Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Justices pen letter to the editor

4/3's PJ Kathleen O'Leary (aka KO) and 2/7's Justice Zelon have a letter to the editor in today's DJ responding to a recent article about pro pers (Before Pro Pers in Legal Malpractice Cases, Friday, April 10):
A recent article about pro per parties is sadly based on assumptions not supported by the realities of today's litigants. Most self-represented litigants are not vexatious litigants without a case. Instead, the vast majority are individuals who cannot afford the legal fees necessary to defend their rights, and are left to handle their cases alone. ....
Moreover, it is not the policy of our courts, nor should it be that of the bar, to "contain" or "corral" our fellow Californians who are left without representation. It is the duty of the judge, explained in the Canons of Judicial Ethics, to "manage the courtroom in a manner that provides all litigants the opportunity to have their matters fairly adjudicated." All who appear in our courtrooms should be respectful of the justice system. Fair treatment and respect should be afforded to everyone, regardless of their representation status. All those who seek justice should also seek to ensure that the matters in which they are involved are determined fairly.