Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The New Journey.............. A Little Research......

Part One

I knew when I left the courtroom that day that I had research to do. I had been so focused on getting my paperwork filed and doing what the judge had ordered at that first hearing that I had no idea how to go about the next step in this case. I knew what that step was but that was pretty much it. As we left the court house, I told Dave I wanted to go straight to the law library, I was going to gather as much information as I could to see what the steps in this next process were so I could get to work on them.

I had already been to the law library on at least one occassion. That had been when I'd found out that WF had not been served. I'd known it was imperative to know where I stood on that issue before the actual hearing took place. It was at the law library that I met the other women who would be most helpful to me in this case, the law librarians.

Looking back I realize how much I didn't understand during my first trip to the law library. Even when I was there I didn't really know what I should be looking for, all I knew was what I thought I needed and that was information about that one little step in a journey filled with protocol, expectations and deadlines.

The law librarians handed me books and opened them to specific pages telling me how they got to those pages. I think that part went right over my head at the time. I read looking for the information I was seeking but really didn't grasp what resource I was using to get there, how the librarian had gotten to that page and how the resource applied to my journey.

It was only on this trip after our first hearing that I began to realize I needed a much better grasp of what I was doing and that here in the law library, I was expected to find that stuff myself. I could get help finding resources and brief explanations of how to use them but anything beyone that was up to me, particularly when it came to the answers. They were totally up to me.

I became aware an importnat resource was the court rules, and not just any court rules. I needed the court rules for the state of Washington. I also needed the local court rules for the Pierce County District Court.

While court rules have a commonality about them across the country, each court can make specific changes if they chose as long as those changes are within the framework of our constitution. When the court rules are modified to meet the needs of any court the final authority is at the level of authority farthest on down the line where a change has been made. There are national rules, state rules and local court rules and there are superior court rules and district court rules that rule the same chain. The last link in that chain is in the local court rules. If there is a change there, that is what must be done.

Court rules hold all of the basic information about the process. Where it starts and where it ends. The court rules tell deadlines and requirements to fulfill each step in the process. If you want to get a case through the court system, the court rules is where you start.

However, court rules can be vague too if you aren't an attorney. I can't even tell you how many times I asked "What if" only to be answered with "That's why you get an attorney. They go to law school to know those answers." No one is allowed to give you the answers only point you to a resource where you might find it. Talk about frustrating, I wanted to scream on more than one occasion and we will talk about those situations along the way.

This day with Wendy and Dave with me, I went through the books and figured out what I thought I needed on that day. Then they went to the copy machine and printed off the pages I requested so I could take them home to figure out how they related to my case. I was doing the best I could to find the right pages. Absorbing what was on them would have to happen at home.

At the law library there were also some books on strategy that really helped me too. Mostly the ones I saw at this time had to do with where evidence could be found and how to obtain it so it was still usable in court. We printed off all of those pages as well. I also wrote down the names, publishers etc of those books thinking if I could buy them that would be useful. As it turns out that idea was cost prohibitive for me.

I knew going in the next portion of the case really had to do with a process called discovery. Court battles on tv don't usually depict real life in the courts. Each side must provide for the other all their evidence so there are no surprises in court. That process is called discovery and there are very specific guidelines for how it is to be accomplished. If you don't provide evidence to the opposing side within the guidelines set, it cannot be used in court, no matter how pertinent. The only exception to that if I remember correctly has to do with rebuttal evidence.

Each trip to the law library I would reach a saturation point. I imagine everyone goes through that it is so complex but with my double vision, my saturation point would come fairly early. I would reach the point I could no longer comprehend what I was reading. Once I hit that wall there was no point in trying to continue.

I returned the last of the books up to the counter, giving my final selections to Dave and Wendy to make copies. They had a system going and the pages were racking up. The machine is a coin operated machine in which you put as much change as you want and it subtracts from your total as the copies are printed. Once done, you push a refund button and it spits out what's left. All I can say is it's a good thing my husband carries change, lots of it. I think we make near $15 worth of copies that day.

Once done we headed to Mickey D's for something to eat and then we really began discussing what had happened in court. I had been unable to shift gears before fearing I'd lose my thought process about what I needed next from the law library. Now I was open to hear what others had seen in court.

Dave didn't understand the importance of the replevin order, nor did Wendy, for our case. Neither of them seemed to think it meant much that it had not been granted and I suppose in the bigger picture of things it didn't. What was important was that the matter was going to trial and the final outcome would be determined there if someone didn't budge sooner.

Both Dave and Wendy were more impressed with how BG's demeanor had changed from when he walked into the court room and when he exited it. Dave had felt it had been nearly as rewarding as a sucker punch straight to the gut might have been. Although I think he would really like to have delivered that punch himself.

Wendy had had a better view of what had gone on between BG and his attorney throughout the proceedings. She validated my perceptions of BG and his attorney had been accurate. BG did not walk out of the courtroom the confident, arrogant person he had walked in and the attorney walked out with a lot less faith in her client. We still had a long way to go but I was on the right track.

To be continued....................

Plaintiffs Reply

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  1. I'm glad you had help finding the books you needed, making copies, and just being there when you reached that saturation point. This has to be overwhelming.

  2. a huge undertaking , but as the results show , you were certainly equal to the task!

  3. I definitely understand about no one answering questions just telling you to hire an attorney. I always found that kind of funny that a policeman will enforce the law but not tell you what it is.

  4. I also understand what you mean by saturation point, I even found myself having different interpretations the more times you read the laws too.

  5. glad to hear you are on the right track

  6. ;Nice you have Wendy there as well as Dave, sure helps when you got someone to back you up.

  7. Horse, you're right, this was a very overwhelming experience.

    fern, it was a huge undertaking. I can't imagine the stress it would be to work such a job everyday but then I guess I did more than one job in this roll.

    Nicole, I don't know about police officers but even my friend, who is a lawyer, could not give me anything that was considered legal advice because she wasn't on retainer. She did help steer me the right directions though.

    I don't know that I got far enough into the laws to get to that point. The different interpretations I was referring to was about the statements of BE and WF. That's how vague they were and by this point it was so clear they were lying, I didn't now what they would use to substantiate their representation of things.

    sally, thanks, so was I. That wasn't always the case though.

    smazourek, yes, I feel the same way. Those women were so gracious. It was awesome.

    Crystal, I really appreciated the effort put in by both of them, that's for sure. They did make things easier for me too.

  8. That's a lot of research but worth it in the end. If you weren't well prepared it could have gone bad in court.

    It's too bad it's not like the old days where Dave could have punched his lights out and he wouldn't have to worry about being sued for it.

  9. I have got some reaing to do to fully understand the LARGE taski ahead of you, but wow...I have to hand it to your for going for it and hitting the "saturation point" each time. So glad you have help too. Blessed you are in this crutial time.

    What GHM said too!
    Praying for all your tasks to be enlightend and avenues to be opened~

  10. One of the guys I worked with wanted to become a lawyer and sometimes I would help him with his studying. The law is so convoluted that my head would hurt after a short time. I did not know that a lawyer could not give advice unless you retained them.

  11. Arlene, Dave is pretty laid back. I'm not sure he really would have punched him. If he did, it probably wouldn't have been good because BG is much bigger than Dave, hence the BG - big guy. But I sure do understand the sentiment. I know Dave felt like punching him on more than one occasion throughout these times.

    KK, thanks for the support, it was a rough time. I'm sure glad it's over and all that's left is telling the story.

    Ms Martyr, my head has done its share of pounding over the law and it's terms. I understand they must be written that way to cover all the possibilities but it does make it hard to figure out sometimes.

    Yes, that is my understanding that lawyers are not supposed to give out advice unless they are on retainer. However, I recently read that it is possible to hire lawyers as legal coaches. I haven't found one who would work under the auspices however, but at least there seems to be a provision for that.

    One of my blogging friends is an attorney. Some questions she could answer for me and other things she would point me to a location I would find the information. Even that kind of input was very helpful.

  12. I admit I like hearing about your horses more than the legal story, but, my goodness, you are amazing. My hat is off to you for your strength and conviction in standing up for your rights.

  13. PWF, thanks, I appreciate that. I will get back to horse stories I promise. I'm actually working on some now so they don't get lost because of this series.