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Newbie? Please try to observe a case!

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Working on my first case with the help of some great folks here. My first time ever being a court room!

Ok so I have a motion coming up and I decided to go observe at the courthouse, similar motions and other motions, whatever I could. Granted I'm self employed so I have more time than many to do this. If you can, it's almost priceless. I was super nervous about even doing this! Thinking attorneys are so official, this place is so highly regarded, etc. I checked the clerk to make sure I was going to the right court room, had the right info, any special instructions, etc. She said just tell the bailiff you're observing. I get to the double doors and look in and I don't see the bailiff. I got so scared I went back to the clerk for reassurance. I finally made my way in and I quickly get reminded of what so many others on here say but experiencing will only suffice:

1. These people are just people like you and me. I quickly see Attorney answering the judge with "uh...we sent those ...uh....(shuffle through papers...) had to have been around ..." And I'm thinking I would've never thought I would see such for basic uncomplicated matters. They are human!

2. The judge is also human. Luckily It seems my judge for this matter is laid back. There was an attorney with a motion for summary judgement against a pro se. Pro se had been paid too much at work to the tune of over 20k, agreed to a promissory note to pay back 100 bucks a week or month(can't remember), no interest. Made 2 payments and never paid again. (perhaps subsequently) lost his job, hasn't worked in a while has no money. Got served with complaint, answered as at least two other pro se's I saw answered, with a "hardship letter" of sorts, admitting to the debt and how they haven't paid, but stating it was because of this or that, or no work, etc. Then he didn't return the requests for admissions at all. This judge spent the better part of 10 minutes trying to figure out a way not to grant the summary, even going off record and asking the attorney to see if he could make a call to his client. Granted, by now, the pro se had brought up "duress" of fearing for his job and signing just about anything to keep his job, as he figured at the time, while still admitting to the debt 2 or 3 times, it wasn't in his plans to deny it, but just to basically claim ignorance and pity. Attorney tossed some ideas but said if it went to trial he had this and that and it would still not be in the pro se's favor. Judge was dropping and shaking his head alot, said he didn't want to but due to material factors, etc., he didn't have much of a choice. The attorney said he would see if his client would take less punitive interest fees and less attorneys fees. I don't think the judgement was filed but the attorney would send something to the pro se, with the new terms, etc., but basically it would be over upon mutual agreement, something like that. He did tell him he needed an attorney though.

3. I saw two pro se's so nervous they could hardly formulate ideas. Shaking, fumbling, etc., No doubt I would've been pretty nervous had I not went to observe.

4. One pro se had a thick spanish accent, not the greatest speech or presentation, really was trying to argue the validity of the jdb's affidavit but this wasn't the hearing for that. His hearing was about his counterclaim...or something along those lines. The judge explained this to him among other things, and struck his motion for something or another(this was yesterday so I can't remember), but the case will go on. Pro se didn't really know what he was doing but the judge didn't scold him. That was good to see.

5. Of course lots of pro se's not showing up for summary hearings.

Seeing another case about malpractice, and seeing humans trying to interpret and bend the law was interesting. I left today wanting to be a lawyer of course. I also got to see a pretty well known local attorney/senator and spoke with him for a moment.

So if you can, at least TRY to look up the court schedule and find a similar case or any case to sit in on. I left feeling empowered. It's pretty much priceless.

Edited by Merk
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I, like you, wanted to get a taste of what I was in for once I entered the courtroom. This was probably a year and a half ago when I feared that the lawsuit meant that I was soon to be finding myself in court, I wanted to be prepared. I am lucky, I have had two suits dismissed without any action taken by the JDB after the anwser and/or discovery phase. I am still glad I made the effort even though it proved to be unnecessary, and as I will explain, garnered me no experiance with trials or hearings over JDB cases.

I would, like you, recommend that all folks who take up their case on their own, no matter how much information you learn on this site or other sites online, make a trip to observe courtromm proceedings.

Some may have the experiance I did however. I made almost a half dozen visits to the courthouse, all of these on days when JDN cases were on the docket. I was not able to witness a single case that went to trial. Witnessed some defaults and extensions on cases, cases that had been moved and no one showed up for either side, and one attempt by LVNV to get a default that ended up being pretty humurous, (here is the link to that thread http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forums/there-lawyer-house/306097-observed-lnnv-funding-case-funny-stuff.html

Basically what I finally concluded, while very frustrated that I wasn't able to observe a case (again this was when I really felt things might reach the courtroom), was that these cases often never see a courtroom if the defendant does the pre-trial paperwork (anwser,discovery,etc) correctly.

Still better to be safe than sorry and take the time to observe if you can, obviously they sometimes go to trial.

Edited by fightemdontfold
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It was very wise of you to go to the court and observe. One of these days, I'm going to find a case in which the Defendant has an attorney representing him/her at an MSJ hearing. I'm curious to see how the defense attorney would oppose the MSJ. It would also be interesting to see the interaction between the 2 attorneys.

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