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?
There is every reason to believe that the number of pro se litigants involved in litigation in federal and state courts will continue to rise in the coming years, especially given the courts’ focus on increasing access to pro se parties. Along with this increase, the challenges facing the judicial system and trial counsel involving unrepresented parties will continue to rise, requiring increasingly careful consideration. However, armed with the best practices, trial counsel can help alleviate some of the challenges both sides of the aisle face.
In an ideal world, every defendant in a debt collection lawsuit would be represented by a lawyer. Practically speaking, however, most low income New Yorkers who have been sued over a debt will be unable to obtain free legal representation. And hiring a private attorney will often cost almost as much, if not more than, the debt itself. Unfortunately, most low income New Yorkers have no choice but to represent themselves in court.
Do I have a basic understanding of the required court documents? Mounds of documents can be very intimidating to a lot of people, legal officials included. Parents considering pro se representation should become familiar with various types of family law documents. Again, become friendly with the court clerk and ask for his or her help identifying the correct forms, where to get them, when they are due, and how they should be submitted.
A fellow advocate member of DAC, our advocacy group, filed her Pro Se in Federal District Court, after waiting and waiting for DOJ to respond. She lives on a low fixed income, and was able to waive the filing fee. Within a week, she received her notification of receipt that her case is now pending in federal court. At the same time she received notification that the inaccessible business was being served the complaint by a federal marshal. Shortly after that, she received a letter from the attorney for the inaccessible business stating that they wanted to settle out of court. Of course!! We settled for full compliance with the ADA.
Experimenters remained blind to participants’ affirmation condition during the experimental session, following procedures as in Study 1. Following procedures from recent self-compassion research (Leary et al., 2007, Study 4), participants arrived at the lab one-at-a-time for a study they believed explored the influence of adults’ moods on story telling. After providing written informed consent, participants completed individual difference baseline measures, including trait self-compassion (Neff, 2003b; Raes et al., 2011). Specifically, participants completed the 12-item Self-Compassion Scale – Short Form, which measures the frequency of self-compassionate feelings on a day to day basis (anchored 1 = almost never to 5 = almost always). Items were averaged to form a composite measure of trait self-compassion, with negative items reverse-scored (α = 0.86; Neff, 2003b; Raes et al., 2011). Trait self-compassion was embedded among two other exploratory baseline questionnaires: the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) Extraversion subscale (Costa and McCrae, 1992), and the Dispositional Positive Emotions Scale (DPES) Compassion subscale (Shiota et al., 2006). Then, following existing procedures for testing compassionate feelings (Leary et al., 2007, Study 4), participants were videotaped while telling an extemporaneous children’s story beginning with, “Once upon a time, there was a little bear…” for 90 s. Participants, who believed we were collecting pilot data for an unrelated study, next completed a 3-min self-affirmation or control writing exercise as described in Study 1. Additionally, participants completed a 4-item manipulation check (α = 0.97) assessing whether the writing exercise was important to their self-identity. Specifically, participants rated the personal importance of the value they wrote about on a 6-point Likert scale (strongly disagree – strongly agree; i.e., “This value is an important part of who I am;” “In general, I try to live up to this value”).
Our present findings suggest that self-affirmation may increase feelings of self-compassion, and that self-compassion may be a promising new mechanism for a potentially broad range of self-affirmation effects. More research is needed, but the present research provides an initial suggestion that affirming an important personal value increases feelings of self-compassion for mobilizing a pro-social self.
Deference to the judgments and rulings of courts depends on public confidence in the integrity and independence of judges. The integrity and independence of judges depend in turn on their acting without fear or favor. Although judges should be independent, they must comply with the law and should comply with this Code. Adherence to this responsibility helps to maintain public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary. Conversely, violation of this Code diminishes public confidence in the judiciary and injures our system of government under law.
One never steps into the same society twice? In this assembly of strangers, a man one meets one day will in all likelihood never be seen again. It’s a world of anonymity, shifting identity, and, because of this, mistrust. In a close-knit community, neighbors might think nothing of owing each other debts to be repaid at some indefinite point in the future, but not so much on a moving ship.
Some pro se litigants who are federal prisoners are subject to the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has asserted: ""For over thirteen years, the Prison Litigation Reform Act has denied access to the courts to countless prisoners who have become victims of abuse, creating a system of injustice that denies redress for prisoners alleging serious abuses, barriers that don't apply to anyone else. It is time for Congress to pass legislation to restore the courts as a needed check on prisoner abuse." 54% of judges responding to a Federal Judicial Conference survey use videoconferences for prisoner pro se hearings.:29