Tuesday, January 22, 2013

First Steps to Finding Law

Bank robbers operate on the premise of going where they know there's money. The same applies when one is seeking a better understanding of the "Law." You must go to where the law is written.
However most people in need of a better understanding of the law, and or representation within a court of law, know that there is an easy way out. Hiring a lawyer, after all that's his job.  He or she makes his or her living by knowing what's in all those law books.
Well let me do them a favor. Yes, Pro Se HQ is here to make your attorney's job a little easier also. How? By helping the laymen understand what I have learned about the law and where to find it.  You see when the client understands the laws that are relevant to his or her case they will be in a better position to explain their case to hire the right lawyer in the first place. They will also be in a better position to know if their chosen counsel is still wet behind the ears, whereby they can avoid hiring them at the outset, plus follow the progression of their claim or defense knowing that their lawyer is presenting a basis in law and fact which supports a decision in their favor.

It all starts with the books people. Think about it, when you go to the law library, what do you see.  When you walk into a lawyers office what do you see? Books and books, rows of books all over the place. The trick is that the lawyer has spent years learning how to navigate through all the numerous volumes of books you see. To know what's going on we to must learn at least the basics of the same books our lawyers turn to. Not to mention those of us with the courage to stand Pro Se, not only must we put some time in learning what books we need but we must further learn the differences between all these books, but how to navigate through them as well.
When I first decided to stand Pro Se I was fortunate to find a book I think of as the pro se litigants bible. That book is titled "RepresentYourself in Court, How to Prepare & Try a Winning Case, Paul Bergman, J.D. and Sara J. Berman, J.D.."  For around $25 one can get this book, or purchase the eBook for around $35 at the publishes website  This book is your best bet for understanding the workings of the courts on the cheap. It's written so that we laymen can grasp basic legal concepts, and it's where I first learned that our courts are concerned with the basis in facts and the law.

Most public and college libraries will shelve a few copies of "Represent Yourself in Court."  Trust me though, once you pick this book up you'll want your own copy to keep around the house. Like I said it introduces the reader to the most common topics in law, civil, criminal, family, divorce and so on.
While your at the library checking out "Represent Yourself in Court," those of us handling high finance litigation on no budget will also want to become familiar with the Encyclopedia of Law called "Corpus Juris Secundum."  When you walk into your lawyer's office and catch a glimpse of his or her shelves filled with these books you will know that he or she had a good line of credit, their own start-up capital, or followed in their parents footsteps, and inherited or were the recipient of these blessed hand-me-downs.

They're not cheap folks, at over $10,700 per set, you begin to understand why lawyers only give one hour free consultations.  You may further notice that during that one hour the prospective attorney usually wont get up from behind the desk to consult these encyclopedia in front of you.
Within Corpus Juris Secundum you will find general rules of law along with some of the limitations and exceptions to rules of law. The volumes contain citations and supporting cases from both state and federal courts giving you a view of the law in local jurisdictions as well as a snap-shot of the law across the United States of America.  Litigants still must proceed with some caution when referencing this encyclopedia of U.S. law, due to the growth of statutory and regulatory governance across America. As cautioned within Wikipedia's definition of the same, "rather than being used as sources of authoritative statements of law, legal encyclopedias will be more often used as tools for finding relevant case law."

If "Representing Yourself in Court" becomes your legal bible, as it was for me, then I'd be doing you a miss-service if I failed to tell you that in order to understand any of the concepts you'll find in the afore mentioned books you must and almost can't expect to decipher them without an accompanying law dictionary.  The "Holy Grail" of law dictionaries for me is "Blacks Law Dictionary"  Available at most public libraries, and a must for any book house claiming to be a law library. If this book is not available, you're not in a law library, and if you don't see one in a prospective attorney's office RUN! 
So, you know.  You can pick-up "Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary" for around $25 or you can go to your attorney's trusted source, and dole out the $80 for the holy grail. (Black's LawDictionary).  Now you're ready to do some legal research right? NOT!  Ain't that simple speedy.  There's more to legal research than the above, so I'll recommend you save up some more doe to cop a copy of "Legal Research, How to Find &Understand the Law, Stephen Elias, Attorney." 
What? Attorney…How to Find & Understand the Law?  Yes, you'll be taken aback when attorney Elias shares information in this guide giving you basic tools of legal research.  He gives clear examples and instruction so that you'll be reading and understanding statutes, regulations, and cases in no time.  You might just start blogging about this one book alone, if you do, please mention where you heard it first.
Thank You, Pro Se HQ,
P.S. Please tell a friend or two, "He's back." Stay tuned and watch for posts on my other blog at as well. God Bless!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Atlantic City Rolls-Out State Fugitive Safe Surrender

The State of New Jersey's website is currently touting the Fugitive Safe Surrender-New Jersey Southern Region event scheduled for Saturday April 21, Monday April 23 through Wednesday April 25 at Grace Assembly of God Church, 201 Atlantic Avenue, in Atlantic City.
 The website at further states: "Fugitives hiding from the law will soon have the opportunity to surrender safely at a neutral location in Atlantic City, take responsibility for their crimes and receive favorable consideration from the court.  Individuals will be able to turn themselves in at the church from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. Their cases will be adjudicated at temporary courtrooms a few blocks away."

Pro Se HQ thinks this will be a great opportunity, as this writer has often encounter individuals lacking in knowledge of the law, and are dependent upon the aide of Public Defenders.  Yet they are fearful due to their lack of trust of these individuals they often refer to as "Public Pretenders."
 Most, not only avoid the law, but also avoid taking the opportunity to learn about the law.  Given this opportunity I would pray that they take full advantage of it, clear up there legal matters, then hit the books. Not to engage in more law breaking just because their slates are clean, but to become law abiding citizens from knowledge of the law.

I can only imagine the number of individuals that forego basic rights out of fear of contact with the law. Perhaps given the chance to clear their records they will not have to live in fear of the law.  They can learn the law, and respect the fact that it is a tool for the securing of rights as well.
 Not all will be eligible for this program as the website clearly states.  The site sets for some of the basic guidelines when it says:

"Fugitive Safe Surrender-New Jersey Southern Region is open to individuals wanted on warrants by New Jersey law enforcement officials for non-violent crimes or disorderly person offenses, including family matters and child support. The program is also open to those who live out of state but have open warrants in New Jersey. The program cannot process out-of-state court matters. Fugitive Safe Surrender is not an amnesty program, but does offer favorable consideration from the court, often in the form of reduced fines or probation requirements instead of incarceration. Individuals wanted for violent crimes, or with previous convictions for violent crimes, may also surrender; however, those wanted for violent crimes are more likely to be taken into custody. At Fugitive Safe Surrender sites nationwide, only two percent of people that surrendered were taken into custody because the vast majority of those who turn themselves in are wanted for non-violent offenses and have no history of violence.

The initiative is only open to U.S. citizens, legal residents or those who lawfully in the United States. Individuals who are not in the United States lawfully are not eligible to participate."
 If you think you may be eligible, or want to help another that you may think qualifies please go to the site at Contact information is given, and there are video testimonial in reference to the program.  Don't wait till you or some one you care about is caught, and have to go crying to the judge later!

Best Wishes,
Pro se HQ!

PS. Subscribe to Pro Se HQ in the upper right hand corner for a head start on new learning now that you'll be free from fear. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Case Law Godzilla

How can one love a destroyer?  Godzilla comes to town knocking down buildings, and setting things ablaze, but Japan love their hero. Why?

He's their savior, he refuses to take a loss, and he conquers all his opponents.

Now the pro se litigant has a savior as well. This decisional case law breathing giant's name is Google Scholar.
 No longer is the legal community shackled to Lexis Nexus.  Even attorney's and law students are embracing the offerings of Google Scholar.

The main feature of this service mirrors those of Japan's hero Godzilla, they both come to the rescue for Free! Yes Godzilla's services are free, minus the building destruction, and people crushing trade-off.
 Google Scholar, has some misgivings as well.  The legal community will notice the absence of their beloved "Core Terms" and "Head Notes." But those well versed in the art of "wheeling" are able to stride that hurdle, and get what they need out of this giant of case law providers.

For the pro se litigant this writer thinks the greatest plus is, access.  This law library never closes folks, even lawyers are grateful for the 24-7 availability of access to case law and legal opinions.  One can even have Google Scholar alert them by e-mail if a particular case receives further decisions within the same court or progresses on to appeal.

I will talk more on "wheeling" and the use of Google Scholar in later posts, but for now this post serves notice that a savior is here.  Unlike Godzilla, I don't think Google Scholar will swim off in the sunset and sink to the bottom of the sea, no this hero is here to stay.

Check it out at, just click the radio button for either an article, or legal opinions and journals search, and you'll be amazed and pleased with the reach of this offering.

Thank you for viewing,
Pro Se HQ!
 I invite you to view my other blogs as well. Check out the who, what, where, when and why we do, did, plan on doing or can do in this world blog.  I think you'll enjoy the topic's of that blog as much as I enjoy making it available to you.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Argument To Legal Reasoning Formula

Let's discuss the arguments that a pro se litigant, attorneys, and judges make during the course of a legal matter before a court of law.

Pro se litigants need to understand the concept of "argument" because this is usually the intersection where the law and (JSHIT) hit the fan.

Any presentation of a basis in law and fact is meaningless without an understanding of the concept of "argument."

When the layman thinks of arguments, he or she usually resorts to the common thought of making statements leading from a premise to a conclusion. To do this is what leads to many pro se litigants failing to present their case properly. This is because their presentation takes on the form of a "street level" argument and it is lacking in a basis in law to support their facts.
 The discourse described above can be said to lack "legal reasoning."  Hence, pro se litigants as well as lawyers, and judges must be able to finish or complete this formula: Facts + Laws > Legal Reasoning.
 In chemistry a chemist is able to show, by a formula, that the combination of: A + B > AB, so too the pro se litigant must be able to show that their Facts + Laws > Legal Reasoning, and thereby said presentation becomes persuasive.

Blacks Law Dictionary's definition of the terms is not required to understand the two terms of "argument" and "reason."  The definition given by Merriam Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary for the terms are as follows:

Argument-  2a: a reason given in proof or rebuttal b: discourse intended to persuade 3b: a coherent series of statements leading from a premise to a conclusion.

Reason-  1a: a statement offered in explanation or justification b: a rational ground or motive c: a sufficient ground of explanation or or logical defense: especially: something (as a principle or law) that supports a conclusion or explains a fact d: the thing that makes some fact intelligible: CAUSE.

Once more I drive home the premise that to take a matter to court you must be armed with a basis in fact and law.  Understanding the definitions above we can see why. 

Starting with a set of facts, the plaintiff or the defendant has to gather evidence to show that said facts did or did not occur.  Then based upon the occurrence or non-occurrence  of some facts he or she must state what the law says if a set of facts has or has not happened. Example: if one takes something that doe not belong to him or her, or he has no legal right to take that thing a theft occurs.  If he or she can prove that they did not take or had a legal right to take the thing a theft has not occurred.
 In the above if a thing is proved to be taken and that the taker lacked a legal right to take the thing the law says that a theft has occurred. Here is where one must get their basis in law correct by referring to the statutes of the jurisdiction that they are in. If I may cross the line and become "long-winded," I will support this and not leave you in the dark as follows.

Using the example above, if one was in the State of New Jersey, the law says:

New Jersey Criminal Code 2C:20-3, Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition
  1. Movable property.  A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with purpose to deprive him thereof.
  1. Immovable property.  A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully transfers any interest in immovable property of another with purpose to benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.
Saving for another post at a later date we will not tread upon the "elements" of an offense here, but I have underlined them above for clarity of this topic.  To be prosecuted for a theft of movable property in the State of New Jersey a prosecutor must show that there was (1) movable or immovable property taken, (2) the taking was unlawful, (3) the alleged taker exercised unlawful control over the property, (4) the property was that of another (not his), and that (5) said taking or exercise of unlawful control was done with a purpose to deprive the other. Not so simple now huh?

But stay with me and I can wrap this up and take you back to the argument and reasoning, which is the basis of this post. 
 Maybe this example can hold your attention, expound on the subject matter, and wrap this post up all at the same time. Mr. and Mrs. Boozer jointly own a house at 101 Main St. Anywhere, USA, this couple also have a rare  $3,000 bottle of  champagne tucked away.   Mr. Boozer's old friend, that he hasn't seen in twenty years stops by and he (Mr. Boozer) decides to  crack open that bottle with his friend to celebrate the reunion. They get toasted.
 Meanwhile Mrs. Boozer, returns home from running errands and see's the empty bottle on the coffee table, ole dude, whom she can't stand, and her husband knocked out sleep on the couch. She demands that the old friend [FN] get out of her house, and a huge fight breaks out between this couple and she calls the cops alleging that the husband stole a $3,000 dollar bottle of champagne that she paid half for and she want's that ass arrested. What will the arriving police do?
 No they shouldn't ask the couple if they have another bottle so that they can taste the evidence to see what $3,000 champagne taste like, and warrant's an arrest for depriving Ms. Booze the benefit of the empty bottle. They will gather the facts and tell her to take the matter to court, where the judge of jury will weigh the facts, because she has admitted that she paid half, and the trier of the facts will want to see proof of payment, hear testimony from both sides as to a binding contract to only partake of the bottle at the same time, and further see if Mr. Boozer deceived the Misses in any way.

Why could this be one scenario to the above?  Lets say they were in NJ, where comment to 2C:20-2[5] Claim of right; theft from spouse says: "As stated in comments to 2C:20-1, to constitute theft, the property taken must be the "property of another." See 2C:20-1h and State v. Mejia, 141 N.J. 475, 495 (1995).  If the defendant, in fact, owns the particular property, no theft occurs, and where robbery is the issue, no robbery occurs either. Id.  This, however, is so because of a failure of proof.  The state has not proven that the defendant took the "property of another."  Where the property is "property of another" as defined, however the defendant, sometimes may assert a claim-of-right defense, requiring that the defendant honestly believe in a right to the property."

Lastly to wrap this up, fact, the police upon arriving and hearing the fact could conclude that Mr. Boozer had a "claim-of-right" to the champagne, and although they couldn't get a taste they still could not arrest him based upon applying the law to the facts.
 When and if they got their day in court the trier of the fact upon concluding that Mr. Boozer honestly believed that he had a right to crack the champagne with his buddy, regardless of the wife's disdain for his old friend, the case is resolved in his favor and he should recover all cost's of the suit. Now if they ran a tape line down the middle of the house, split the kitchen, refrigerator, and each laid claim to their favorite child is another matter for another day in another court.

When and if the above day in court came, each would again have to show that based upon the Facts + Laws he or she has yielded a legal reasoning that the court finds persuasive to grant the relief sought. So, pro se litigants out there remember it thus, to get your claim you will have to combine your facts with an application of law to yield your legal reasoning for the granting of what you seek. Whew!

Thank you, and I hope this sets you on the right path.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bringing The Law Down to Earth

The law is not in the clouds if one knows where to look. The Restatement of the Law is the place to start.  "Restatement," so what?  Standing alone this term means nothing to the average individual, but say this to one trained in the law and he or she will probably ask you, "which Restatement of The Law" are you referring too.

Laymen and pro se litigants must take a step back to understand this term or should I say set of legal books.  Now if you want to sound "studied" when talking about these set of law books, please refer to them as a "treatises."
 Wow, now we see why so many are discouraged from becoming knowledgeable about the law, because there are so many definitions to be learned. That's to be expected folks, first and far-most because it is the nature of man.  Think about it, those that follow the Bible know that one of Adams first tasks was to name all the creatures of the earth.  Since that time we have been naming things down to the very Atom it self.

Okay, back to the law.  Wikipedia defines a treatises as: "A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject."

Using this free online source, Wikipedia, one will find that if defines "Restatement of the Law" as:
"In American jurisprudence, the Restatements of the Law are a set of treatises on legal subjects that seek to inform judges and lawyers about general principles of common law. There have been three series of Restatements to date, all published by the American Law Institute, an organization of legal academics and practitioners founded in 1923.
Individual Restatement volumes are essentially codifications of case law, which are common law judge-made doctrines that develop gradually over time because of the principle of stare decisis. Although Restatements of the Law are not binding authority in and of themselves, they are highly persuasive because they are formulated over several years with extensive input from law professors, practicing attorneys, and judges. They are meant to reflect the consensus of the American legal community as to what the law is (and in some cases, what it should become). As Harvard Law School describes the Restatements of the Law:"

The above may suffice and enlighten us laymen and pro se litigants, but to be safe you should also know that Black Law Dictionary, Ninth Edition, Bryan A. Garner defines "Restatement" as: "One of several influential treatises published by the American Law Institute describing the law in a given area and guiding its development."
 The first volumes of these treatises were published from 1923-1944 by the American Law Institute and have been updated since then to keep them current with the ever changing and new developments of the law.  The first sets covered the law as it pertained to various sectors of the law: Agency, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Judgments, Property, Torts, and Trusts.

Since those early days the volumes have increased as you probably would expect.  Wiki at the link above will provide those needing further details with a list of editions, and current versions. Hey, before you go off to explore the Restatement of the Law let me thank you for stopping by, and please look for future information of this topic.  Those referred by the Gaming Oracle will definitely want to return as the knowledge of this treatises is put into practice with the issues presented within that on going civil action.

Thanks for viewing,
Pro Se HQ

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Beginning Look at Case Law

So why does one look into the "law" in the first place, let alone study or research it?   The most basic would be to answer a legal question, makes sense right?

This would bring us to that section of law called case law.  Case law answers legal questions, as such answers have been determined over the years, it [case law] answers questions for which there is no statutory answer.   More specifically case law involves interpreting a statutory provision to make sense of how that statute should be applied to a particular case.

The above is the reason why it is so important to find case law that deals with facts that are similar to your given situation.   The closer the facts of the case law you are looking to cite to those in your case, the higher your odds are that the court will be persuaded by your argument.
Lets compare apples to apples . You bop into a court of law saying that Johnny stole your apple seeds and began to grow them in Georgia.   But Johnny counters by telling the court that the seeds could not be yours because they don't grow apples in Georgia because everybody knows that Georgia is the "peach state."
For simplicity you might offer to the court that Johnny is a liar because "Apple and More's Apple Facts" clearly state that: "(1) 100 varieties of apples are grown commercially in the United States, (2) Apples are grown commercially in 36 states, and (3) Apples are grown in all 50 states.  Well to you and I, or any other reasonable person, you have picked a winner and the facts show that Johnny is a liar. MAYBE!

I say "maybe" because there is a whole lot more that must be put forth, like who in the hell is "Apple and More," are they recognized by the court as being experts when it comes to apple seeds.  But if we take the above approach, we have made the mistake that most laymen will make when they go to court, and that is not knowing all the "elements" and issues that you have a burden to prove.  We have a long way to go, and a lot of other topics to cover before I get into the "elements" of a case, but with our example above you might find that the judge will cite a case telling you that: "To attempt to use the decision of this Court as a judicial pronouncement on a matter which is in no way before us is like trying to grow pears on an apple tree. The apple hanging on the tree of decision in this case has to do with the proposition as to whether the District Attorney of Philadelphia may, according to law, in discharging the functions of his office, subpoena to his office such persons he deems amenable to interrogation. That is the issue, that is the apple, and no amount of argumentation or interpretation can transform that apple into a pear. No mixing of seeds, no amount of botanical treatment or alimentation can grow a coconut on a banana tree, and no type of analysis, construction, exposition or diagnosis can read into this decision what is absolutely not there."  Com. ex rel. Specterv. Freed, 424 Pa. 508, 523.

In a nutshell this Judge, using case law, would be telling you, "look fella before you come into my court, and waste my time, you'd better understand that you have to prove a theft first, and it doesn't matter if its apples or oranges, you have to know the elements you have to prove in your case, case dismissed without prejudice." 

Keep your head up all is not lost, but don't jump to the conclusion that the "without prejudice" means that the judge kinda likes you.  [He probably hates your guts especially if its close to lunch and he has a slice of apple pie in his lunch box]  He is trying to get rid of your ass, and hopes you don't figure it out, and come back again.  (More on all this later too)  Guess what, I've set you up also because now we have the foundation laid so that we can delve into the use of case law in the following postings.  (Hang in there, y'all come back now ya hear!)

Thanks for viewing, tell a friend or two about Pro se HQ!

(Disclaimer, so to speak: the above example may be over simplistic to the point of straying, but I'm no attorney and until one is willing to attempt what I doing here I pray the hating is quelled, but correction and or suggestions are welcomed. Holla!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

What is 28 USCS § 1746?

No its not 28 documents before the Constitution.

First and for-most it’s a life saver for all of us pro se litigants involved in "high finance litigation" on a zero or low budget.  You don’t have to fear getting your documents notarized just because your in Federal Court.  Notarize them with this law.

Just like in the hood "Peeps" word-is-bond! If you need to make a declaration or submit an affidavit and just plain can not afford to have it notarized, now you can utilize 28 USCS § 1746.  This is the federal statute for making unsworn declarations under penalty of perjury.

What? You knew there had to be a catch.  That catch is, the declaration is made under the penalty of perjury and if your declaration is challenged and proven to be false.  You might not pass "GO," have to pay a fine or take that ass to jail.
28 USCS § 1746. Unsworn declarations under penalty of perjury, states and or holds: Whenever, under any law of the United States or under any rule, regulation, order, or requirement made pursuant to law, any matter is required or permitted to be supported, evidenced, established, or proved by the sworn declaration, verification, certificate, statement, oath, or affidavit, in writing of the person making the same (other than a deposition, or an oath of office, or an oath required to be taken before a specified official other than a notary public), such matter may, with like force and effect, be supported, evidenced, established, or proved by the unsworn declaration, certificate, verification, or statement, in writhing of such person which is subscribed by him, as true under penalty of perjury, and dated, in substantially the following form:
  1. If executed without the United States: "I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America tat the foregoing is true and correct.  Executed on (date).
  2. If executed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths: "I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.  Executed on (date)

Just like that you have your declaration, statement and or affidavit.  Plus with the funds you just saved you may have enough for copying? ( uses this law)    So lets go litigate.

Sorry for the wait was helping The Gaming Oracle or wearing that hat so...but I'm back now.  Thank you for stopping by.  Prosehq1, tweet if this was informative.