WOW eNewsletter

Vol 2 Iss 3 Mar 2007

Quote of the Month

"Just" or "right" means nothing but what is in the interest of the stronger party. -- Plato (429 BC - 347 BC: The Republic)

Civil Law Advice Is Available

As I start this month's musing I am sitting in the lobby of the Clearwater courthouse. I pray that you never find yourself dealing with 'the system'. We are taught as children that our legal system is fair and just but I can assure you it is as warped as they come. Although the court promises that you are innocent until proven guilty the fact of the matter is until you are proven innocent you are guilty and most likely will end up giving all of your hard earned savings and often future earnings to prove your innocence. This is what has happened to me.

With more attorneys per capita than anywhere else in the world there is always one available to take a frivolous case and your money. The greatest amount of money they collect is in passing documents back and forth unless and until you go to trial. For a one day trial you could spend $10,000.00; not bad for a day's work if you can get it.

After four years my resources have been drained and I have been dealing with this on my own. I am quickly learning the filing procedures however this language they use is totally foreign. For example, the courts call representing yourself, pro-se and frown on you for not having counsel. At least they did to me until I told them I lost my attorney when I ran out of money.

Recently I found out about a legal assistance project that provides bi-weekly access to an attorney. So here I sit, twice each week, in the courthouse lobby sometimes two hours waiting for the chance that I will be one of the first six or eight people in line. They don't provide counsel for civil cases but they always tell me it is a complicated case and that I really need to hire an attorney. What a vicious circle I am stuck in!

With their instruction I have faced the opposition's Request For Summary Judgement Hearing and had it denied. So there is still hope that the truth will come out. At the hearing the judge ordered us to attend court ordered mediation. If that ever happens to you don’t let the opposing counsel book your mediator or you may find yourself with a bill that is twice as big as it has to be. The Plaintiff's attorney, in my case, scheduled a mediator at $300 per hour with an estimated three hours plus one hour of preparation time. That means that both the Plaintiff and the Defendant are saddled with a $600 bill, plus she has three hours of attorney time on top of that probably at the same rate or close to it anyway. When I spoke with the legal assistance project's attorney they informed me that the court could provide a mediator for half that fee and if yours is a family law case it would cost a mere $20.00.

So if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to defend yourself in legal proceedings I highly recommend you seek out your local legal assistance project. Defend yourself if you must, but know you don't have to go it alone.

© Copyright 2007 Ginger Marks


Tip for Success

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