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Oh, just go get a damn lawyer.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Oh, just go get a damn lawyer....
I don't care if it's me. In at least one of these stories, it couldn't be; I represent Ye Other Side. But it's a small price to pay compared to what you're losing out on by going DIY.

Noon yesterday: I had a simple hearing to confirm somebody's bankruptcy plan affecting a client. That went fine, except for the intervention of Somebody Else before my case was called, who was representing herself.  She was slow, and long-winded, and was the absolute embodiment of Meghan from Key and Peele. When the judge explained that her case, filed in May, could not be reinstated because everything had to be filed by early July? Time after time, she said exactly, and in the exact voice as Meghan:


She went on for close to 20 minutes, with a full calendar of people waiting behind her. Didn't notice; didn't care. The court's website (actually, every similar bankruptcy court website) states that unrepresented debtors "are expected to follow the rules and procedures in federal courts and should be familiar with the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and the local rules of the court in which the case is filed," but in reality, judges are incredibly patient with pro se's in giving them every benefit of the doubt and opportunity to make a record before doing what the law requires them to do.

In the end, I got my case resolved as far as it could be, and got back to my car before the Parking Violations Bureau could get a hold of me. They don't treat lawyers any differently, in theory or in practice.


Yesterday then ended, though, with the Admitted Attorney Striking Back.

I don't do criminal cases, except the most minor of traffic infractions. For them, I'm clear: I can do no better than you would do yourself, but I can do it a lot quicker, thanks to the internal biases afforded to represented defendants.

The perp, in this case,was a friend, and son of friend, of long standing. He was due in a nearby town's court at 5:30 last night. I told him to be there closer to 5- and he was.  But he was in an already-formed queue stretching from the court's entrance to the perimeter of the town dump.

I saw him in line, and said, watch this. Like magic, I bypassed the hoi poloi, cleared security with a wave of my court ID, and had his case jumped to Number One on the docket. (Other lawyers did the same, but got numbers more like 5 and 12 because they weren't half an hour early.)  I felt guiltier than the fastest speeder in the room, but it made up for  Okayyyyyyy Lady and then some:)


That got us to this afternoon- Small Claims part of City Court, where the truth goes to die.

::cue People's Court theme::

This is the plaintiff. He claims that workers at his house stole stuff from him in June, and he then realized six months later that they stole more stuff. He's suing for Five Thousand Dollars.

::clickety-clack, more da-dum-DUMs::

This is the defendant. He denies anything was stolen before his workers left the repair site, and further denies that they snuck back six months later- and while he already credited the guy with $800 for the first alleged theft just to be nice, since he's been hauled into court anyway, he wants his $800 back, as well.

Dude was unrepresented. Dude had no receipts, or witnesses, or anything other than his "belief" that my guy's guys stole his stuff.  Dude also admitted that my guy's contract expressly disclaimed theft claims. Even better, Dude submitted exhibits showing that his own insurance already paid him for the replacement value of most of the allegedly stolen stuff.  Best of all, though? One of his receipts for an item allegedly stolen between January and June of 2014? Was purchased in October- and not reported as stolen until December.

Judge Wapner is taking a short break and will come back and give us his decision. I presume he and Rusty are trying not to be too undecorous about the whole business. (And yes, I could lose the whole damn case despite this, and I am risking the karma by posting this.) But this is SOOOO not Okayyyyyyy.
4 comments or Leave a comment
andrewducker From: andrewducker Date: October 8th, 2015 07:17 am (UTC) (Link)
That was fascinating. What happened?!?!?
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: October 8th, 2015 04:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, they don't tell us on the spot. Even defaults, they mail the results- too many small claims litigants learned their skills from watching afternoon TV- including the fistfights. This court even puts the plaintiffs and defendants in separate waiting rooms.

I did just get an email telling me the case was disposed- but it didn't say what the disposition was. I have my guess ready, but I'm not tempting the karma any more than I already have.
weebleswobble From: weebleswobble Date: October 9th, 2015 11:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
i might have to put key and peele on my netflix list. that was hilarious.

i have to say i use the word 'dude' like they use the word okay. i have a few silly old affects from the 80's i cant shake... is affects the right word? that sounds wrong. affectations?

my few experiences in actual court mostly involved standing there as politely and respectfully as i could and saying as few words as possible. mostly just yes sir or no sir. i knew i was guilty (dui). if i'd wanted to defend myself i'd have hired a lawyer. i hired a disability lawyer when applying for SSDI because they know what they're doing and I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT!!! and i'm not going to pretend that i do.

i wonder how many cases like that dude case the judges see every day.
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: October 10th, 2015 12:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm convinced that most judges hear more lies in the course of a week than I've heard in 30-plus years in the system. Most of them have gotten good at identifying them, but as with everything, there are exceptions.
4 comments or Leave a comment