The right to a jury trial is part of the U.S. Constitution. So why don’t most cases reach a jury? Sure, many cases are settled, and some are frivolous, not worthy of being considered. But there are enough meritorious claims to keep our courthouses busy. Or maybe not, according to the nation’s judges. They are dismissing cases left and right. You won’t believe how few cases reach a jury.
Evidence is mounting that we’ve lost our collective minds. When courts need reminding that poverty is not a criminal offense — in 2016 — it’s time to reboot the system.
I’ve had plenty of traffic tickets, and I’ve hated every one. But there’s nothing worse than getting one in the mail for something you can’t remember doing. Luckily, there was a link to a video of my car running a stop sign. Well that settles it, right? Not quite. I have many questions, starting with ‘Why is a private company billing me for driving on a public road?’ We will have to see about this because I’ve never lost in traffic court. Things could get ugly.
It’s been nearly 20 years since “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” was released, just a few months before Tupac Shakur lost his life. The music video for the track has 2Pac and Snoop representing themselves in court with the gangsta attitude needed for effective pro se litigation. Like a gangsta, every successful pro se litigant must be prepared to break the rules, because the rules weren’t made for us.
Arizona used car salesman Van Flury is a vexatious litigant, no doubt. He has filed 50 lawsuits over the last decade, and now a judge says he needs permission to file another one. But vexatious litigation laws ought to be unconstitutional, since we have a right to petition government. And if that right isn’t ironclad, the Fourteenth Amendment (due process clause) means it ought to apply to everyone, not just to pro se litigants. My take is that blocking access to the courthouse door allows for judicial bias against pro se litigants to go unchecked.
Thurgood Marshall was known to be a gentleman, unfailingly polite and slow to ruffle feathers. While never shrinking from the duty of candor, he maintained that reputation throughout the legal battles of the Civil Rights Movement, his service at the Justice Department and his tenure on the Supreme Court. But if he retained any tact […]