Covered in the Garfield Continuum Workshops: You Can Look this Stuff Up in Wikopedia

How to Save $$ while attending Garfield Event(s) Napa CA Jan. 19-20, 2009 registration-homeowners-workshop-jan-20-2009-napa-ca ///

* Reserve Workshop Seat prior to Jan 9, 2009 for Early Bird discount on Registration
* Reserve seats before 12/31 to deduct expense from 2008 taxes
* Mention Garfield’s Foreclosure Defense Group when reserving rooms to get special Group Rate of $159
* Consider flying into Sacramento or Oakland as cheaper alternative to SF airport, distance and drive to Napa about the same
* Consider Southwest Airlines into Oakland or Sacramento Round trips from SA cities running only $200-$300 for RT

Substantive legal standards
Burden of proof
Competency of evidence
Application of the statute of limitations
Application of “hard” procedural bars, such as the time for filing a notice of appeal
Rules of evidence and procedure

(Plus, some positive stuff from same Power Point doc);

Complementary Principles:
It is the policy of the courts in California to resolve a dispute on the merits of the case rather than allowing a dismissal on technicality
The trial judge has a “duty to see that a miscarriage of justice does not occur through inadvertence.”
Treatment equal to that of a represented party requires the court to “make sure that verbal instructions given in court and written notices are clear and understandable by a layperson.”
The “same treatment” principle does not prevent trial judges from providing assistance to self-represented litigants to enable them to comply with the rules of evidence and procedure

Allowable Assistance:

Liberal construction of documents filed
Hand written letters that could have been construed as an answer to the complaint
Liberal opportunity to amend
Assisting the parties to settle the case
Granting a continuance sua sponte on behalf of the self represented litigant (SEE SUA SPONTE DEFINITION/EXAMPLES BELOW)
Explaining how to subpoena witnesses
Explaining how to question jurors and exercise peremptory challenges and challenges for cause
Explaining the legal elements required to obtain relief
Explaining how to introduce evidence
Explaining how to object to the introduction of evidence
Explaining the right to cross examine witnesses presented by the opposing party
Calling witnesses and asking questions of them
Sua sponte admonishing the jury on behalf of a self-represented litigant to disregard prejudicial testimony
Preparing jury instructions for a self- represented litigant or requiring opposing counsel to do so

The Other Side of the Coin:

The trial judge will also be affirmed when s/he refuses to make specific accommodations, such as
Refusal to guide a litigant through the intricacies of the dead man’s statute
Refusal to tell the litigant whether she has the right to depose a witness
Failure to prevent opposing counsel from committing prejudicial misconduct
Dismissing a case for failure to prosecute
Allowing inadmissible evidence at the request of the self-represented defendant
Denying motion to vacate judgment when self-represented litigant realizes after an adverse judgment that he was in over his head.  (Burnete v. La Casa Dana Apartments, Number G037377 (4th Dist. Ct. App., Div. 3, March 26, 2007))

Affirmative Duty to Advise Self- Represented Litigant :

Federal and Alaska cases on Motion for Summary Judgment
Recent US Supreme Court Case Castro v. United States
Ross v. Figueroa, , No. B182738 (Cal.App.2d Dist, Div.7, May 19, 2006) Domestic violence case – duty to explain right to present oral testimony

A judge will not be reversed on appeal for accommodating the needs of a self- represented litigant to preserve his or her right to be heard
A judge may or may not be reversed for refusing a specific accommodation
The judge’s attitude and values are critical and come to the fore
Calls for the best from our trial judges
Judges have an opportunity for genuine job satisfaction

REGARDING: Sua sponte
“SUA SPONTE” Latin for “of one’s own accord,” is a legal term that means to act spontaneously without prompting from another party. The term is usually applied to actions by a judge, taken without a prior motion or request from the parties. LOOKS LIKE PRO PER MAY INCLUDE A JUDGE HELPING US WITH ALL KINDS OF THINGS IF THEY ARE INTO THE THEORY OF GUARDING OUR RIGHTS…

1. Common reasons for an action taken sua sponte are when the judge determines that the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction or that the case should be moved to another judge because of a conflict of interest, even if all parties disagree.

2. counsel’s dumb mistake could have been corrected by the court, sua sponte, in its decision on the merits.  Or, the court could have directed to him to rebrief it using the correct standard.  Or, the court could have accepted the standard proffered by the appellant since the respondent neglected to challenge it.

Gamet v. Blanchard (2001)

“Judges are charged with ascertaining the truth, not just playing the referee.  .  .  .  A lawsuit is not a game, where the party with the cleverest lawyer prevails regardless of the merits.”

“Equal treatment” requires ensuring that an unrepresented litigant understands through plain English what a lawyer would understand through legalese.

6 Responses

  1. Why viewers still make use of to read news papers when in this technological
    world everything is presented on net?

  2. Neil,

    I am impressed with your site. I do think it is foolish to believe that most people are competent to represent themselves. I am, frankly, embarrassed merely by the spelling errors in the letters of some desperate people who have written to this site…especially since they probably have spell-check.

    However, while I believe that your site should be a starting point for discussions about strategy with your attorney, I came upon the following link. Maybe you have seen it, maybe not. But, the author bashes you pretty good. If you have not addressed this, you might want to:

    New Jersey

  3. Hello! it is nice to read your information.

    I found out that you where in the Bay Area in january 2009, I missed it, I just have a question: do you have any list of lawyer that got it in this area?

    Thank you, hope to hear from you soon.

  4. I would like to order your home owner handbook offered on the flier to the Orlando seminar that I was unable to attend.
    I have had difficulty getting the fax to go through on the number 772-594-6244.
    And I do not have scanning capabilities.
    Would you please send a mailing address
    that I can utilize to order your book ?

  5. I have been duped! I was under the impression that countrywide was truly working with me to do a modification of my loan. I was told that while my review was in process, that all collection activities would be suspended. Countrywide was the management company for HSBC who owned the note. There were several auction dates from Oct. 2nd through Dec. 5th that had been postponed “until I talked with a negotiator”. A date was set for auction of Jan. 5th 2009. On Jan. 2nd I spoke with someone from countrywide at 7 AM then was told to call back after noon PST. I called as told to and spoke with a gentleman there who said since it was still under review he would alert his manager about the pending auction sale and would request yet another postponement. As I was told it would be postponed since I never was assigned a negotiator and it was now with the “heartland team”. I believed I would still be speaking with a negotiator and believed they had postponed the pending sale date another month until a negotiator contacted me. On Wed. Jan. 7th, I called countrywide as I had been doing weekly, and was informed that my home had sold at auction and since there were no bidders, countrywide won the bid of $688,500. from HSBC and now owns the property. I have been offered “up to $4,400 from Vision Property who represents countrywide as their real estate representative if I move by Jan. 31st.

    I bought my home in 2002 for a little less than $400,000 on the north shore development of Princeville on the island of Kaua’i in Hawaii. It faces a golf course and is a corner lot. I did a refinance in 2006 for $750,000. It’s appraised value was $1,200,000. I was paying an interest only mortgage of aprox. $4,500 monthly. I have always paid my mortgage in a timely manner – never late until the end of 2007 when I began feeling the effects of the announcement of the biggest hotel on the north shore “the Princeville Hotel” was closing for renovations. Then in the early part of 2008 there were 3 airlines that went belly up and people were not coming to the island or spending as had before. I was experiencing hardship in making my mortgage payments and taking care of my business. I made payments, but they were simply taking care of some from before. I was put in foreclosure in August of 2008, and was told I should do a repayment plan paying a lump sum of aprox. $30,000. I was not earning as I had before. I tried to make some payments, but was told they could not receive any from me, but the lump sum or workout to pay monthly my payments and additionally the due within a period of a few months. Then the bailout came into effect about that time period and the banks were given money of aprox. $780 billion to help this situation. What has become of that money? I experienced Bank of America (coutrywide) buying the note from HSBC and my never once talking with the supposed “negotiator”.

    What’s my next step? An auntie of mine who lives in Florida received a lowered interest payment to 2.5% during the same time period as myself. I had requested a similar percentage for only a period of 5 years, until I rebuild the business and tack on the amount I owed to the end of the term or do a 40 year term. No one ever contacted me re: this. I am thinking about what recourses I have. Perhaps there is stregnth in numbers. Maybe I should let my senators know, maybe I should go on TV? I don’t know. It’s not in my nature to want to lead a procession, however, I don’t feel like just walking away without doing something. What my next step is, God only knows and perhaps you might be able to shed some light on this subject.

    Thanking you in advance for your attention to this and from what I see on your website for being an informed person about the banking system. I would like to attend your conference, but don’t know what I’m doing at this time. I can be reached via my mobile number of (808) 652-7928.

    Aloha and Mahalo,

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