Balancing the Scales of Justice for Pro Se Homeowners

The Pro Se Problem

Posted by on Jan 26, 2012

The Pro Se Problem

Recently I received an email from Jurisdictionary titled, ‘The Pro Se” problem from Dr. Graves (Developer of Jurisdictionary).  Naturally this caught my attention since I am a pro se and wondered what he meant by “problem”?  Given the current economic climate – especially the loss of income compounded by escalating mortgage payments – more and more people are being forced to fight for their rights as pro se (Latin for “on one’s behalf”) and we are legally entitled to do so.   So what did he mean by problem?

Dr. Graves asked a simple question – “If you and friends were playing a game of basketball, and some bystander wanted to play but didn’t know the rules … how would you feel when he or she kept fouling and arguing he or she has a right to do as he or she pleases because she doesn’t know the rules?”   It would make for a tense and unpleasant game; but this is not a game and losing goes way beyond embarrassing, it can mean the difference between keeping your home and losing it.

Jurisdictionary® is an excellent tool for understanding the basics of the law and how a lawsuit proceeds. (Click here for a free lawsuit flow chart from Jurisdictionary – go to upper right corner, enter your email and immediately receive the flow chart).  That is just the beginning and the sooner you get the basics down the quicker you can focus on the “meat” of your legal arguments and how to argue them so you can win.  Here is a quick guideline of what you need to know (understand) so that you can use the “rules” to your advantage instead of letting the opposition (and Judge) clobber you.

1) Understand the basic flow of the legal proceeding and the terms.  (i.e. Complaint, Answer, Demurrer, Pleading, etc.)

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2) Download and read the “local” rules for the court you will be filing in.

3) Write down a “legal strategy plan”.  Enter the date you plan to file your complaint/answer and enter into the plan the estimated dates that documents are due (from you and from the opposition).  These dates will change based on the filings and court’s schedule but you will have a sense of when things need to be done and filed. It would be a good idea to also write down what you expect the costs to be (filing, service, copies, certified copies of documents, etc.)  Make sure you include dates for your discovery plan!

3) Write down an overview of your situation, then identify the areas that you believe the law may have been violated.  (If you are not sure, refer to our post ”California Statutes and Cases for Consideration” and “Issues in Flux – Part One and Part Two” which covers four California statutes and the Federal Debt Collection Protection Act  that are being consistently violated by the foreclosing entities).

a) Write down the statute

b) Write down the specifics of your situation

c) Now compare your situation to the statute and write down how the statute was violated, detailing the violation.  (My Notice of Default did not contain a “date”, or it contained “if any”, or there is no assigment of deed of trust to the foreclosing entity, etc.)

d) Write down the documents that demostrate the violation and/or people who witnessed the violation.

e) Write down what relief you are entitled to because of that violation (When researching the Statute in Nolo or Onecle they both should explain what relief can/may be granted)

4) Now go to Google Scholar (or whatever site you use for case research) and research other cases where homeowners had the same issue.  (Yes, we do have an eBook on how to use Google Scholar for Case Research).   Make sure to shepardize your cases!

5) Now write your pleading (Complaint and/or answer)

This is just the beginning…if you purchase Jurisdictionary then following articles on discovery, arguments (written and oral), etc. will make much more sense to you.  It is an investment that will last you a lifetime.[/ismember]

The Pro Se problem that Dr. Gaves refers to  – ”not knowing the rules” — can be resolved.  It is not rocket science but it will take time (his course is 24 hours then add time for the above steps I have outlined).  We as American’s have a constitutional right to stand up for ourselves in a court a law – whether we our defending ourselves or holding another accountable for violations of the law against us.   The Pro Se problem is when we enter into the court, scared out of our minds because we don’t know the rules, afraid that we will lose.  And you will if you have not done your homework.  So do your homework, be prepared.  You can do it!



God Bless America,



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