If you find yourself up against a lawyer who won't stop rattling off legal citations or won't let you get a word in edgewise, you'll have to stand up for yourself. Tell the judge that you are representing yourself without a lawyer because you can't afford or justify the expense, and that you'll rely on the judge to apply the correct law and reach the right conclusions. Many judges will make an effort to keep the proceedings comprehensible to a self-represented party -- and will take steps to rein in an opposing lawyer who tries to take unfair advantage.
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.
Whether you have been sued, or are planning to sue, you can win your case at various stages of the litigation. You must understand the law as well as the applicable procedural rules. You will win a case if you can show that your opponent missed a filing deadline, has no legitimate cause of action, spoiled or destroyed evidence, or doesn’t have strong enough evidence to win at trial.
LII was established in 1992 at Cornell Law School by Professor Peter Martin and Tom Bruce with a $250,000 multi-year startup grant from the National Center for Automated Information Research. The LII was originally based on Gopher and provided access to United States Supreme Court decisions and the US Code. Its original mission included the intent to "carry out applied research on the use of digital information technology in the distribution of legal information,...[and t]o make law more accessible." In the early years of LII, Bruce developed Cello the first web browser for Microsoft Windows. Cello was released on 8 June 1993. In 1994 LII moved from Gopher to the Web. Since 2007 the IRS has distributed its IRS Tax Products DVD with LII's version of 26 USC (Internal Revenue Code).
Many people presume that judges issue rulings in court based simply on the facts at hand, without public opinion playing any role at all. However, history tells us that how judges read laws and constitutions very much reflects where public opinion is (or, at least, what they think the public will accept). Leading up to the final Supreme Court marriage victory, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview that “there hasn’t been any major change…in which there wasn’t a groundswell among the people before the Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on the inclusion in the equality concept of people who were once left out.”
A criminal case may in some jurisdictions be settled before a trial through a plea bargain. Typically, in a plea bargain, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge than that which was originally brought by the grand jury or prosecutor. A defendant who goes to trial risks greater penalties than would normally be imposed through a plea bargain.
Certain types of cases can only be heard by judges. In many cases, however,either party hasthe right to request that the case be heard by a jury. Most people representing themselves will do better in front of a judge than a jury -- jury trials are more complicated for a variety of reasons, and presenting your case to a judge will make your job quite a bit easier. However, if your opponent requests a jury trial, you will have to deal with a jury, whether you want one or not.
It's also important to remember that your attorney understands the litigation process in a way that you don't. While you're a foreigner in the legal realm, your lawyer lives there. So, it's worth paying careful heed to your lawyer's advice. If you don't understand something, ask probing questions. However, always keep in mind that your lawyer has extensive professional training and experience in these matters.
Gillnet Restrictions: In Oregon and Washington, the NSIA was involved in new rules that changed the allocation of Columbia River fish for commercial gillnetters and put in motion a phasing out period of gillnet use on the main channel, shifting the commercial fishing to off-channel hatchery sites. These decisions have led two lawsuits which are taking resources from the NSIA and we need your help to continue this effort.