The rights of people come before the profits of lawyers. This
organization is for people who are having trouble getting justice in
court and are representing themselves pro se. It is also for people who
believe in restoring integrity and honesty to the judicial system and
make sure that lawyers and judges are required to follow their own
People before Lawyers is based on both self help and judicial reform. We
believe that every citizen has a right to have access to justice with or
without a lawyer, and at an affordable cost. We believe that it is
important for society that our courts be both fair and just, and that
lawyers and judges be held to the ethical standards as outlined in the
rules of court. We believe that lawyers and judges who fail to meet
these ethical standards should be prohibited from the practice of law,
as the rules of court require.
We also believe that the Internet has provided a wealth of legal
resources to help individuals who want to speak for themselves in court
and that we can share what we learned to help each other learn the law
and to effectively represent ourselves or to be informed so we can best
assist our attorney to represent us. That the law belongs to the people
is not a trade secret of lawyers and judges. We belive that access to
the law and legal information is a fundamental right and that it is the
duty of the courts to do make every reasonable effort to accommodate the
judicial needs of the people regardless of their level of legal skills.
What is People before Lawyers
The rights of people come before the profits of lawyers. This organization is for people who are having trouble getting justice in court and are representing themselves pro se. It is also for people who believe in restoring integrity and honesty to the judicial system and make sure that lawyers and judges are required to follow their own rules.
People before Lawyers is based on both self help and judicial reform. We believe that every citizen has a right to have access to justice with or without a lawyer, and at an affordable cost. We believe that it is important for society that our courts be both fair and just, and that lawyers and judges be held to the ethical standards as outlined in the rules of court. We believe that lawyers and judges who fail to meet these ethical standards should be prohibited from the practice of law, as the rules of court require.
We also believe that the Internet has provided a wealth of legal resources to help individuals who want to speak for themselves in court and that we can share what we learned to help each other learn the law and to effectively represent ourselves or to be informed so we can best assist our attorney to represent us. That the law belongs to the people is not a trade secret of lawyers and judges. We belive that access to the law and legal information is a fundamental right and that it is the duty of the courts to do make every reasonable effort to accommodate the judicial needs of the people regardless of their level of legal skills.
The courts exist for the sole purpose of serving the people and for no other reason. They work for us. They do not rule us.
How bad is it really?
It wasn't until I became involved in the courts myself that I realized how bad the judicial system in America really is. I had heard stories of injustice that were hard to believe. I assumed that I wasn't hearing the whole story and it can't really be that bad. I thought that there are a few isolated incidences where injustice might occur, thinking that no one is perfect. One naturally doesn't want to believe that the justices system is corrupt enough that is should be classified as a criminal organization. One almost has to believe that this is America after all and surely "they" would never let this happen. Boy was I shocked to realize that my worst fears were true.
Lawyers become judges and judges are lawyers. They take care of themselves. Judges in America are above the law. Who's going to convict a judge? Another judge? Not hardly! Judges have immunity and generally can't be sued. They can get away with anything and they know it. Therefore if they decide to break the law or break the rules of court, they just do it. No one is there to stop them.
Our system is supposed to be built on the idea of checks and balances where each branch of government has it's finger on the other two branches, so if one branch gets out of line the other two reel them back in. However, the judiciary is self regulating and only two of the three branches of government are part of the balance of power. Other than impeachment, the other branches have no control over the judiciary.
Justice for People or to Make Lawyers Rich?
The first thing though is to understand the problem and what it's all about. It is my strongly held conviction that the government is here to serve the people and not the people to serve the government. That the court system is here to provide justice for the citizens and not to give lawyers the opportunity to rape people using the courts as a weapon against the people. Judges are our servants, not out rulers. And this concept is supported in the Rules of the Supreme Court which states as follows:
From the preamble to
The Declaration of Independence starts with the words We the People. That's what America is about, it's about US. The court system is OURS. They are here to serve US. WE are not here to serve THEM. The courts are here for citizens to resolve our differences as quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively as possible. The courts are not here to suck the wealth from society and give it to lawyers. We must Stop Welfare for Lawyers.
People before Lawyers - What it is, and what it isn't.
The goal of People before Lawyers is to create positive change in the American legal system so that some day we can have a justice system we can be proud of. I want to see that day where judges and lawyers are respected for their wisdom and honesty. Where people can go for a kind of justice that serves both the needs of individuals and the needs of society.
People before Lawyers is not a right wing hate group to get people to hate and attack lawyers and judges. It is important to force oneself to realize that there's no purpose in just being mad or getting even. Although I'm inspired to take action based on my experience getting screwed over by the system, I am not starting a hate group here. Some of my best friends are lawyers. I am here to fix the problems and looking for chance that has to pass the ultimate test, "does it actually work".
I am however looking for the pissed off, the fucked over, the tired, the weak, and the screwed. It is time to rise up and take back what is rightfully ours. It is time to get up in their faces and demand in the strongest terms that we want change, we expect change, and we will succeed. We realize that there is a lot of people making a lot of money abusing the justice system and we are no longer going to stand for it. To symbolize your commitment to the cause of judicial ethics reform, I ask all of you to post a people before lawyers banner on your web site and link it back here.
I'm not against lawyers. I'm against crooked lawyers and the system that supports crooked lawyers.
Having said that, many honest lawyers are benefiting financially from a system that is unfairly biased in favor of lawyers and against citizens. These lawyers have gotten used to the privileges of power and are unlikely to want to give up their unfair advantages. Lawyers are part of the "Lawyer Culture" and they just don't see any problem with tying people up in court for years, unless of course they are the defendant. My point is that even ethical lawyers are not likely to support a movement to bring ethics to the legal system. Even though many of my friends are lawyers, a lot of them aren't going to like this.
I don't know how the system got as screwed up as it is. It's probably been screwed up all the way back you England where the courts were an extension of the monarchy. The judges served the King and the power of the courts were in the name of the King and were derived from the King's authority. Although it is easy to blame the current crop of judges and lawyers who participate in this corrupt system, they have little more power to fix it as we do. Any lawyer who insists on ethical standards of his fellow lawyers or judges finds himself in big trouble fast. Even though the rules of court require that lawyers report fellow lawyers and judges who are ethically compromised, in practice the lawyers with the highest ethics are the ones who are punished.
I want you to put this logo on your web page and link it back to this web page. I want to see People before Lawyers logos everywhere!
In order to better define what this movement is about, I want to list some of the core principles and beliefs that define what needs to happen and what the role of the Justice System in America is. I want to state clearly what we as the citizen owners of this country should expect our judicial system to be like. I have quoted part of Supreme Court rule 4, but I want to expand on that idea and create some sort of judicial bill of rights.
What can we do about it?
This is a big job. A lot of this corruption has been going on for centuries. The sins of the judiciary are practically cast in stone and the solution will entail reversing the way we think about justice and to create an expectation of judicial integrity that is so strong that the people rise up and throw off a culture of judicial monarchy.
Before the slaves were freed in America the culture of the time believed that it was OK that some people were forced to serve others. It was believed that a persons rights depended on the frequencies of photons reflected or absorbed by a parson's skin. Although on a gut level free thinking people knew that slavery was wrong, there was nothing anyone could do about it. It took a civil war to free the slaves.
Upon the authority and power vested in me by the Declaration of Independence, and acting as the voice of the People of the United States, I hereby give the judiciary notice that you will uphold the Constitution and the ethical requirements or we will rise up and throw you off and replace you with a judiciary that will.
I believe that the present state of judicial corruption is at least as engrained as slavery was 200 years ago, and that it is likely going to be as hard to reform as it was to conquer slavery. However, I am not saying that it's going to take 200+ years to make it happen. I think the solution is to use our brains and be smarter than our forefathers. We have tools they didn't have and with those tools we can create change much faster, and with less violence than they did. We have technology and information, and we can use that to do in just a few years what used to take hundreds of years. We can win and we can win fast and smart.
Using the Internet to make a Difference
The first thing that needs to happen is public awareness. Most everyone has had an experience where they've been burned and the system is ripe for change. It may just take a spark to set it off and I want to see that spark happen. The name People before Lawyers is a message in itself. What we need to do is put those words out in front of the public. The first level is to create a foundation of public awareness and public discontent with the justice system. We need to raise the public awareness that the time for chance has come and that there is a better way and to get the public to expect more from our judicial system. That's why I ask you to put a People before Lawyers banner on your web page and encourage others to do so.
As with the anti-censorship campaign that led to the defeat of the Communications Decency Act, the act of putting these banners all over the web with a link back here for more information will reach millions of people. Eventually it will make it into the news media and get attention on television and in print. And all you have to do to make it happen is to put the banner in your home pages. This banner tells the world that you support ethics in the court room and that America is a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people.
We can use the Internet for communication. We all have email and can send messages back and forth. I set up a People before Lawyers email list for us to share information. This can also be used to announce events and to exchange legal work. Remember this is a public list and you don't want to say anything that you don't want just anybody to read.
They're scared of the Web
I want to encourage all of you to set up web sites about your opinions and experiences with the legal system. As I am sharing with you what I have found that works, I need you to share with everyone else what works. The web is very powerful and the more information we have to go into court with the better our chances are. At least when we get screwed by the judges we'll know we're getting screwed. The more web sites we put up the more the world will be aware that there is a better way to do things and that we have an absolute right to courts that meet high ethical standards. We have the right to make the courts follow their own rules.
One thing that I've noticed is that the judiciary is scared of the web. The Internet is controlled by the people and is the heart of freedom. The Internet must always be in the control of the people and not the government. There are those who will argue that the Internet must be regulated in order to control crime. Freedom has a price and in order to be a free society we are going to have to accept that there will be some crime. But it is worth it to have some crime in order to be a free people. It's the only way we can keep the government from totally controlling our lives.
The government is like a garden. It requires constant weeding. We the people are the weed eater.
When judges screw us over and lawyers are allowed to cheat and steal, we can post it on the Internet for everyone to see. If they don't impose self discipline and self regulation then we will. We will drag their deeds out into the sunshine where everyone can see it and start to demand better. It is our duty as citizens to protect our freedom ourselves and to ensure that the government stays with the Constitution. We the People are the Fourth Branch of Government and if we value our liberties and freedoms we have a responsibility to act when the time comes to act, and that time is here and now.
Our most powerful tool to defend freedom is the use of the web. The control of technology must be by the people. I therefore endorse and encourage all of you to support the Electronic Frontier Foundation in their work to defend the rights of the people to control technology.
EMail them, talk to them, tell them what you want.
More and more government officials are online and have email addresses. These people can be reached as easily as anyone else on the web. You congressmen are online, senators, governors, and state representatives. These are the people who make the laws and can bring down the heat on the judiciary when they get out of line. Most of these email addresses can be found on your states web site. Many judges are online as well and even though they hate it, you can email them and tell them what you think. You can even bulk email them so that they all get your message.
Many people are shy about going up to these important people and telling them what you think. These important people are just like you and me and it's their job to know what you think. In fact, if you don't give them your opinion and tell them about some judge who screwed you over, you're cheating them out of an opportunity to serve society and impeach the offending judge. It's amazing how much change on person can create by just being in the right place at the right time and saying the right thing. But to make that happen you need to be there and ready to say it when you get your chance. Where is the right place? It's where the politicians are. And one place they are is on the Internet. You're just a few clicks away from making change happen.
What I need You to Do
You might be asking yourself, "Gee Marc, I really got fucked over by greedy lawyers in my divorce, but what can I do to help?" I'm glad you asked that question because there are things I need. Here's new my list. Thanks to Fred Burke, my first two requests for web art have been filled.
Summary of things to do:
NATION IN DISTRESS
Want to join Let Freedom
Another thing you can do is join the People before Lawyers Web List. This lets you be part of a circular list of people who believe that the rights of people come before the profits of lawyers. To join the ring, click on the flag below and follow the instructions.
People have asked me, "Marc, what can I do?" The above list is what you can do. It's a serious list and it will make a difference. Read the list and do what you can.
You can tell your story or add your comments. To enter our discussion system, Click Here. Your comments are posted immediately.
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