Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pro Se Handbook

The links below are NOT to be used as legal advice.

The words Pro Se, are just that, information you CAN use if you chose to go it alone in court.

I suggest you check with an attorney before you attempt to go into court alone...

But in case you need it here it is..


The Manual for the Litigant Filing Without Counsel


I. Introduction

II. The Five Required Elements of a Lawsuit

A. Real Injury or Wrong

B. Jurisdiction

C. Statute of Limitations

D. Immunity

E. Facts and Evidence

III. Representation by an Attorney: It's Important.

A. Alternatives to Going to Court

1. Arbitration2. Mediation 3. Settlement Conference

B. Necessity of Exhausting Available Remedies

1. Administrative Grievance Procedures 2. Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

C. Attorney Fee Sanctions and How They Apply to the Pro Se Litigant

IV. The Structure of the Courts: Should This Case be Filed in State or Federal Court?

V. Rules and Procedures for Filing a Case in District Court.

A. Procedures Found in the Local Rules

B. Procedures on Filing and Time Lines

C. Forms Index

-- Forms to be used by Pro Se Litigants--Forms to be used by Prisoner Pro Se Litigants

VI. Trial Procedures:

A. Pretrial Conference and Order

B. The Trial -- The Role of the Judge and Jury

C. Selection of the Jury

D. Opening Statements

E. Testimony of Witnesses

F. Motions During the Course of the Trial

F. Motions During the Course of the Trial

G. Rebuttal Testimony

H. Closing Arguments

I. Charge to the Jury

J. Mistrial

K. Preparation of Judgment

L. Costs

M. Satisfaction of Judgment

VII. Legal Research -- An Overview

VIII. Glossary Glossary

A. Common Legal Terminology Glossary

B. Commonly Used Foreign Terminology Glossary


JQ75 said...

Thanks for the thorough reference. There are pros and cons to representing yourself.

Be aware that some judges don't have the patience to deal with those representing themselves and may exercise subtle or open bias against the pro se party.

In my case, my judge denied my constitutional right to self representation and required me to either keep an incompetent lawyer or hire a new one, using the excuse that the case was too complicated due to a QDRO. It turns out that after almost one year of playing with it, and the lawyer outsourced it to a financial person (which I could have done pro se) that I still found two errors in it when it was presented for my signature.

I am weighing my options of an appealable error or malpractice.

The reason someone can do better Pro Se is because they care about the outcome, many lawyers don't, you are just another billing code. You pay a lawyer to remain calm in the face of total injustice (because they don't care like you do) and to know the little tricks and that they are friends with the right people.

dschmitta said...

From state of PA. First off, I am not a Saint. I made a mistake and was put into program for first time offenders which statutorily requires expungment by statute after completion. By local rules, this was supposed to have been initiated and carried out by program personel. I ot only ended up having to research and file all documentation myself, but, when it came time for the expungement hearing, which was basically a formality, the D.A. objected to this, using the reasoning that he was not the D.A. when agreement was made. The best part was that not more than 5 minutes before my case was called, a person on the same program (who was represented by an attorney), had his case expunged with not a word from the D.A. Makes you wonder since I was acting as a PRO SE participant,if the D.A. thought he wasgoing to intimidate or actually win. Well, I had case law to back up my position,not to mention the confines he faced with the statute himself.and he was thoroughly spanked by the Judge. But, what if I would not have known how to do this?> Most do not know about proper court filings,etc. The bias is unbeleivable, wrong and most of the time vindictive. Something needs to change for PRO SE defendants or justice will keep being denied time and time again. Thanks for letting me share.

Louise Uccio said...

I couldn't agree with you more!

If we don't know our rights they will take advantage of us every time!

It's sad.. but it is what it is- we MUST empower ourselves!

Thanks for commenting...