If a jury disagrees with a law, it's allowed to exercise a right known as jury nullification.
However, what about civil cases (e.g., in a Superior Court in California) that are presided by a judge alone, with neither plaintiff nor defendant selecting a jury trial?
Is the judge allowed to nullify laws?
For example, I recall that in unlawful detainer cases in California that arise out of defects in the premises, if a jury gives a verdict that defects are substantiated, the landlord basically loses the whole case entirely (I think it has to do with defendants being judgement-proof and simply not paying the rent), even though the defects might be rather minor compared to the overall issues at stake. However, the jury is specifically prohibited from being instructed about such stakes! However, knowing what he knows, can the judge still be objective, or would he have to recuse himself out of fear of showing prejudice? Can he require the litigants to have a proper jury, including the associated fees, even though the case is supposedly eligible for a judge-only trial, too? How would it affect a potential appeal?
Likewise, California statutes require that a 3-day notice preceding the UD has to specify the exact amount of rent (e.g., cannot include random fees). Is the judge allowed to show prejudice against mistakes in said amount?