Legal cases, whether criminal or civil, are premised on the idea that a dispute will be fairly resolved when a legal procedure exists by which the dispute can be brought to a factfinder not otherwise involved in the case, who can evaluate evidence to determine the truth with respect to claims of guilt, innocence, liability, or lack of fault. Details of the procedure may depend on both the kind of case and the kind of system in which the case is brought - whether, for example, it is an inquisitorial system or a solo
The state caused my mother to die three months after they took her from her home and placed her in a nursing home, where she refused to eat and developed a giant bed sore. I have the evidence. I had the funeral home take pictures of her body. She weighed only 85-90 pounds all her life. When she died in the nursing home, she barely weighed 60 pounds. Before they took her from her home, the only physical problem she had was slight dementia. The trauma caused her to stop eating.
During your trial, you'll probably give your own testimony, question witnesses (both those who support you and those who support your opponent), and present arguments about why you should win the case. To keep track of the questions you want to ask, the points you want to make in your argument, and the facts you have to prove to win the case, put together a trial notebook. You can use a simple three-ring binder with tabs for each section. For help putting together your notebook, seeRepresent Yourself in Court, by Paul Bergman and Sara Berman (Nolo).
Once you know the elements you'll have to prove to win your case, you can figure out what types of evidence will help you prove each key fact. However, not every kind of evidence can be presented in a courtroom: Complicated rules of evidence determine whether a particular document, statement, or item is admissible in court. Although you don't have to master every detail of these rules, you should do enough research to make sure that you'll be able to present the evidence you need to win.
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.
Ensure that all media moments get maximum media coverage. Oftentimes, state LGBT groups simply didn’t have the capability to shape an opportunity for the press, pitch the story, and secure solid coverage in print and broadcast media. As a result, Freedom to Marry created an in-house capacity to do just that. We’d work with local organizers and attorneys to shape opportunities and maximize likelihood of coverage. In certain states, like Wyoming, this resulted in several strong, front-page stories in the state’s most important newspaper as we rolled out a list of prominent Republicans and clergy who were in support of the freedom to marry. We’d ensure that signers onto amicus briefs who we knew were newsworthy were available to speak to the press, sometimes holding media calls with key amici and other times offering exclusive stories to key outlets. And we’d work closely with the legal teams, local reporters covering the legal cases, and editorial boards to ensure they had access to attorneys and plaintiffs at key moments (deadlines for filing briefs, lead-up to oral arguments, etc.), had the chance to ask questions, and understood our side of the case. And in every situation, once we’d secure a news story, positive editorial, or powerful broadcast piece, we’d amplify it through our Digital Action Center.
In 2015, an investigation commissioned by the UT System concluded that then-President Bill Powers sometimes ordered that students touted by regents, legislators, donors and other prominent people be admitted despite objections from the admissions office. Powers said he always acted in the university's best interests, and it is an open secret that presidents of public and private universities sometimes put a thumb on the admissions scale.
Two-thirds of the cases accuse the Trump administration of violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a nearly 73-year-old law that forms the primary bulwark against arbitrary rule. The normal “win rate” for the government in such cases is about 70 percent, according to analysts and studies. But as of mid-January, a database maintained by the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law shows Trump’s win rate at about 6 percent.
It would have taken six or seven months to get exact numbers. But every expert we talked to agreed that the volume was much higher for the Trump administration. The question then became why. As I wrote in an earlier story, when the losing streak started, it’s kind of like relationships. When one or two don’t work out, you can plausibly blame the other people. When the numbers mount, you have to think, maybe the problem is me, that is, maybe I’m doing something wrong.
Litigation was the pathway to the freedom to marry in many states. It often takes a judge to challenge prevailing assumptions (and even prejudice) that political decision-makers such as legislators or voters may be more unwilling to overcome. Early on, we won in state courts, first in Hawaii in the 1990s, then in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and Iowa. Later, we won in federal court, first in California, then in Utah, Oklahoma, and beyond, all the way up to the Supreme Court. In total, 25 of our final state victories (aside from the 13 final states we won at the U.S. Supreme Court) came through judicial rulings – 5 in state court and the rest in federal court. Most of these court wins came through our movement’s legal arm – the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights – while a significant share were initiated by private attorneys and assisted by growing numbers of law firms eager to join in the progress. Several of these victories, though, were stripped away by political attack, and most of them would not have happened had we not built momentum in public understanding and even the politics of the marriage debate, creating the climate for the courts to rule in our favor and ensure that the public and elected officials would accept the outcome.
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During discovery, both parties also may issue subpoenas to third-party witnesses if other individuals who are not part of the litigation nevertheless have information that may be necessary to the case. For example, if you are suing someone for harassing you, you may need phone records to show how many times a day the person called you. To get those phone records, you would issue a subpoena to the phone company.
When a final judgment is entered, the plaintiff is usually barred under the doctrine of res judicata from relitigating any of the issues, even under different legal theories. Judgments are typically a monetary award. If the defendant fails to pay, the court has various powers to seize any of the defendant's assets located within its jurisdiction, such as: