"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


TL;DR is an abbreviation usually used in Internet communications which stands for "too long, did not read".

It's also appears to be a policy of the American courts (in my experience as an attorney, and my practice spans several counties in the State of New York, multiple courts and federal courts, too).  The policy is - do not put too much into your pleading, or it will simply not be read.

Nothing is wrong with making your pleadings concise, precise and persuasive.

Yet, "concise" does not always mean "short", and it does for courts.

Courts expect you not to be concise, they expect you to be short, because they do not have time to review your pleadings, no matter how important they are - if they are too long.

Sometimes a lawsuit involves a lot of parties and a lot of claims against those parties.

NOT putting those claims into one single lawsuit, if the claims are related, is sanctionable as "duplication" of litigation.

PUTTING those claims into one single lawsuit may result in losing a right to adequately present each and every separate claim to the court - because of the court's page-limit/font size/ required structure of the pleadings "local rules".

What is even more interesting is that the government defendant's attorneys are sitting on the "Local Rules" committees of federal courts "helping" the courts define the rules in such a way that they practically block civil rights defendants' ability to adequately present cases to the court on Memorandums of Law and on further on on appeals.

Yet, the TL.DR principle works not only in federal courts, it is universally used everywhere.

Judges hire interns or direct the law clerks to write summaries of cases - and read only those summaries out of a voluminous case.

The word "voluminous" has become a swear word in judgespeak.

 Imagine that you have a criminal trial and your defense is restricted in how many witnesses you can present, and that each witness can only speak for 2 minutes max.

Your defense is thus restricted into what can be spat out in those 2 minutes.

Approximately the same happens in motions and on appeals where your number of pages is severely restricted.

Constitutional issues are notoriously complex to present to the court.

It is notoriously complex to overcome the so-called "presumptions of validity" of statutes.

Courts are notoriously frowning upon any claims of unconstitutional conduct by the government, so you need to really explain to the court, with references to the record, legislative history of a certain constitutional provision, history of discrimination on a certain issue, history of discrimination against your particular client, references to case law, treatises and law reviews, to persuade the court that a constitutional violation, indeed occurred.

That takes time.  That takes volume.

Some cases, like foreclosure cases, especially where the suing plaintiff's name is half the page, it is some kind of a Bank a/k/a Trust a/k/a Asset-Backed Certificate Z thing, and where issues of standing (the chain of title to the mortgage and note) are an issue (and they are an issue in practically every single foreclosure brought in New York courts, at least that is my practice), you HAVE to go through a large number of documents, received from discovery, received from the clerk's office, lawsuits against that particular "Bank a/k/a Trust a/k/a Asset-Backed Certificate Zillion" thing to show to the court why exactly this monster name does not have standing to sue your client.

In state foreclosure proceedings, there is no page limit requirement for motions or oppositions to motions.

Yet, the TL.DR rule comes to the fore in those proceedings anyway, because judges have too large of a caseload to be able to look through your case thoroughly, which begs the question - why then pretend that they looked at all and that you had "access to justice"?

Access to a negligent and hurried judge who only read a half-page jist out of a 4-inch binder of documents is not true access to justice (it may be a hyperbole as to some cases, in some cases you truly have to present large volumes of documents and comments on them).

And the judge, elected by the people to hear and resolve their grievances, must have the competence and the patience to actually review all of that, because the outcome is - whether a person in front of the judge will or will not keep his home, with his or her family in it.

Application of the TL.DR policy is unacceptable here - as it is in any other court case.

Yet, that policy is pervasive in courts, and in law schools professors insist that the "future lawyers of America" water down their arguments to the 8th-grade level so that the judges on the bench "in a fast paced environment" are able to comprehend it.

Well, some issues simply cannot be watered down to the 8th-grade level.

And then it will be blamed on you - and your client.

And that situation should be changed by a court reform.

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