My husband, who happens also to be my dearest friend, has been involved as a Plaintiff in a law-suit with his thieving partners for approximately five years now. The really sad part is that one of the thieving partners also happens to be his younger brother whom my husband dearly loved and looked up to, almost to the point of worship. Well to make a long story short,...after years and years of bickering and dickering between parties which went on constantly all through the long drawn out pre-trial motions and discoveries (which in fact the defendants are in non-compliance with and are about to get hit with a motion to compel) and after all those years we finally got it down to where we had a trial date set and a week or so before that date my hubbies lawyer came up missing! He was unresponsive to our calls and emails which was not typical for him. We simply could not locate him by any means so one day I decided to call the NY State Bar Association to see if they could help. I explained to them the situation and when they asked what was the lawyers name and I told them, they "er'ed" and ah'ed and "oh'd" and "Umm'ed" a bit before they finaly confessed what must have been an embarassment to them and their profession as a whole, as they told me this about our lawyer; that he had been permanently disbarred from practicing law in NY and was currently in jail serving a six-month sentence! Have mercy!
So, long story short, due in part to the partnership thievery, hubbie is going through some economic hard times and has even had to file a Chap 13 to save his home. He is unable to afford an attorney to replace the one that went to jail, and he now is caught up in the nighmare senario of having to face going to trial without a lawyer and NOT A CLUE as to what to think, say or do, or expect, and absolutley NO understanding of the process or "legaleze" at all! Anyone who has ever faced that prospect of having to represent themselves in court unwillingly or unwittingly knows what a terrifying feeling that can be, particularly when your adversaries have an endless supply of money and a team of high-fallootin lawyers to represent them! So, my heart goes out to poor hubby and I myself am in a quandry about what to do. I hate to stand by and watch as he gets screwd not only by his thieving partners but by a court system that would allow him to proceed un-represented by an attorney and "in ignorance" of the law! While I dont like to sound too much like I am "blowing my own horn," but I do feel however that I know a little more than your average bear about the law, the legal system and the whole dam criminal & civil judicial processes, but what good does it do me (or him) if, because of the "UnAuthorized Practice of Law" (UPL) thing,...I cant even advise him of what to do! I could however, in all confidence of staying well within the laws, tell him the story about "someone I knew" in a similar situation as him,....and what they did about it, and that "someone" just happened to be me! I told him about the time I filed suit against the City of Troy & the Troy Police Dept for harassment and infringment of several of my constitutional rights, and of my successful experience of "compelling" the courts to appoint me an attorney based on my inability to afford representation. I told him how, once after I had filed the case, and we were proceeding into litigation, I wrote a letter/motion to the judge simply asking for assignment of counsel, and told how it worked for me. Bottom line is, ALL judges have the discretionary power to assign counsel to indigent parties "in a proper case," and all I needed to show was that I was broke and my allegations in the complaint had merit. Based on those two factors, assignment of counsel was had! Wa-la! Due process, Access to the Courts (Right to Redress Grievances) and Equal Protection are also served. We'll hubby must have gotten the hint as I caught him next morning writing a letter to the judge asking for an attorney to be assigned to represent him in his case. It was a very nice letter and I was proud he could write so well and I offered to type it up for him which I did. He wrote about his bankruptcy and all, and of the merit of his case,...(but of course the judge knew that already, or the case would not have survived all the motions from our adversaries to dismiss. Had not my husband been able to show merit to his case, it would not have been allowed to come even this far, but would have been dismissed upon the grounds of "lacking merit" or "no cause" to sue, no "standing," or "no basis for a claim," etc.,whatever means or legal "vehicle" they will use to dispose of a "futile" or "frivilous" case. Hubbys case made it this far thru the system, although prior to this terrible time, he did have "a pretty good" attorney,....who, by the way, as the judge also well knows, took the case on a contigency basis as he "smelled the money" to be made from it. We are not talking peanuts here. We are talking about my husbands whole financial future that he was supposed to derive from the profits of this (family owned) partnership business that his elderly father left (1/3) to him and (1/3) to his thieving brother (and 1/3 to one other)...not only were the thieving partners robbing hubby blind of his monthly dividends over the last dozen years or so, ...they are robbing him of his inheritance too. The "partnership" was a family affair bequeathed in partnership to hubby by his father who wanted him to have an income for life from the dividends that would be earned. Ha! If only he knew what was happening he would roll over in his grave, and no doubt in my mind, ream out the thieving brother/partner as well.
Now lets see, where was I? Oh yes, my hubbies humble letter to the judge asking for assignment of counsel. Well, yesterdays mail bought a reply, and I tell you I nevr cease to be amazed! It simpley is NOT good a good thing when judges intentionally lie to decieve a person or even worse, dont really have a clue about their own discretionary power! Here is what the judge said,....exact words; "Dear Mr. Jubic,..The Court does not have the authority or ability to appoint someone to represent you in this litigation." Well I'll be. Here is a judge that is either lying outright or doesnt know a thing about the discretionary powers granted to all judges in all courts of the state persuant to Civil Practice Law & Rules Art.(CVP) 1101 which is; MOTION FOR PERMISSION TO PROCEED AS A POOR PERSON which has been interperted by case law from the HIGHEST court to mean assignment of counsel "in proper cases" ..when necesary, "in the interest of fairness and justice." I did a brief on this subject when arguing my own case for assigment of counsel based on indigency, and I just mayhave to dig it up and use it again. Hope I can find it. That case was 10 yrs ago. Moreover, to add insult to hubbies injury, the judge failed to treat hubbies letter as a pro-se motion and therefore did not even afford him the consideration of a proper "legal determination" on which hubby could base an appeal! All he got was an informal letter which IS NOT a legal (appealable) decision. What is needed here is a proper "Decision & Order" on his request for assignment of counsel, at least so he could appeal. Without that, there is no "final decision" to appeal. What to do what to do to help hubby and stay within the (UPL) laws? Remember my delema now, I cant even advise him! What a monopoly the legal sytem has on knowledge! How can that be?
The thought had occured to me that the least hubby could do for himself was to write another letter back to the judge and ask for nothing more than a proper legal Decison on his previous request for assignment of counsel, and to let the court know he needed that for the sole purposes of appeal,...but how could I advise him to do this without going afoul of the UPL law? What to do what to do? My heart is bleeding for poor so-wronged hubby and my mind was smoking with ideas on how best to go about helping him to help himself without my breaking any laws. I almost went ahead and said "to hell with the UPL laws," and proceeded to do a formal motion for him myself, which of course, would have been illegall for me to do, ...still, I was willing to go ahead and do it for him rather than see him get screwed on his own, ..even if it meant my getting dragged off to jail for doing so. I believe it is still a misdemeanor,...what can I get, 6-8mos tops? A fine, which I cannot pay anyways. Good thing they did away with debtors prison a long time ago or that is where I would be sitting today! LOL. But then, just as I was starting in to do the work, I had an epithany, and it just came to me: there was a better, more sure way of helping him without going afoul of the UPl laws. I would simply have to invite myself into the case somehow, someway, as "an interested party." After all, we are still married and share financial concerns and interest. What effects his financial status also effects mine, for a number of reasons. Now how can I invite myself in? The answer I think can be found in CVP 1001-and/or 1002, which concerns a "Necessary" or "Permissive" Joinder of Parties. I think I shall go for both. Stay tuned to this station for updates. I have got to get this done very very soon now, before the next in-person hearing on Jan. 5th. I am going to take a break now but will be back soon with more about Joinders of Parties and how I am going to make myself a co-plaintiff in this, my hubbies case.