One Way to Convince a Judge to Appoint You Free Legal Counsel

Posted on April 9, 2018


Persuading a judge to appoint you free legal counsel in a civil case isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible, especially if the plaintiff of plaintiffs are seeking to have you incarcerated (for contempt of court, say). You have to be prepared to invest dozens of hours and to work at it daily. You have to write, and you have to write a lot. You have to draft as many legal motions as you can possibly find a plausible justification to file. These might include, besides a Motion for Appointment of Counsel:

  • Motion to Continue
  • Motion to Dismiss
  • Motion for Bill of Particulars
  • Motion to Quash the Warrant (if a criminal case)
  • Motion to Strike (the plaintiff’s exhibits, for example)
  • Motion for Medical Examination (alleging your accuser is batshit crazy and a danger to you)
  • Motion for Jury Trial

To quote a former attorney, you have to “paper the shit out of the thing.” You’re a bombardier whose mission it is to make it a bigger pain in the ass for the judge to deny you counsel and read your reams of documents than to grant you a lawyer (who’ll make the judge’s job a lot easier). For every legal case (or statute) you cite—and you should quote dozens—include its full, highlighted text as an exhibit attached to the particular motion to which it applies. Include all relevant evidence as exhibits, too. Remember, this is defense by blitzkrieg.

Your exhibits should be considerably longer than the “briefs” of yours that they’re appended to. Your Motion to Dismiss could accordingly exceed 100 pages. This is completely justifiable: You’re including full case law citations, because you’re not a lawyer, and you know the court can’t take it on faith that your citations are apposite. It’s not just a ploy, and there’s always a remote chance the judge will read your motion.

Don’t pad your filings like they’re sophomore essays. That won’t avail. Look for models online to use as templates, and try to be as precise and “lawyerly” as you can. Expect the judge to read what you submit, even though s/he won’t.

Judges enjoy an eider-down-and-satin comfort zone. Your object is to disrupt it by throwing a greasy wrench in the orderly, antiseptic workings they’re accustomed to.

By making this investment, besides causing a judge to groan, you contradict the impression immediately formed by judges who see you’re defending yourself (the phrase pro se is regarded with contempt by officers of the court). That immediate impression is that you’re negligible and that they don’t have to worry about being caught with their pants down if you appeal. You create the idea that you’re going to put up a fight, that you’re secure in your faith that the plaintiff or prosecutor is wrong, and that you will preserve your appellate rights and exercise them.

Don’t neglect to tell the judge that, either.

Chances are if the judge does consent to appoint you an attorney, s/he will summarily deny all of the motions you just sacrificed 100 hours and drove yourself to the edge of exhaustion to compose. Don’t be surprised or scowl. That was the payoff.

Copyright © 2018

*The author of this post has been serially prosecuted for 10 years, including three times in 2016. The plaintiffs sought that year to have him jailed in civil court and criminal court, and one of the monsters besides applied for a civil injunction. Both of the trial judges denied the writer’s numerous pro se motions (which fill a crate and were probably wholly unread) but granted him court-appointed attorneys. Restraining order cases are typically too accelerated to apply the advice this post recommends, and service of documents on the plaintiff is hairy. On the other hand, it never hurts to try provided you mind the no-contact rules. Legal process is supposed to be equitable (fair), and a judge may be sensitive to that even if s/he’s callused to everything else legal process is supposed to be about (like, for instance, telling the truth).