California civil Gideon

by Ted Frank on October 27, 2009

California has enacted the nation’s first “civil Gideon” law, providing free counsel to litigants in child custody and eviction cases. I’m quoted in the Wall Street Journal’s article, saying why that may not be such a good idea.

{ 11 comments }

1 A.W. 10.27.09 at 2:54 pm

Let me get this straight. Cali is broke. but they are paying for free lawyers.

Sorry, i am going to check myself into the nuthouse. clearly i am hallucinating. the world cannot be this crazy. Next you will tell me that the UN human rights commission has major human rights abusers like Libya on it. I mean either everyone else is crazy or i am, right?

2 No Name Guy 10.27.09 at 2:59 pm

Well, paying for this ought to take a page out of the standard lefty play book. How about a 70% tax on all contingency based attorney fees in excess of say…..5,000 dollars. Tort reform via the tax code……

3 Todd Rogers 10.27.09 at 3:36 pm

Single-payer (civil) legal services. I can see the billboards now: “Did your landlord piss you off? Don’t like late fees with your lease? You may be entitled to compensation.”

4 Doug 10.27.09 at 7:15 pm

I already ranted and raved on the WJS law blog. No point doing it twice. But I agree with no name guy. Sounds like a great way to pay for it.

5 throckmorton 10.27.09 at 8:32 pm

Why do the attorneys have to be paid? Why dont they have an attorney form of EMTALA? As physicians we have to care for patients who come into the ER regardless of their ability to pay. Why dont attorneys have to take the cases of anyone who shows up at the courthouse regardless of thier ability to pay?

6 Melvin H. 10.28.09 at 1:37 am

Why not just go back to the days when it was illegal for attorneys to advertise, especially on TV?

7 A.W. 10.28.09 at 9:40 am

throck

um, yeah there is a slight difference between medicine and law. if you don’t get medical treatment, you will often DIE. not so often with legal advice, and to the extent that your life is on the line ever, you do get free legal help.

also there is another matter. you can represent yourself in court in any case. now your chances of success are very low, but still, there you go.

And there is that little thing of the 13th amendment that prevents anyone from forcing me to help anyone for nothing.

8 A.W. 10.28.09 at 11:49 am

A.W.:

If you come to an ER with a non life threatening injury, you will still be seen and treated regardless of your ability to pay. If you have a fracture, an orthopaedic surgeon will be called. You can always treat yourself, and again why should attorneys be paid when physicians are not?

Also, are you suggesting that EMTALA is un -Constitutional?

9 No Name Guy 10.28.09 at 12:12 pm

AW – if only the courts would actually enforce the 13th…. I dream of the day. I’m no longer stuck paying socialist security (the biggest ponzi scheme of all), & welfare and medicare and medicaid to name the biggest wastes of my money. All of them take money (e.g. my labor) from me at the point of a gun (held by IRS SOB’s) and handed off to those who are to lazy to sustain themselves by the sweat of their own brow.

10 Dirk D 10.28.09 at 1:56 pm

“Also, are you suggesting that EMTALA is un -Constitutional?”

As a textual matter, perhaps. But the text stopped mattering a long time ago.

11 anonymous 10.28.09 at 5:24 pm

When a homeowners association sues individual homeowners, the defendant is paying for both the plaintiff’s attorney — through his regular H.O.A. dues — and his own legal costs.

I am not aware of any H.O.A. that provides for legal representation for individual homeowners in disputes against the board of directors or property managers.

Since H.O.A.s have the power of small governments, but are shielded as corporations, the homeowners they sue should not be provided with representation, unless they can afford it themselves (on top of what they’re already paying the H.O.A. to sue them).

The system encourages the homeowner with limited resources to agree to any settlement the plaintiff’s attorney offer, no matter what the H.O.A.’s claim is.

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