(3) Organizations. A judge may participate in and serve as a member, officer, director, trustee, or nonlegal advisor of a nonprofit organization devoted to the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice and may assist such an organization in the management and investment of funds. A judge may make recommendations to public and private fund-granting agencies about projects and programs concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.
17See Self-Represented Litigation Network, “Model Code of Judicial Conduct Provisions on Self-Represented Litigation: Options for Alternative Comment Language Prepared in Support of Potential State Activity in Response to 2012 Resolution 2 of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators” (Williamsburg, Va.: National Center for State Courts, 2013).
Peggy Orenstein is the author of Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids and Life in a Half-Changed World. An award-winning writer and speaker on issues affecting girls and women, she is a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine, and her work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Vogue, Glamour, Mirabella, Details, Elle, Mother Jones, The New Yorker, and other publications. Additionally, she has served as an editor at Esquire, Manhattan inc., 7 Days, and Mother Jones magazines.
The plaintiff — the creditor or debt buyer — ALWAYS has the burden of proof in a debt collection case. This means that the plaintiff has to come up with evidence to prove to the court that (1) the plaintiff has the right to sue you; (2) the debt is yours; and (3) you owe the exact amount of money that the plaintiff claims you owe. You do not have to prove that you do not owe the money. Rather, the plaintiff has to prove that you DO owe the money.
In the constant flurry of change characteristic of capitalism, trust in general certainties is possible even as fixed, particular certainties constantly dissolve. The structures that make this general trust possible also give rise to specific mistrust, since there isn’t anything to fall back upon in most instances other than the generalized laws of the market. This is why impersonal advertising tries to imitate personal connections, simulate homes and families, friendships and sex, to tie the generalized sense of products to a specific sensation. It’s this ambiguous spot that the confidence-man preys upon. There’s a kind of hypocrisy or bad faith that comes out when you’re skeptical of a particular stranger. If you have nice ideas about humanity, how can you justify brushing someone off? You should at least hear them out. And what they’re selling isn’t that expensive—how about two for the price of one—and it was nice to talk to someone, anyone, for a few minutes. The confidence-man is the person you shouldn’t trust who shows you how bad it is that you don’t trust people. The essence of the scam, the false promise of the con man, is this contradiction between trust and mistrust. And in fact, we experience participation in a capitalist society like this all the time, whether we’re blasting our banks for hidden fees or Facebook for changing its appearance. These companies couldn’t care less about us, and yet we place an unjustifiable amount of emotional investment in them, expect loyalty, and then get upset when they treat us as dumb sources of money.
The Connecticut Supreme Court narrowed criminal defendant's right to self representation, stating that "we are free to adopt for mentally ill or mentally incapacitated defendants who wish to represent themselves at trial a competency standard that differs from the standard for determining whether such a defendant is competent to stand trial". A Senior Assistant State's Attorney explained that the new standard essentially allows judges to consider whether the defendants are competent enough to perform the skills needed to defend themselves, including composing questions for voir dire and witnesses.
It can be difficult to decide whether to represent yourself in a child custody or child support hearing. Take the time to give careful consideration to each of the factors mentioned above. Additionally, you should speak to a competent attorney with experience in child custody cases in your state. He or she can help you decide whether filing for custody pro se is a good decision, based on the facts of your case and your individual needs.
Lawyers are necessary outside of traditional litigation, too. Many disputes today are resolved through settlements negotiated outside of court. Even when managed by a professional mediator, the inequality inherent in negotiations between an untrained lay person and a lawyer remains.9 Even when both parties represent themselves, one or the other often unintentionally negotiates away rights or entitlements that are theirs under the law, because they do not know what is due them.10
There are a number of restrictions courts impose on pro se litigation. They include instances in which individuals are unduly disruptive, clearly lacking in knowledge, or have engaged in improper or abusive practices. There is a growing tendency, although occasionally controversial, for courts to proscribe litigation by individuals who repeatedly engage in abusive tactics while litigating pro se. The practice of self-representation or pro se litigation can be either a boon or a bane to litigants.
According to Utah Judicial Council report of 2006, 80 percent of self-represented people coming to the district court clerk's office seek additional help before coming to the courthouse. About 60 percent used the court's Web site, 19 percent sought help from a friend or relative, 11 percent from the court clerk, and 7 percent went to the library. In the justice courts, 59 percent sought no help.
Some experts, like John Pollock with the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, have focused on expanding the right to counsel in civil cases implicating basic human needs. Others have advocated for expansion of the right to counsel in lower-level criminal cases where the consequences – including obstacles to housing or employment, or deportation – can still be incredibly high.
In New Hampshire one party is pro se in 85% of all civil cases in the district court and 48% of all civil cases in the superior court in 2004. In probate court, both sides are unrepresented by lawyers in 38% of cases. In superior court domestic relations cases, almost 70% of cases have one pro se party, while in district court domestic violence cases, 97% of the cases have one pro se party.