Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Affording an attorney, or "Pro Se" option?

Recent post by Foster Family Examiner that bears reposting. Have encouraged many:
"Whether they seek a lawyer or not, they must know the statutes, policies, etc. for their state, particular to their concerns."

A good starting point of links is our NFPCAR State Index page>> http://nfpcar.org/States

Have reprinted the Examiner.com article. Plus below have list some things to consider when going Pro Se.
In this series, we are going to look at Pro Se. Many foster parents cannot afford an attorney, as we have stated before even though we believe a lawyer is required, we realize that in most cases they have priced themselves out of this market. Most of us do not have the 5-10K retainer fee an attorney requires.

That leaves us with what option. Pro Se is the only other option we have. Pro Se is Latin for representing ourselves in a court of law. Question; does that possibility frighten you. This is a common feeling we are always intimidated by what we do not understand or what we think is above our understanding.

Most of us are able to understand, able to educate ourselves on any subject we think is significant enough.
What is critical to you, is where your heart lies, are you children important to you? Then let us get started in your educational process.

Usually, the only courtroom experience we, as foster parents, have ever had is perhaps a traffic ticket or hopefully appearing on behalf of our foster children. So, it is not surprising to us that this is intimidating, to say the least. How can a normal person expect to win a case in court? Foster parents frequently undereducated, uneducated, that is, without a college degree., are you?

  • The first thing you need to do is get over this feeling of powerlessness. Learn courtroom procedures, as this is the most intimidating thing to someone looking at it from this angle. Are you going to fight back or sit and feel sorry for yourself? What about the children you are supposed to protect as a foster parent or a biological parent. If your children have been removed was it for a valid reason, or because you are poor, homeless, unemployed?

  • The second thing you need to do is start reading, learning and organizing your thoughts, your case.
If you need help, go to nfpcar.org this is an excellent place to start. Education is a tremendous resource and a place to start your fight against an unreasonable enemy, one that is known to make as much money as possible from your children. We can do this together. Let us talk about this, allow us to be your guides to education. We are not attorneys, but advocates, we care about you and your children.
Come let us reason together.

Suggested reading; What is Pro Se? Part 1 / part 2 / part 3 / part 4 / Part 5 / part 6 / part 7 part 8 / part 9. 
Pro se people often do not get justice.
Let's examine a few facts:
  1. Most pro se people don't know the rules.
  2. Most pro se people don't know how to prevent the lawyer on the other side from playing tricks with the rules.
  3. Most pro se people make assumptions about what is "admissible evidence" and stuff that isn't.
  4. Most pro se people don't know how to draft their pleadings or motions properly.
  5. Most pro se people don't know why it's important to write proposed orders for the judge to sign.
  6. Most pro se people don't know why, when, or how to make effective objections in court.
  7. Most pro se people don't understand what facts are critical to winning a case and what facts are of no consequence but only muddy the waters with court-confusing insignificance.
  8. Most pro se people don't know why it's so vitally important to cite controlling appellate cases in support of their pre-trial and trial motions.
  9. Most pro se people don't know how to arrange for a written transcript to be made of all proceedings before the court, so they can control the judge.
  10. Most pro se people waste valuable court time with non-essentials, fail to appreciate the needs of others who have their own problems to bring before the court and, as a consequence, tend to make judges dread pro se cases.

Not all judges are "against" pro se people "just because they are pro se". Most of the judges I knew in my 25 years were good people who cared about other people and did their best to guarantee justice according to the rules.
But! You must know how to protect yourself!
Other Blog Post from "Defend Yourself"
A Vital Reference to Begin Your Defense