Inequity in the Court Room
This paper was last updated on Thursday, November 07, 2013
Anyone who rejects false allegations, faces major expenses resulting from trial, diversion costs, and risks losing citizenship rights. Many judges are former prosecutors and became judges based on their conviction rates. These persons often maintain ties with the District Attorney's office. Many attorneys bargain with prosecutors to resolve a case in the face of solid evidence of innocence and often those same attorneys become prosecutors and judges. So one might opine that Judges do not follow the law, they follow public opinion.
In Actual Innocence, the authors made the point that criminal convictions of law enforcement officials "could cost local taxpayers a small fortune." So diversion programs are a way that prosecutors avoid embarrassing public trials. Purportedly, these programs allow the falsely accused to avoid the stigma of conviction and a permanent criminal record. However this forced admission (a Fifth Amendment violation) becomes a part of the record and may preclude the right to a trial or appeal.
Jury trials are expensive and under the economic realities of no home or employment and no way to pay, could make a guilty verdict more likely. The real evidence is that your wife has your possessions, your money, and the courts allow her to do anything she wants. So always demand a jury trial because twelve votes of guilty are much harder to obtain from a jury who understands the case than one guilty decision from a biased judge. The state does not reimburse the falsely accused for their legal expenses and loss of income and the state rarely punishes those who had lied. These proceedings allow a judge to evict a man from his home without his possessions, funds, or shelter. Do not hesitate to disqualify anyone who is biased against you.
No one should have to tolerate criminal conduct by court officers and court house employees. Alteration of transcripts and court records is criminal conduct and is always grounds for disqualification and change of venue. Complaints of unreadable copies of court records are common. Accept only certified copies made from the original top paper on the same day that you signed it. When the paper is not what you signed (someone added or deleted something), note it in your private journal and complain to the chief clerk and the presiding judge. At the same time, file a criminal complaint with the sheriff's department or the appropriate law enforcement agency. If no one takes positive action, file a complaint with the agency that oversees the court system in your jurisdiction.
Always ask for a list of questions that each attorney and the judge may ask. The reason for a judicial hearing and one's own testimony is to present the facts without fictitious additions or guesswork. So you might not get it but at least you are on record requesting it. This list gives you an opportunity to study the questions and gather the material supporting your answers. Be sure to bring this material to the hearing because the attorneys and the judge may want to examine it. Nothing is better than an actual document that shows the truth.
Examine The Papers Before You Sign Them
Some jurisdictions use ‘carbonless’ paper technology, where subsequent papers are coated with a chemical that does imprint a copy of what was written or typed on the top form. This is an impact and pressure technology that insures that the last copy is not as clear as the original. This not the only problem, by inserting an impact shield, such as the back of a clipboard or a sheet of any hard substance, the remaining copies may not reflect the original paper. These papers come in sets of one or more copies. The copy can be altered by placing a false sheet or sheets in front of it and behind it. It is possible to isolate a particular sheet from the rest of the copy set by folding back. I object to this technology not only that it runs counter to the ‘Best Evidence’ rules and the chemicals in 'carbonless' paper technology do affect human health.
Every paper must be an original or an exact copy. Reject any paper that is contains a false or misleading statement or check box. Reject any paper that
Print NA over all empty check boxes and line-out text beside it.
For example, [NA]
is an example of text beside a check box.
Fill blank spaces and lines among texts using one of the following examples.
To preclude anyone from changing an attachment page to an order, put '/LAST ITEM/' at the end of the last statement in the order. Example: The petitioner shall provide the respondent with the utility bills and mortgage statement for the family dwelling at 874 Brook Lane, Granite Hills, California. /LAST ITEM/.
Do not volunteer information. What you know is asset that can be used against the other side. The other side is not interested in helping you, they are only interested in depriving you of your possessions, assets, time, and freedom.
Say only the truth. Do not argue with the interrogator. If the questioner is rude, let your attorney or the judge react. You are there to testify truthfully and clearly, not to engage in a contest with the opposing counsel. When you do not understand a question, say "I do not understand the question, could you be more specific?" When repetitively asked a question that you do not understand, say "I am not sure what you are asking, could you come back to this later?" When asked about something that you do not know, say "I do not know."
When asked a question whose answer you cannot not recall with certainty, do not guess! When you have brought the material that pertains to the question, examine the material, give your answer, and present the material. When you have not brought the material with you and know that it pertains to the question, reply with "I have material that pertains to this question and it is not here today since the expected extent of this hearing did not require it." This is the reason for having a list of questions before the hearing occurs. If you did ask the attorney for a list of questions before the hearing, you might add "This is the reason that I asked you for a list of questions before this hearing." Never answer any question with "I can't recall." That answer implies that the person should know but refuses to answer the question.
Sometimes a lawyer gets too close to you. When you feel uncomfortable with a person's proximity to you, ask the judge to have the person remain seated or, at least, keep their distance. A certain amount of travel by an attorneys in a courtroom is unavoidable but there is no reason for them to leave their chairs to ask a question. An overhead projector can reduce extraneous travel and help ensure that everyone is looking at the same document or exhibit without you handling it. Some lawyers get so close that that they block your view and the jury cannot see you or the lawyer. The jury should be able to observe the lawyer's expressions and demeanor and your own. They can not do these things when a lawyer's backside blocks their view.
Some lawyers deliberately cause to pace of the direct or cross examination to speed up rapidly. This is a trick to lull the witness into mistakenly making a false statement. This tactic is not only directed at the witness but it also used to deceive the court reporter, the judge, the jury, and the public. When an attorney is speeding up the tempo by asking questions rapidly, slow your response and allow your lawyer time to object. Take more time to formulate an answer and then reply at a comfortable tempo. Break the interrogator's pace. Take all the time you need to give a truthful and exact answer. When an attorney fails to slow and match your pace, ask the judge for a break. That is your right.
Yes/No Questions are used to force a witness to validate the another version of what occurred. You are there to testify to the truth and not to verify another person's version. When a lawyer insists on a yes-no format and the judge supports this format, inform the court that a yes-no format encourages errors and that you are entitled to answer any question in a way that best conveys the truth. Never Answer a Question With a Single Word or Phrase. When you are on the witness stand, face the questioner and listen to the question. Then reply with at least a complete sentence. Never ever reply with a single word or phrase. The reason for this is that it is easier to alter the audio part of a transcript with single word or phrase answers.
Rapid 'yes - no' questions lead to errors in recall. A dishonest attorney (who insist rapid 'yes' or 'no' responses) will ask a series of questions that where the truthful answer is yes. Then the attorney will ask a question where 'no' is the true answer. The witness says 'no' but people in the courtroom hear 'yes' because the 'no' is buried in the flurry of yeses. A variation of this phenomena, is that the witness is so used to answering 'yes' may respond with 'yes' when 'no' was the truthful response. That is why the witness must control the pace. The following example illustrates the impact of a series of one word 'yes' answers may have on those in the courtroom. In this example, Smith had answered 'yes' to seven questions in a row. Repetitive short phrase or word responses are prone to witness and reporter error. Complete sentences tell the story "I visited the Hall residence on June 3, 1999 and I did not see Mr. Hall."
I dislike repeated questions because it is rude and abusive. Repetitive questioning means that the interrogator does not like your answers and wants to impeach or change your testimony. I recall the arrogance of some lawyers in the O. J. Simpson criminal trial where the testimony dragged on for months. Some of this was due to 'showboating' and screen time. Most of the delay was caused by tedious repetitive questioning that lead to juror fatigue. I cannot imagine what went through the juror's minds. I have the distinct impression, that the exposition of the truth took last place to the bloated egos that tried this case. If an attorney has been wasting time by patronizing the jury, the jurors may appreciate your candor. After all, parking fees at lots around some courthouses far exceed the amount that people receive for jury duty. I have done some public speaking - mostly impromptu. My experience has been that people remember concise well-connected statements rather than beating around the bush.
An opening statement is a presentation of the case as it will be tried. It consists of stipulations to facts not in dispute and a outline of the evidence and testimony that will be presented in the trial. Then, the opening statement concludes with a series of statements connecting the stipulations, the evidence, and testimony leading to support of the correct verdict. The closing statement is a presentation of the case as it was tried. It consists of stipulations to facts not in dispute and a outline of the evidence and testimony that was presented by both sides in the trial. Then, the closing statement concludes with a series of statements connecting the stipulations, the evidence, and testimony leading to the support of the correct verdict.
American justice has adopted a position that, in a courtroom, attorneys can say just about anything about a person, no matter how untrue or outrageous. This special immunity protects such conduct in the courtroom but does not protect such conduct outside the courtroom. It should not make any difference here, for any immunity or special privilege is an anathema. Simply emphasize the facts from the opening statement, through the evidence and testimony, leading to their factual support in the concluding remarks.
Edward Steven Nunes
Innocence, Barry Sheck, Peter Neufeld,
and Jim Dwyer, Doubleday, 2000
O.J. - The Last Word, Gerry Spence, St. Martin's Press, 1997
Sue the Bastards, Gerard P. Fox, Contemporary Books, 1999
The Seven Sins of Memory, Daniel L. Schacter, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001