A little respect goes a long way in the courtroom, particularly when you are representing yourself. Address the judge as "your honor," not as "Judge Smith" or "Mr. Smith." Try your best to be polite to your opponent, not demeaning or petty. Showing respect for people and procedures in the courtroom will help you gain the respect of the judge, which will make your day in court a more pleasant experience.

Tell the story behind the litigation: At the heart of litigation efforts are stories of injustice to real people.  Our campaigns have sought to use the emotional resonance of the injustice of real stories as crucial ways to make our case and grow support.  Edie Windsor in the DOMA case was a compelling figure – and with a smart media strategy behind her, her story became a face of the injustice of DOMA and the need to dismantle it once and for all.   While the media loves covering the ins and outs of the court process and politics, what moves hearts and minds are people’s actual stories. It’s certainly wise to elevate the story that’s being discussed in the litigation.  It’s also wise to identify and amplify similar stories of injustice in the state and across the country similar to the story being considered in court.   
Residents use light rail during the afternoon hours in downtown Phoenix. Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith says he hopes to fix the light rail’s public image by implementing a new code of conduct that prohibits unruly behavior and gives light-rail security guards more flexibility to remove passengers. Valley Metro says there has been an increase in bad behavior on the light rail — actions that don’t rise to a criminal offense but do cause other passengers to feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Nick Oza/The Republic
Whatever your case is about, I can't emphasize enough for you to take a morning off from work to go watch some cases in court. You'll eliminate some fear of the unknown, you'll start to see that attorneys go through a similar set of procedures that you are just as capable of performing yourself, and you'll get a feel for how to talk to the judge and those who might be in the same room as you.
Your theory must also be based on the law. For example, if you are accused of deliberately crashing into someone’s car, your theory of the case may be that the victim was negligent when she backed into the road. Unfortunately, the plaintiff’s negligence will not relieve you of liability if you deliberately hit her. Therefore, your “theory of the case” could instead be that you didn’t deliberately hit her but only negligently did, or that she deliberately backed into you.
I'd been planning to spend a few days in a nearby city, so I hired a nurse to look after my mother while I was away. Two hours after I left, while I was still on the airplane, APS came to my mother's place and found her alone. The nurse I hired foolishly stepped out for some reason, and when she returned APS was there. They took my mother to a nursing home against her will.
The HOPE Court judge recognizes that high-risk offenders, who may also have co-occurring disorders, or who have failed in drug abuse treatment, fare better in HOPE Court when they are required to attend frequent status checks. Under Judge Bert Brown’s close courtroom supervision, offenders move from the streets to sober living. The program's success is based upon Judge Brown’s zero judicial tolerance, coupled with rehabilitation programs and alternative sentencing.
Without responding to their vacuous arguments, I noticed the court of "Schultz vs. IRS", US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, wherein it was ruled that a "Notice of Lien or Levy" is NOT a lien or levy. I argued that a lawful lien or levy must have a federal property seizure warrant signed by a federal judge to be valid. The IRS routinely skips this step. 
I have been reading Fight your Ticket about California laws for years and don't know what I would do without it. It has helped me win in court and know just what to ask the cop giving the ticket. It helps research and I recommend these books. Now my grand niece is getting her license and does not live in CA so I picked this up for her. I hope she reads it, it really helps get a handle on interactions with the police when you get stopped.
I have represented myself in various state and federal courts for years and have experienced firsthand just how unfair our system of justice can be against a person who decides to represent himself. Not long ago a federal judge looked me in the eye and told me just before the trial that I wouldn’t win. The judge did a lot of things during the trial to make it unfair for me, but I did win.
David Brown practices law in the Monterey, California area, where he has represented both landlords and tenants in hundreds of court cases -- most of which he felt could have been avoided if both sides were more fully informed about landlord/tenant law. Brown, a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Santa Clara Law School, also teaches law at the Monterey College of Law and is the author of Fight Your Ticket in California, Beat Your Ticket and others.

ESET, ESET software, ESET logo, ESET.com, NOD, NOD32, AMON, PERSPEKT, VIRUS RADAR, VÍRUSOVÝ RADAR, VIROVÝ RADAR, ThreatSense, ThreatSense.Net®, AntiThreat and/or other products or services of ESET mentioned here, are trademarks and registered trademarks of ESET Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks or trade names of their respective owners.


In civil lawsuits, particularly in  Small Claims Court, you can get a judgment by the Court for money owed you, but you may have great difficulty collecting the money. There are ways the Court can put pressure on the payee, with garnishment or a lien against the property. In these cases, you must be proactive in getting the court to use its power in any legal means necessary to get someone to pay, But, as they say, "you can't get blood from a turnip."
If the defendant chooses to file an answer within the time permitted, the answer must address each of the plaintiffs' allegations. The defendant has three choices to make, which include either admitting to the allegation, denying it, or pleading a lack of sufficient information to admit or deny the allegation. Some jurisdictions, like California and Florida, still authorize general denials of each and every allegation in the complaint. At the time the defendant files an answer, the defendant also raises all "affirmative" defenses. The defendant may also assert counterclaims for damages or equitable relief against the plaintiff. For example, in the case of "compulsory counterclaims," the defendant must assert some form of counterclaim or risk having the counterclaim barred in any subsequent proceeding. In the case of making a counterclaim, the defendant is making a motion directed towards the plaintiff claiming that he/she was injured in some way or would like to sue the plaintiff. The plaintiff in this example would then receive some amount of time to make a reply to this counterclaim. The defendant may also file a "third party complaint", which is the defendant's privilege to join another party or parties in the action with the belief that those parties may be liable for some or all of the plaintiff's claimed damages. An answer from the defendant in response to the claims made against him/her, can also include additional facts or a so-called "excuse" for the plead. Filing an answer "joins the cause" and moves the case into the pre-trial phase.
×