IAALS recently released two new reports focused on the experiences of self-represented litigants in the family court system. Cases Without Counsel: Research on Experiences of Self-Representation in U.S. Family Court which explores the issues from the litigants' perspective. Cases Without Counsel: Our Recommendations after Listening to the Litigants outlines recommendations for courts, legal service providers, and communities to best serve self-represented litigants in family cases.
(4) A judge should comply with the restrictions on acceptance of gifts and the prohibition on solicitation of gifts set forth in the Judicial Conference Gift Regulations. A judge should endeavor to prevent any member of the judge’s family residing in the household from soliciting or accepting a gift except to the extent that a judge would be permitted to do so by the Judicial Conference Gift Regulations. A “member of the judge’s family” means any relative of a judge by blood, adoption, or marriage, or any person treated by a judge as a member of the judge’s family.
While judges supporting civil legal services often cite the lofty ideals of equal justice and assisting the disadvantaged, maintaining an efficient and neutral system is also a motivation. Codes of judicial ethics require judges to be impartial and neutral.16 But neutrality is not the same as passivity. Judges are permitted “to make reasonable accommodations to ensure pro se litigants the opportunity to have their matters fairly heard.”17 Yet judges worry about appearances: they are concerned that assisting an unrepresented litigant will make them seem to be taking sides, forsaking their neutrality.18 This concern has led judges to recuse themselves from cases after they have provided assistance to unrepresented litigants.19
23Lorelei Laird, “Judges Reflect on Dealing with Difficult Pro Se Litigants,” ABA Journal, July 31, 2015 [LINK]; Arkansas Access to Justice Commission, “Survey of Arkansas Circuit Court Judges Regarding Self-Represented [Pro Se] Litigants” (Little Rock: Little Rock Access to Justice Commission, 2008) [LINK]; and Allen Baddour, “Civil Pro Se Litigants,” October 2010 [LINK].
The United States judicial system is designed to be adversarial, to resolve disputes of fact and law before a neutral judge.1 The premise of the system is that each party in a court case is capable of understanding and using the law, since each must present the law and the facts to the judge. An effective adversarial system requires the presence of legally trained experts, typically lawyers, on both sides of a case.
A judge who is retired under 28 U.S.C. § 371(b) or § 372(a) (applicable to Article III judges), or who is subject to recall under § 178(d) (applicable to judges on the Court of Federal Claims), or who is recalled to judicial service, should comply with all the provisions of this Code except Canon 4F, but the judge should refrain from judicial service during the period of extrajudicial appointment not sanctioned by Canon 4F. All other retired judges who are eligible for recall to judicial service (except those in U.S. territories and possessions) should comply with the provisions of this Code governing part-time judges. However, bankruptcy judges and magistrate judges who are eligible for recall but who have notified the Administrative Office of the United States Courts that they will not consent to recall are not obligated to comply with the provisions of this Code governing part-time judges. Such notification may be made at any time after retirement, and is irrevocable. A senior judge in the territories and possessions must comply with this Code as prescribed by 28 U.S.C. § 373(c)(5) and (d).
When we get looped into living the same reel of life over and over again, it's hard to feel like we're accomplishing anything. Accomplishments--or at least the image of self-growth--are an easy way to boost our self-confidence. Combat this issue by challenging yourself with foreign circumstances. How you handle them--and how you excel--just might surprise you.
The judge in my case offered an angry and dismissive "Here we go!" when I argued that he must liberally construe the allegations in my complaint, as the 1972 Supreme Court precedent Haines v. Kerner dictates. He also disregarded the court's own local rules by denying my right to conduct my own voir dire of the prospective jurors, simply because I was proceeding pro se. He berated me in open court for my refusal to retain an attorney, and condescendingly informed me that he didn't think I would prevail at the trial. At various points, including when he urged me to accept the defendant's settlement offer, I felt he was trying to intimidate me simply because I chose to represent myself.
My question is: Can I serve my soon to be ex-wife a Discovery request even though I’m pro se and representing myself? I was served with a request from her attorney after our hearing for temporary alimony and child support and I want to counter act with a request as well. Her attorney is taking full advantage of my pro se circumstances and incompetent knowledge of divorce law as she should. I don’t want this to be an easy win for her when I have evidence that can work in my favor. I just need to find the best way to get it in front of the judge without being bullied in the court room. I don’t know my rights as a pro se litigant and I need as much advice as possible. I picked up her financial affidavit from the clerks office and she’s leaving out a lot of income that needs to be uncovered in my case. The issue is being overwhelmed by all of her attorney deadlines and demands which sidetracks my course of action to respond in my defense appropriately.
Researching a business’s financial situation is a bit trickier than a person, but there are still things you can do. Drive past the business. If it is a retail establishment, restaurant, or store, are there people going in and out? Does it appear to be relatively successful? Does it own any equipment, vehicles, or merchandise? Does it have a legitimate website and social media presence? Read any reviews or articles you find relating to that business.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees criminal defendants the right to representation by counsel. In 1975, the Supreme Court held that the structure of the Sixth Amendment necessarily implies that a defendant in a state criminal trial has a constitutional right to proceed without counsel when he voluntarily and intelligently elects to do so. See Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975). Thus, an unwilling defendant may not be compelled by the State to accept the assistance of a lawyer. A defendant's right to self-represenatation in federal criminal proceedings is codified in 28 U.S.C. § 1654.
The current work was inspired by the work of Crocker et al. (2008) suggesting that self-affirmation may increase feelings of love and social connection. Building on previous studies suggesting that feelings of love and compassion may foster helping behavior (Mikulincer et al., 2005; Piff et al., 2010), Study 1 tests the prediction that self-affirmation will increase feelings of self-compassion, which in turn will increase pro-social behavior. Although no previous studies have tested self-compassion as a mechanism, one recent developmental psychology study suggests that self-affirmation can increase pro-social feelings and teacher-rated behaviors among adolescent students, particularly among students who displayed higher levels of antisocial behavior (Thomaes et al., 2012). Another set of studies showed that self-affirmation increased pro-social behavior only when paired with feelings of moral elevation (Schnall and Roper, 2012). These studies suggest that self-affirmation may impact pro-social behavior through multiple and possibly yet unidentified processes. In Study 2, we test the specificity of the self-compassion account by testing whether self-affirmation increases feelings of compassion toward the self (self-compassion) as opposed to fostering feelings of compassion toward a stranger (other-directed compassion), using a validated behavioral task of self-compassion (Leary et al., 2007, Study 4).
Don’t you think consistency requires that you should either say ‘I have confidence in all men,’ and take down your notification; or else say, ‘I suspect all men,’ and keep it up."...To say that strangers are not to be trusted, does not that imply something like saying that mankind is not to be trusted; for the mass of mankind, are they not necessarily strangers to each individual man?
Ted Bundy, a man convicted of murdering 3 women, and suspected of murdering 30 more, chose to represent himself on and off during two separate murder trials in Florida. Bundy appeared pro se at several hearings at the beginning of his 1979 murder trial, which was the first nationally televised trial in U.S. history. Many people believed Bundy’s insistence on taking the reins of his defense as a pro se litigant on many occasions to be hubris, as he believed he was more intelligent than investigators, prosecutors, and even defense attorneys on the case.
Pro Se One Stop Legal Document Services, LLC is a non-lawyer document preparation service dedicated to saving you time and money with your legal matters and helping you to avoid unnecessary attorney’s fees. We are not attorneys and we do not offer legal advice, but we do provide high quality legal document preparation services with a high attention to detail in various areas, predominantly family and civil matters. We are conscientious of our customer’s unique, individual needs and differing scenarios.
One last word on this topic: Just because a person or business is broke does not necessarily mean pursuing a judgment is pointless. The future is uncertain. A person can eventually inherit money, start a successful business, or sell off property. Depending on the state, judgments may be valid for 10-20 years, and can often be renewed. The big question is: How long are you willing to wait to recover your money… if ever?
Although Canon 2C relates only to membership in organizations that invidiously discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion or national origin, a judge’s membership in an organization that engages in any invidiously discriminatory membership practices prohibited by applicable law violates Canons 2 and 2A and gives the appearance of impropriety. In addition, it would be a violation of Canons 2 and 2A for a judge to arrange a meeting at a club that the judge knows practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin in its membership or other policies, or for the judge to use such a club regularly. Moreover, public manifestation by a judge of the judge’s knowing approval of invidious discrimination on any basis gives the appearance of impropriety under Canon 2 and diminishes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, in violation of Canon 2A.
Check to see if you qualify for a fee waiver that would allow you to proceed without paying any (or some) court fees. Every jurisdiction is different, but this usually involves filing an application or motion to waive fees, which a judge then reviews and makes a ruling. You will likely need to produce evidence showing that you cannot afford to pay court fees (e.g., affidavit, declaration, bills, bank statements, etc.).
I would never say never and anything is possible in court. But I would say that it really hurts your chances a LOT. There are so many things that could go wrong or you might have an opportunity to win, but not recognize it because you do not know what to look for. If it is worth it to fight this, it is probably worth hiring an attorney. I am sorry to be the bearer of discouraging news. But litigation is always complicated and yours sounds more complex than normal.
Trial attorneys who are not mindful of the psychological and sociological elements at play when litigating against pro se parties risk exacerbating an already difficult situation by increasing the likelihood of protracted and unfocused litigation, appealable procedural missteps, and unmanaged expectations. Thus, at the outset of the lawsuit, an attorney facing a pro se opponent should make every effort to determine what is motivating the litigation (e.g., hurt feelings, anger, unmitigated expectations) and, if possible, the reason for the lack of representation. Throughout the pretrial process and during trial, a primary objective of counsel should be to strategically allow the pro se litigant to air his or her grievances in such a way as to limit the scope of triable issues while still being satisfied with his or her day in court.
Some federal courts of appeals allow unrepresented litigants to argue orally (even so nonargument disposition is still possible), and in all courts the percentage of cases in which argument occurs is higher for counseled cases. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court adopted a rule that all persons arguing orally must be attorneys, although the Supreme Court claims it was simply codifying a "long-standing practice of the court." The last non-attorney to argue orally before the Supreme Court was Sam Sloan in 1978.