who is not sure of the difference between an ETF and an Index Fund. It is also punctuated with humor which again makes it easier and more fun to read than the average money-related book. Another helpful element is Judge Smith's inclusion of examples from his own portfolio that illustrate some of the do's and don'ts of investing. In sum, I highly recommend this handbook for anyone who wants to put in a little work to become a more successful investor.

The Magistrates: A Novel

The Magistrates is the story of an unlikely trio of judges who held court in the late 1960's in a small California judicial district. One judge is a former liberal state legislator who launches his judicial career by "giving away the courthouse." The second judge is a conservative who was formerly a civil trial lawyer. The third judge is an alcoholic. She was a successful trial lawyer whose tactics and demeanor make it unlikely that she will succeed as a judge.

The three judges are engaged in a battle for survival on two fronts. One front is their struggle to keep their heads above water because their calendars are swamped with drug cases. The other front is much more stressful. When they make controversial decisions, the judges are often assailed by politicians on the right and left. Can the judges endure the attacks and be re-elected?

Judge Smith's experience ranges from hearing a death penalty case as a court trial, to presiding over the libel trial of Carol Burnett v. The National Enquirer. Smith wrote The Magistrates because he wanted the public to understand what actually occurs in a courtroom.

Reviews of The Magistrates

"I found The Magistrates an easy and pleasant read. Department One, the Redwood Room, the women's elevator at the Jonathan Club, one-day jury trial, quirks of local Municipal Courts, .15 deuces and $3,500 jury trials brought back many great memories. I even remember the piano/organ bar at Woody and Eddie's--the site of one of the great shoot-outs in the annals of the L.A.S.O [Los Angeles Sheriff's Office]. Keep up the good work. You might just become the John Grisham of the Bench."
--John J. Collins, President, Los Angeles County Bar Association, May 11, 2005

"This suspenseful, racy and riveting book is must reading for judicial aspirants. The Magistrates is based on Smith's real life experiences of 30 years ago on the Alhambra Municipal Court. The novel deals with sexism, racism, alcoholism, and judicial misconduct. Three judges, who are the main characters, are a disparate trio: a conservative, a liberal, and a tough-talking former Army nurse. Judge Smith skewers politicians, insurance companies, lawyers and judges."

"The Magistrates is chock-full of the daily routine of the old municipal courts. We meet 'hypes,' wife-beaters, con artists, victims, shady lawyers, savvy police officers, wise court clerks, prosecutors and meddling politicians. The novel well serves the reader interested in getting a basic education on the law without investing time in class. Judicial readers will also appreciate the characters' steadfast, even courageous, commitment to follow the law and administer justice, a basic idealism, thank goodness, that was very much alive and well in the 1960's."
--Judge Gregory C. O'Brien, Jr., THE BENCH, Autumn 2004

"... a wonderful read. Judge Smith mixes a good story line with technical, legal material in a way that makes the legal material understandable and also part of the fast-paced plot. Smith captures the style that made ex-policeman Joseph Wambaugh so popular as a writer. I recommend this book without reservation."
--Justice Jack Goertzen, Ret.

"Dear Judge Smith, I truly enjoyed The Magistrates. The three main characters were well done. The ending was terrific. I like the villains to get theirs in the end and the good to triumph. I never thought you could write sex scenes--but yet another surprise. It took me back to 1974 when I was a "run Deputy" D.A. for L.A. County where I spent four weeks in Alhambra doing hype cases and DUI's."
--D. Brown (September 12, 2005)

December 21, 2004:

Dear Judge Smith:

Your 30 years of work and experience leading to the novel, The Magistrates, was worthwhile!

The Magistrates brought back fond memories of my early days as a young prosecutor in Los Angeles County's criminal justice system. Even though things are more complicated 3 decades hence, wonderful people who make this system work are alive and well with all of their qualities and inevitable failings.


Steve Cooley
Los Angeles County District Attorney

Review from The Bench

Book review from
THE BENCH, Autumn 2004 edition,
the quarterly journal of
The California Judges Association

By Gregory C. O'Brien, Jr.

Mention the 1960's, and those who lived through them recall the civil rights movement, Vietnam and the Beatles. There are a few judges-mostly retired-who recall the courts of that era as well. Among them is Peter S. Smith, who has completed a book he began 30 years ago, while serving on the Alhambra Municipal Court, named for a busy suburb about 10 miles east of Los Angeles, and a stone's throw south of Pasadena.

Without a hint of nostalgia (though he must have at least a little), Smith has produced an engaging time capsule in the form of a novel called The Magistrates (iUniverse, $18.95, 295 pages). Through the lives of three judges (the author's notes acknowledge them as "composites"), we see California's justice system of that era: proud, profane, hard-drinking, politically incorrect. It was a time, for example, when the judges of Los Angeles Superior Court, from which Smith later retired, disdained the noon-time company of their Los Angeles Municipal Court brethren (note the male form of the noun).

Beyond the arresting social attitudes of the era, however, we also see a judicial system struggling, then as now, to maintain its political independence. As for corruption, none is depicted. Yet, were they on the bench today, each of the three principals might well attract attention from the Commission on Judicial Performance for behavior once considered unexceptional.

The fictitious Mission Judicial District, named for its proximity to the San Gabriel Mission, is a two-MAN bench, soon to be changed by the arrival of successful trial lawyer Christina Jensen, its first female judge. Her new colleagues are former Democratic Assemblyman George Bain and former defense attorney Tyler Scott, a staunch Republican. Despite early friction, the pair has gained one another's respect and affection. Beyond generic misgivings, they are open to being joined by an attractive, single, 49-year old former Army nurse, who can cuss and drink with the best of them. In fact, Jensen's judicial career is nearly stillborn when after one-scotch-too-many she is followed home by a San Marino police officer the night before her first day on the bench.

That incident, along with several robust but ultimately barren trysts, causes Jensen to reassess her life. Here we get to the novel's only moralizing, as Jensen discovers both her genetic predisposition to alcohol as well as the 12-step program, becoming a far better person in the process.

Meanwhile, the matrimonially eligible Bain and Scott could probably benefit from a 12-step program of their own, but survive all the same. Following late-afternoon martinis in chambers, but sometimes before, each finds time for romance with lonely court staff, as well as, in one case, a lithesome deputy district attorney proud of her unladylike charms.

Lest it be presumed that the judicial threesome are preoccupied with drinking and sex, it should be noted that The Magistrates is chock-full of the daily routine of the old municipal courts. The storyline, in fact, is woven around detailed plea bargains, sentencing, small claims cases, arraignments, trials and preliminary hearings. We meet "hypes," wife-beaters, con artists, victims, shady lawyers, savvy police officers, wise court clerks, prosecutors and meddling politicians.

There are discussions of search and seizure, bail versus "O.R." releases, and a multitude of other issues at best vaguely understood by the public. The novel well serves the reader interested in getting a basic education on the law without investing time in class.

Judges will find in such detail that though much has changed, much has also stayed the same. Despite the political insensitivity of the times, judicial readers will also appreciate the characters' steadfast, even courageous, commitment to follow the law and administer justice, a basic idealism, thank goodness, that was very much alive and well in the 1960's.

The Magistrates: Murder at the Rose Bowl (A Novel)

Murder at the Rose Bowl ... the stunning sequel to The Magistrates!

It's Los Angeles in the 1970's.

The Mission Judicial District is shocked when a sniper murders a veteran police detective. A young black man is sent to prison for the crime, but a newspaper reporter relentlessly digs up new facts on the case.

Is the real killer still on the loose?

Reviews of The Magistrates: Murder at the Rose Bowl

"Suspenseful and skillfully written! This book would make an extraordinary movie."
--Steve Cooley, District Attorney, Los Angeles County

"A great read. The reader can obtain a legal education without attending law school."
--Honorable Gregory C. O'Brien, Jr., Judge of the Superior Court, Retired

"A perfect sequel to Smith's award-winning first novel, The Magistrates."
--Leroy Baca, Sheriff, Los Angeles County
Buy any or all of these novels direct from the publisher