The Law Is An Ass
[I'm going to leave this up for a couple of days. It's a long one, but you need to read and absorb it. - HAC]
Old joke: An American and a Russian were comparing their respective systems of government. “In the U. S. A., we have guaranteed rights,” said the American. “For example, in America we have the right to freedom of speech.”
“So what?” said the Russian. “In the Soviet Union, we also have freedom of speech!”
“Maybe you do,” said the American. “But in the United States, we also have freedom after the speech.”
“Ahhhhh…” said the Russian.
No more, unfortunately.
Are you a White Nationalist or White separatist? Do you post to the internet, or publish a newsletter, or engage in any activity which the government, the Jews, and/or your Movement competition may find disturbing and inconvenient? Then the possibility is ever-present that you may be subjected to a malicious and baseless lawsuit, in an attempt to do an end run around the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution and shut you up.
This kind of malicious litigation has become so common in America today that it has even acquired a name: SLAPP - Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. I’m not making that up, by the by. These unconstitutional nuisance lawsuits really are called SLAPPs, and the term is now recognized legalese.
In our Movement, of course, the notorious Morris Seligman Dees is the monarch and exemplar of all SLAPPmeisters. However, more and more people who claim to be leaders or pre-eminent persons in the White Nationalist movement itself are using SLAPPs in order to undercut and discredit their competition and to silence public criticism (usually on the internet) of their personal misbehavior, their past records, their published work, their financial dealings, and their general suitability to participate in the Movement in a leadership capacity, or indeed any capacity. Transparency is the Movement faker’s greatest enemy, and he is entirely capable of using the law of the state he claims to oppose in order to lash out at anyone attempting to impose transparency and critical scrutiny on himself or on his activities.
What are SLAPPs?
Generally, a SLAPP is a civil complaint or counterclaim filed against individuals or organizations which arises from the exercise of their supposedly guaranteed First Amendment rights. SLAPPs are an attempt to do something which the United States Constitution forbids: criminalize dissent, or at least subject dissent to the control of government officials, i.e. judges.
In theory, that’s not supposed to happen in America. American citizens are supposed to have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and freedom to petition the government for the redress of grievances. Yeah, right.
In point of fact, the government, powerful corporations and institutions, and certain individuals within the White Nationalist movement who have a mysteriously facile access to the courts do not want anyone to exercise these rights, at least not at their expense.
It’s the Orwellian saw about “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” You have the right to dissent and the right to criticize, but not to dissent against or criticize anyone who can pay $200 per hour for an attorney. I’m not making that up, either. There is even a legalese term for this--it’s called “deep pocket.”
It goes back to the famous box described by the late John Tyndall, the box that the power structure wants to keep us all in. “You may exist, but you may not function.”
SLAPPs have been brought by everyone from corporations, real estate developers, government officials and individuals against any individual or community group who oppose them on issues of public concern or who publish commentary, usually on the internet, that discusses subjects the filers of the lawsuits do not wish to be discussed in public. SLAPP filers frequently use lawsuits based on ordinary civil claims such as libel, defamation, conspiracy, malicious prosecution, nuisance, interference with contract and/or economic advantage, etc. as a means of transforming public debate and discussion into the lawsuit format, where such discussion becomes censorable and controllable by government officials, i.e. the courts.
Ultimately, most SLAPPs are not legally successful, since they are usually based on absurd and bogus claims. This doesn’t matter. While most SLAPPs do not succeed in court, they all too often succeed in the primary goal of disabling and silencing the targeted group or individual.
This is because defending a SLAPP, even when the legal defense is strong, requires a substantial investment of money, time, and resources, which most White Nationalist defendants simply don’t have. In the American societal context, the SLAPP is one of the deadliest weapons in the arsenal of the rich and powerful, or even those who are merely sufficiently affluent to retain an attorney, against the destitute and powerless whose only voice is their personal computer or standing on the street corner with a sign. Always remember: someone who files a baseless and malicious lawsuit in order to silence a critic is not after any kind of result, such as a trial or a verdict. They are after the process itself.
We all have this tendency to think of a civil or criminal case in terms of a Perry Mason-like, Law-and-Order style trial with people in stylish suits making speeches and cross-examining witnesses and generally laying on the courtroom melodrama. Yet this is inaccurate; the chance that the victim of a SLAPP will get his day in court is slim. Only about ten percent of all civil litigation ever comes to trial. Almost always, one party or the other, usually the victim--er, defendant--caves in because of simple inability to fight a large and wealthy adversary any more. The spirit may be willing, but the wallet is empty.
“We Are Going To Bring You Into The System.”
When the late author and Gonzo journalist Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was having his Colorado home turned over for twelve hours by the local cops on a “he touched my titties” complaint from a ditzy (and, it turned out, bogus) female “journalist,” he asked one of the officers what the hell was going on. The cop replied, “Hunter, this is a lifestyle bust. The decision has been made. We are going to bring you into the system.”
This is the purpose of a SLAPP: to bring someone into the system, to pull them into the mincing, mangling machine which is the law in this country and thus prevent them from doing anything other than struggling and screaming to get out. The object of filing a SLAPP is to turn the victim’s life into one long nightmare wherein all time, effort, and above all funds of the targeted person or group must henceforth go towards “The Case” rather than the political, social, or internet activity which the persecutor finds annoying or inconvenient.
One of the first orders of business in a SLAPP is for the plaintiff to run weeping to the judge and seek a gag order to silence his critic while the lawsuit is sub judice, which is of course his main goal in filing the lawsuit in the first place. Since these obnoxious things can last for years, the plaintiff achieves his main goal of silencing criticism fairly quickly, and from then on, it’s just a matter of spinning the procedure out as long as he can until the defendant is bankrupted or throws in the towel in despair of ever obtaining any justice from a court system based on a cash register. Seizing the victim’s home is considered to be an especial coup, a la Morris Dees.
The result is a chilling effect on participation and open debate on important racial and Movement-related issues. What King George did with redcoats and the cat o’nine-tails, modern-day oppressors do with the attorney’s briefcase.
This process of abusing the law for dubious private ends began early on in this country’s history. One of the reasons that to this day Texas is one of the few states which can be described as even remotely defendant-friendly is that many of its founders like Sam Houston, James Burleson, and Jim Bowie were on the run from malicious litigation in their own states. This chilling effect is not limited to the SLAPP defendants. Other people refrain from speaking out on issues of public concern because they fear being sued for what they say or post to the internet. A SLAPP is very much pour encourager les autres.
The filing of a SLAPP also impedes resolution of the public matter at issue, by removing the parties from the public forum, usually the internet, where facts and ideas can be examined. The person or groups being criticized are able to seize control of the debate and the flow of information, corral it, placing all discussion before the controllable environment of the courtroom, where inconvenient facts or ideas can be stricken from the record, or more likely simply never admitted at all. In a courtroom setting, only the alleged effects of the public criticism may be determined. Good luck trying to make a First Amendment argument in a civil suit!
The impoverished defendant who has no money for attorneys, paralegal researchers, private detectives to locate and subpoena witnesses, and expert witness testimony, is just plain shit out of luck. There is no legal aid for civil litigation, and no Constitutional right to counsel in a civil lawsuit. Not only that, but the judge will punish you for showing up in court without an attorney, as I myself can attest from personal experience.
Take my word for it. I am not making some kind of cynical joke when I tell you that the purpose of the civil courts is to generate huge sums of cash for lawyers; this is simply a fact of life. Those who refuse to play along, who refuse to mortgage their homes, cash in their 401-Ks, and withdraw their life savings from the bank in order to pay an attorney, are going to lose those things anyway when the judge rules against them in favor of the plaintiff who played by the rules and ponied up that $200 per billable hour.
As one attorney once told me, “People still cling to the idea that just because they’re in the right, that means they’re going to win in court. But the one thing has nothing to do with the other. The best and most reasonable Constitutional defense in the world is no good if the judge is simply going to ignore it.”
Nowhere is the cruel and unjust disparity between the rich and the poor more evident than in America’s civil courts. Litigation is a rich man’s game; the poor and Caucasian simply do not win in these courts. Not ever.
Every year, thousands of people are sued for participating in government, for speaking out on public issues, or for criticizing the behavior or the character of the wealthy and powerful, which for this purpose is defined as anyone who has the funds to hire an attorney. SLAPP targets have been sued for engaging in a wide variety of protected speech and protected expression activities, including:
*Writing a letter to the editor;
*Posting critical comments to the internet;
*Calling a public official;
*“Whistle-blowing” of all kinds;
*Refusal to be silent about some Movement Big Cheese’s past misbehavior;
*Reporting police misconduct;
*Refusal to climb on board various political bandwagons;
*Erecting a sign or displaying a banner on their property;
*Complaining to school officials about teacher misconduct or unsafe conditions in the school;
*Speaking at a public meeting;
*Reporting unlawful activities;
*Making witty jokes at the expense of some stuffed shirt;
*Testifying before Congress or state legislatures;
*Speaking as an officer of an active public interest group;
*Filing a public interest lawsuit;
*Attempting to dissuade women from having abortions.
As much as I hate to be beholden to lefties for anything, I have to admit that they have achieved one notable victory against malicious and baseless lawsuits, in California, at least. California has a statute that specifically protects people from SLAPPs. Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, which took effect in 1993, allows a judge to decide at the outset of the suit whether the SLAPP has a “probability” of winning. If the judge finds that it does not, the SLAPP must be dismissed, and the SLAPP target wins his or her legal defense costs and attorneys’ fees.
In other words, you don’t have the situation which exists in other states, where any vindictive crank who can write a four-figure retainer check or who knows how to read a legal form book can walk into the clerk of court’s office and file papers that will create a pointless and destructive zoo for the next 13 years. In California, there is a vetting procedure. A judge actually has to make a determination at the beginning of the process whether or not a lawsuit is bona fide, or whether it’s a piece of malicious and abusive crap.
How Do You Know It’s A SLAPP?
What is the difference between a SLAPP and a legitimate civil lawsuit?
First off, a SLAPP arises out of constitutionally protected activity such as speech, assembly, exercising a free press or media (which includes the internet), petitioning for redress, etc. Remember, anyone who files a SLAPP is trying to do something the Constitution says they’re not supposed to do, i.e. trying to create a special exemption for themselves, a special immunity from criticism or scrutiny to which they are not entitled. Anyone who files a SLAPP is, in effect, seeking to become better than his fellow citizens and get a court to approve this.
Secondly, a SLAPP seeks to enjoin or prohibit an individual or group from exercising a Constitutionally guaranteed right, at least within certain parameters which will preclude any interference, criticism, or critical examination of the person or corporation filing the lawsuit.
By guaranteeing the right of the people to protest, dissent and to criticize, the Constitution implies that others can be protested against, dissented against, and criticized. A good example would be the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798 where then President John Adams sought to protect himself against criticism and lampooning in the newspapers of the day, and which was struck down by the Supreme Court and repealed by Congress as invidious. Nowadays, instead of sending his goon squads to smash presses, Adams would send his attorneys to try and smash computers with their briefcases, so to speak.
The true legal term for SLAPPs is malicious prosecution, or abuse of process. A malicious prosecution is a criminal or civil lawsuit which is begun with knowledge that the case lacks merit, and which is brought for a reason (e.g., to harass or annoy) other than to seek a judicial determination of the claim. The use of the legal process to intimidate or to punish the person against whom the suit is brought is generally referred to as abuse of process.
In essence, the person or institution filing a SLAPP suit seeks a legal pass to do harm with impunity, the protection of the courts against any interference with whatever nefarious activity they are engaged in, and a legal prohibition against any criticism of their behavior or critical examination of their past or their character, which will enable them to do further harm without let or hindrance. By accepting and adjudicating SLAPPs, the civil courts have turned themselves into instruments of injustice and oppression. Surprise, surprise!
Third, a SLAPP seeks the personal destruction of the victim in the form of ruinous legal expenses, the deliberate infliction of stress and suffering on the defendant and his or her family, the vampire-like suction of all the victim’s time and effort and money into “The Case”, and in the end what amounts to the complete legal disenfranchisement of the victim in the form of a civil judgment which imposes conditions on the victim’s civil rights and Constitutional freedoms such as to render him or her effectively a second-class citizen.
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “The law is supposed to be a shield, not a sword.” Obviously, the filers of SLAPPs and today’s civil courts who allow the abominable things disagree.
A classic example of this would the be infamous “consent decree” of 1986 which Glenn Miller signed in his drunken despair, in a vain effort to get Morris Dees off his back. Miller either didn’t read it or was in no condition to understand it, but in order to end the endless, tormenting lawsuit he in effect signed away all of his Constitutional rights as an American and made Morris Dees his legal guardian. The rest is whiskey-sodden history.
How to Protect Yourself from Being A SLAPP Target
1. Never Give Up. Remember, the object of a SLAPP is to frighten you away from exercising your Constitutional rights. It is important for anyone filing a SLAPP to know that they will not succeed and that your first priority will not be defending yourself from their malicious bullshit, but to continue the activity of your group or your internet column or whatever has driven the power structure mad to begin with. Virtually the one freedom we have remaining post-9/11 is a tattered vestige of freedom of speech. Use it! A Constitutional right is like a muscle; it grows flabby and weak unless it’s regularly exercised.
2. Know Your Legal Rights. If you’re fortunate enough to live in California (never thought I’d hear myself say that!) then you should become familiar with California’s anti-SLAPP statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16. This statute does not guarantee that you will never be the target of a SLAPP. However, it does mean that you’ve got a fighting chance, in that a judge will actually vet the bullshit lawsuit at the beginning of the process, not after you’ve already spent ten thousand dollars, and there is at least some chance it will be dismissed as meretricious crap and the filer hit with your costs.
3. Check Insurance Coverage. I didn’t know this myself until recently, but if you own your own home and carry homeowner’s insurance, check your policy for personal injury liability coverage. Some policies protect homeowners from personal injury lawsuits based on such things as defamation, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, etc. Consult your insurance company or an attorney to see if you may be covered. If your present policy does not cover you, ask about a rider which would extend coverage to potential SLAPP claims. What would have happened if the late Richard Butler had carried legal liability insurance on his Hayden Lake compound?
4. Understand the Limits. You are entitled to speak, so long as all of your statements are factually true. This means that while you can refer in public to, say, a case where A Certain Someone pled guilty in federal court to felony embezzlement of White Nationalist donations and gambling them away in riverboat casinos, you cannot accuse that same person of robbing a liquor store wearing a Bozo the Clown mask, if there is no evidence that he did so. In any case, there is so much misbehavior in the White Nationalist movement on the part of our self-appointed “leaders” that you don’t need to make things up.
You are also very much entitled to express opinions, draw moral inferences, and make moral judgments about the public conduct of other people, as inconvenient as they may find that. It’s the American way, what we’re supposed to be all about. You are not entitled to do things like make crank phone calls, vandalize property, slash tires, make death threats, send people bullets in the mail, poison dogs and cats, and all the other shining examples of Movement GUBU which adorn our annals. This is not freedom of speech. National Alliance and NSM members, please note.
The law and Constitutional precedent clearly state that you have the right to express an opinion—for example, my own opinion that a self-admitted embezzler and thief, and an alcoholic miscegenator who betrayed his friends, testified against them in court, and spent many years in the federal Witness Protection Program, are not men that we need leading our cause. You may be legitimately sued for false statements of fact, but not for statements of opinion. Well—technically speaking you can’t, anyway.
In actual fact, out here in the real world, if you state certain opinions about people who can write a four-figure retainer check, you may find yourself facing a $200-per-hour briefcase with no soul and no sense of shame. The right to stand in the public square and shout at the top of one’s lungs that the President of the United States is a son of a bitch is supposed to be the jewel in America’s crown, the one thing that makes us different from all other lands. In practice, if you do so the ‘droids in the silk suits and Gucci shoes will come and take you away to sunny Guantanamo Bay, where your brain will be washed squeaky clean.
What To Do When You Are SLAPPED
Rule One: If you find yourself the target of a SLAPP, don’t panic! It’s a more and more common experience these days, as bad men try to use the law as a sword to silence their personal enemies rather than as a shield to protect the right. You’re in good company.
The fact is that most Americans are terrified by the very sight of a lawyer’s letterhead in their mail box. Most Americans have had some sort of bad experience with lawyers in their life, through a divorce or child custody or criminal case, a will where the attorneys looted an elderly relative’s estate, an insurance or worker’s compensation claim where their lawyer was clearly bought off by the other side, something like that. Lawyers are like sharks in more ways than their lifeless, dead eyes. When they are in the water they are there for only one reason, to feed, and one’s immediate instinct when one sees the circling fins is to get out of the water as soon as possible. SLAPPers know this fear of lawyers on the part of the average American, and they use it, trying to sound as bellicose and threatening as possible, using big words that most Americans who went to public schools can no longer understand, etc.
If you are the target of a SLAPP, you may receive a demand letter from the lawyer representing the plaintiff which lists a series of conditions you must meet to resolve the matter before a lawsuit is actually filed. Generally this involves groveling in public in front of the plaintiff and his attorney. Often, the letter will demand a sum of money, an apology (generally public), your agreement to refrain from speaking out or participating in the future, your agreement not to bring a lawsuit against the SLAPP filer, or a combination of these and other things. Remember, part of the plaintiff’s objective is to humiliate his enemy in public and discredit him by distorting the facts, claiming that he “won” a lawsuit which his victim was in fact forced to settle due to lack of money to fight it.
Any idiot can score a touchdown in an empty stadium, but actually to brag about it? Now, that's just plain sorry.Most likely, the attorney will try to force you to sign a “consent decree” wherein you voluntarily give up your Constitutional rights. Never, ever sign one of these damnable things! If you do, congratulations, you just made yourself a slave. The Constitution says your rights are supposed to be “inalienable”. Yeah, right. Tell that to a civil court judge.
Consent decrees are “legally enforceable,” i.e. the tyrant in the black robe will send you to prison, sometimes without a hearing, if you violate the conditions of your self-imposed servitude to the plaintiff, or if the judge can be persuaded by the $200 per hour briefcase that you have violated those conditions. People who have never been victimized in this manner do not understand that in some ways a civil court judge has far, far more power than a judge in criminal court, where there are still a few tattered remains of due process and legal protection remaining for victims of the System.
The more likely scenario is that you will first learn of the SLAPP when you are personally presented with a summons or complaint at home or work. The big thing nowadays is to photograph and/or videotape the victim being served, not only for legal proof of service, but so the plaintiff (some of whom have more than a few loose screws themselves) can get his jollies at his victim’s rage and horror when he realizes that he is about to be dragged into the mangler.
Sometimes the plaintiff plays the tape over and over again, cackling like a loon, actually masturbating while he watches his victim. This has happened. Really.
The complaint will list the specific “torts” or wrongs you are alleged to have committed. Look for the legal jargon: words like “libel,” “slander,” “interference with contract,” etc. The summons is a notice, telling you that you have been sued; it will give a deadline (usually 30 days, but this varies from state to state) within which you must file a formal response to the complaint with the court.
In some states, the Clerk of Court very kindly attaches a little form letter to the original complaint outlining the procedure to be followed and telling you how many days you have to respond. In other states, you’re on your own. Make sure you know how many days you have to respond to the complaint; in some states it can be as few as 14 days. If you miss your filing date the SLAPPer can go running into court and ask for a default judgment against you.
You can, of course, ask for an extension of time from the judge to file your response, or if none has been assigned yet, from any judge in the court in which you have been sued. You will have to file a motion to do so, and unless you are a very quick study in the local law library you will almost certainly have to hire an attorney to draw up this motion in the proper form and argue for it in front of a judge. Don’t try to argue your own motions. If you do, the judge will punish you for not playing the game and for not opening your financial veins to pay an attorney.
Okay, at this point, you take out your checkbook. The leeches are about to begin feeding. Off of you. Please understand: the purpose of civil litigation is to transfer money out of your pocket and into the pockets of attorneys, and there are never any real winners except for the lawyers. Even “victory” usually means bankruptcy and financial destitution for years.
Yet as horrible as it is, if there is any way at all you can afford to pay an attorney, do so. Yes, I know this contradicts the advice I gave in The March Up Country. Well, one lives and learns.
Burn these words into your brain: the judge will punish you for showing up in court without a lawyer. You’re not playing by the rules. You are failing to let the leeches feed, and that is your purpose in all this as far as the court is concerned.
As far as the judge and the System is concerned, you are a teat to be milked and you will damned well shut up, stand still, and let yourself be milked. The judge can and sometimes will flat out tell you something like, “I’m giving you three days to come back here with an attorney.” In theory he’s not supposed to, but if he does, what the hell are you going to do about it with no lawyer to appeal his ruling?
If you attempt to explain that you have no money, he will tell you brusquely “That’s not my problem. Be back in this courtroom Friday at 11 A.M. and have an attorney with you.” Trust me on this. It happens. (An amazing amount of what transpires in a civil lawsuit depends solely on what kind of mood the judge is in that day. If possible you want to get morning court dates so he or she will not be so tired, and before lunch so there’s more of a chance the judge will be sober.)
Being sued, especially with a SLAPP, is very serious business. If you can get a good attorney who genuinely feels some kind of moral obligation actually to help his client (yes, there are a few such rare birds) he may be able to effectively end the litigation at the very beginning of the lawsuit, minimizing the emotional and psychological stress that can result from being sued, and saving you tremendous amounts of time and money.
To save yourself an endless round of trudging into lawyers’ offices and babbling out your story in a disorganized fashion to people who really don’t give a flying fuck except insofar as your trouble puts money in their pocket, it helps to create a neat written package of information that you can present to potential attorneys by mail or during your initial consultation. This written presentation should include:
*A brief cover letter which focuses on the key issues in your case, and states, specifically, what you would like the lawyer to do for you.
*A copy of the demand letter, complaint, or any other official document you received from the plaintiff or his lawyer.
*The names of any attorneys who may have advised or represented you in the case prior to your approaching this firm, and how to contact them.
*The names of the attorney or attorneys representing the plaintiff, and how to contact them.
*The names of important witnesses, if any.
*Key newspaper articles or other background information about your case and/or your opponents.
Selecting Which Lawyers to Approach
Check the Yellow Pages first. Rule out all attorneys with Jewish names or who run pictures of themselves and whom you can see are Jewish or non-White.
We are this society’s pariahs. There is no chance, none whatsoever, nada, zip, zilch, no way José, that a White Nationalist will get any kind of fair shake from a non-White lawyer, and if you retain a Jew then I hope the plaintiff crucifies you. Don’t do it, even if the Jew would take the case. It’s not funny, it’s not clever, and it’s not right. I know it always falls on deaf ears when I say this, but we should at least try to maintain some minimum standards of ethics and some half-hearted pretense of practicing what we preach, even if the asshole at the plaintiff’s table doesn’t.
Look for a lawyer who specializes in civil law as opposed to criminal, and who specifically mentions “torts,” which is the legal term for civil infractions. An attorney specializing in real estate closings, wills, or contract law probably won’t be much help. Many lawyers do both criminal and tort law, but what you need for a SLAPP is your basic ambulance chaser, who will work cheap.
Those big firms of Fortescue, Cabot, and Dingleberry with the huge mahogany-lined offices and carpet up to your knees charge on the same scale; you couldn’t afford fifteen minutes of their junior partner’s time and most likely they won’t touch a White racialist of any kind anyway, lest they become contaminated with racist cooties.
Do not even bother with the American Civil Liberties Union; they got burned badly after Skokie when all their Jewish donors faded, and they lost some of their own carpeted offices and had to go back to metal desks in storefronts, a fate ACLU attorneys would like to avoid in the future. In any case they will only handle things like court challenges to laws and ordinances, etc. They almost never take pure civil cases that don’t involve government in some way, because these cases seldom establish the kind of legal precedent, known as common law, that they’re looking for. Not to mention the fact that they’re almost all Jews or Trotskyites.
A better way to do this is word of mouth. The Roman emperor Tiberius once reminded his tax collectors, “I want my sheep sheared, not shaved.” Ask around among all your friends and acquaintances and see if they know any attorneys who have some juice down at the courthouse, and who will shear you rather than shave you, i. e. show some pity and not strip you of everything you own in bogus “billable hours.”
All too many Americans have had experience in these matters. Lawyers, by and large, are not nice people. They’re greedy, deceptive, dishonest, manipulative, and often sociopathic, but as in any profession, there are a few exceptions. Try to find one. Try to find out as much about your lawyer as possible through the grapevine. In order to make sure you don’t end up with Lionel Hutts from The Simpsons, you should ask the following questions:
*Is your prospective attorney hooked into the local System down at the courthouse?
*How is his track record? Does he actually go to trial or does he settle out of court all the time? (“You pleaded out all forty-nine of your cases,” says Demi Moore’s character to Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men. “Yeah,” replies Cruise, “One more plea bargain and I get a set of steak knives.”)
*Has your prospective mouthpiece actually won any cases?
*Is he golfing or fishing buddies with the judge? In the South, try to find a lawyer who goes to the same church as the judge, usually Baptist. Conversely, do he and your judge have some personal beef and does the judge hate his guts?
*Does your prospective attorney have a good relationship with the Clerk of Court and her staff? This can be absolutely vital. (A word for those who insist on pro-se: never, ever be rude to or alienate the Clerk of Court or anyone in her office. If the Clerk and her gals like you, you’ve almost got a free lawyer.)
*Is he accessible? Does he return phone calls and make regular appointments to keep his clients briefed? (You must accept that you will be billed for all phone and personal contact with your lawyer. That’s just the way the game is played. Under the best of circumstances, you are going to be squeezed until the money comes out of your pores to feed this shark.)
*Are you and the lawyer reasonably compatible? You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this person, and you need for him or her to like you enough to at least make some effort beyond going through the motions and sending you a bill. Also, it doesn’t help your case if you’ve got some affirmative action Johnny Cochran wannabe or some drunken slob who makes you want to gag.
*Is he media savvy? Does he know how to work the media in his clients’ favor?
*Does he show up in court? A surprising number of attorneys will double-book court dates and stand you up, or send an unprepared subordinate or junior partner.
*When he does show up, is the attorney you’re considering usually prepared?
*Does your attorney show up in court drunk, hung over, or under the influence of narcotics? (I am not joking. This is a common complaint and the basis of many appeals.)
*Does he fall asleep during trials? (Again, this is more common than you might think.)
*Most state Bar Associations keep files on attorneys where as a matter of public record you can see complaints against them. Look for complaints about such things as especially egregious billing practices, looting deceased clients’ estates, incompetence, taking bribes from the other side, etc.
Female lawyers: My personal advice is to avoid Serena Sutherland and Ally McBeal types.
There is some truth to the lefty complaint that the courts are old boys’ networks. Babes in business suits may look nice in court, but unless she’s actually sleeping with the judge, most male judges don’t take women lawyers seriously, and female judges don’t like them because women with power can only handle one queen bee. (Anyone who has ever worked for a female boss can confirm this.)
Plus if it comes to a trial, you want the guys on the jury listening to your case and not ogling your lawyer, and the women on the jury listening to your case and not thinking catty jealous thoughts about your lawyer’s dress and grooming. Remember, juries are morons. Anyone with sufficient intelligence to understand what’s going on in a court case has a job and a real life, and avoids jury duty like the plague.
I would generally recommend a White male who has been practicing for at least ten years. Better yet, twenty.
How to Find A Shyster
If you cannot get a good attorney, try to get a bad one, by which I mean an attorney who is known to be corrupt (which is a relative term in the legal profession) and is therefore well-connected. You need a lawyer who knows the courthouse and everyone in it, knows the judge, and who might be able to work a deal if you can come up with the scratch in the form of a few grand in “miscellaneous expenses.” (Bribing a judge is known as an “ex parte proceeding.”)
*Who else does he represent? Look in the papers for a lawyer who represents people like gangsters, drug dealers, porno operators and brothel madams, shady nursing home operators, crooked contractors, toxic waste dumpers, cat-stranglers, men accused of sexual harassment, drunken drivers, hookers, telemarketers, etc. and who wins these cases, or at least gets his clients off with substantially reduced punishment.
*In your Bar Association check, an attorney who has been investigated for such things as witness tampering, bribery, stealing evidence, etc. indicates a man who for the right price will go the distance for you. This judicial system is run by and for thieves and blackguards. You are going into a den of thieves. If you can afford him, don’t hesitate to hire a blackguard to represent you.
*If you live in a city with an active Cosa Nostra family, see if there’s any chance you can get their lawyers or at least a lawyer from their firm. The Mob hires only the best, and Mob lawyers know how to play the System in their clients’ favor like a Stradivarius.
*If you can find a Gentile lawyer who regularly represents Jews in civil suits, and he will take your case, get him if you have to wipe out your kids’ college fund to do it. For a Jew to hire a Gentile attorney is the ultimate testimonial.
Quit thinking in terms of the trial. Perry Mason and Matlock aren’t coming to your rescue. The trial is only a small part of the whole of this putrescent System and often not the most important part. Only a small fraction of torts ever actually come to trial. The dog who has sued you has done so in order to “bring you into the System.” The judicial System in this country is like prison; once you enter it, you are in a different world and different rules apply. You need a lawyer who knows those rules, and who considers his mission to be getting you out of the mangler with as little loss of blood as possible. Bleeding you is his job.
Act early. Do not wait until just before the formal response to the complaint is due to start looking for an attorney. Lawyers are busy, too, and need some time to assess your case. Waiting until the last minute will mean you may have to settle for whoever you can get. Remember, in most cases you’re hiring a firm, not a specific lawyer. The law firm you hire may throw your case to some rookie just out of law school or the office drunk, and even if you do get a good person he or she may not have the time to research your case fully and may not be fully prepared.
If you find yourself pressed for time, keep in mind that the attorney who files your formal response to the complaint does not have to be the attorney who will eventually represent you in court. At the very least, find a lawyer who can help you draft and file a response to the complaint on time, in order to prevent a default judgment.
How Much Will This Bastard Bleed Me For?
Every damned penny he can get.
You must expect, and be prepared to pay, an initial retainer which will almost certainly be well into four figures. It is true that your itemized expenses are generally deducted from this retainer until it runs out, but then the billable hours start. Nuisance lawsuits are just that, nuisances, and most law firms don’t want to mess with them because the fees they bring in are chicken feed compared to big-ticket cases like corporate suits, class action suits, personal injury suits where they can get a jury to soak an insurance company, estates they can pillage, etc. You will most likely be fobbed off with some junior who is working on his first Porsche, and there’s not much you can do about it.
You will receive an itemized bill, but it’s virtually useless, because there is for all practical purposes no way you can challenge any of it. How do you know how much time your shyster spent in the law library researching Fonebone vs. Veeblefetzer? How do you know that copies of all documents don’t have to be Fed-exed to the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or that it wasn’t necessary to send the attorney and his secretary flying first class to Hawaii to depose a witness?
Expenses associated with a typical case include court costs and fees (i.e. the same System that sodomizes you makes you pay for the Vaseline) photocopying services, postage, delivery services, telephone, expert witness fees, deposition fees, private detective fees, research time, conference time, and any other costs the attorney is creative enough to dream up and slap onto the bill—and then, of course, that cursed thing known as the billable hour. The scope for fiddling and draining you dry is limitless.
On the upside, lawyers are like loan sharks. They’ll break your legs, but they won’t kill you, because that would be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. They won’t resign from your case until they become convinced they can’t get one more last dollar out of you. Most attorneys will take time payments; I know that as recently as 2001 some of the Greensboro guys (who went through three trials) were still paying off their briefs in the civil case from 1981. Yep. Some of those poor bastards were still paying twenty years later.
If you have grounds for a counterclaim that might win some money for the plaintiff, some lawyers will agree to take your case on a contingency basis. This means that the lawyer will be paid when you either win the case and the court rules that the plaintiff must pay your attorneys’ fees, or you successfully bring your counterclaim against the plaintiff for damages suffered by you as a result of being the target of a SLAPP. (This is generally referred to as a “SLAPPback,” discussed below.)
Very, very occasionally, you still find some lawyer who has a civil liberties bug up his ass, most likely some burned-out hippy-dippy Sixties retread, who will agree to defend you on a pro bono basis (free) or at low cost (reduced hourly attorney fees). Don’t count on it, though. Pro bono lawyers are becoming damned near extinct in the profession.
Hunter Thompson had a tight, lean and mean crew who prevented him from being “brought into the System” on the bogus titty-touching beef. He wrote a lengthy article for Rolling Stone praising his legal team, presumably before they sent him their bill. My understanding is that they stripped Thompson to the bone like a school of piranhas, to the point where he was about to lose his house, and one of the reasons he committed suicide was that he was almost bankrupt from paying his own attorneys. The Aspen Chamber of Commerce got him in the end after all.
Check all your homeowners and other insurance policies. You never know when you might be covered against liability claims of various kinds which might include your SLAPP. Sometimes your homeowner’s liability insurance policy will require the insurance carrier to defend you if you are sued. If you are covered, the company will provide or pay for a lawyer to try and make sure that you don’t actually lose your home to the dog.
This means you will not have to pay legal fees for legal representation. It does not, however, mean that the insurance company will pay any judgment against you if you lose.
Under the California anti-SLAPP law, you will be entitled to recover legal fees, court costs, and other expenses if the judge rules that the SLAPP filer cannot show a probability of winning the suit. Thus, even if you can’t afford to pay hourly attorney fee rates, an attorney will often be encouraged to defend you on a pro bono, contingency, or low cost basis if he or she understands that attorney fees will be paid by the SLAPP filer if you win.
This can also happen in other states if the SLAPP is especially egregious or frivolous, or if the plaintiff doesn’t do his homework and hires an attorney that the judge hates, or if the judge has an attack of conscience, which I suppose is theoretically possible, although if these people had any conscience they wouldn’t have become lawyers and judges to begin with.
Dees-Proofing Your Home
If you do own a home or real estate or anything of value, you can attempt to protect it by setting up a trust, a Nevada corporation, putting it in your wife’s name (presuming you can trust your wife) etc.
I used to think this was a vital way to go, although I’ve never owned anything, so I can’t speak from personal experience. However, from observing the legal scene for many years, my personal opinion is that these trust doohickeys and other legal dodges to protect your home aren’t all that fool-proof.
First off, the trust or shell corporation or whatever you stash your house in has to be set up before the lawsuit is filed, in some states a certain amount of time before, six months to two years. It also has to have what the courts consider a “legitimate” purpose other than the obvious one of preventing your home from being stolen from you by Morris Dees.
Who decides that? Your judge, of course. A judge can erase the whole thing with a single bang of his gavel, by declaring that the Little Jimmy Jones Foundation or the LawIsAnAss Corporation is in fact your “alter ego,” which is actually a legal term and which renders the property held by the trust or corporation liable to seizure in payment of a civil judgment.
The feds routinely do this all the time with their asset forfeiture laws, and now local governments are doing it with eminent domain abuse. The Constitutional right to be secure in your goods and property from unreasonable search and seizure has gone the way of the rest of the Bill of Rights, i. e. out the window. There are only two states which have complete, 100% homestead exemptions against civil attachment and execution: Texas and Florida, both of which are now majority non-White and in my opinion unfit for human habitation.
You can also try the old trick of putting a lien on your property at the courthouse with a prior claim, so that if the SLAPPer does get his judgment, at least he won’t get any actual money. If you want to get intricate you can always try to keep your equity in your home right at the bankruptcy exemption level, which is also the exemption limit against civil attachment and execution.
For example, if your house has a value of $300,000, and you live in Washington which has (last time I checked) a $30,000 homestead exemption, you can try to keep a mortgage in the amount of $270,000 on the old home place at all times. This may have some deterrent effect against a SLAPPer if he knows he won’t actually get any shekels from his judgment, but again I must remind you: people who do this shit aren’t after a result. They’re after the process itself.
Nor will that keep Dees or whoever from indulging himself in the sheer pleasure of marching into your home with armed deputies to protect his sorry ass while he roots through your belongings and helps himself to your stereo, your country music collection, your car, and whatever else is not covered by your state’s exemptions. That includes all your racial books and literature which he can then burn in a big public bonfire before the cameras while the media fall down and adore.
Ask Tom Metzger and J. D. Farrands about that one. Farrands crumpled and fled into the night, and regardless of my many problems with Metzger, the poor bastard didn’t deserve what Dees did to him. Kathy Metzger died in the local charity ward while Dees was looting her home. I can understand why Tom hasn’t been quite right in the head ever since.
Always, always file a counterclaim if you conceivably can. This puts you on an equal footing with the SLAPPer and gives you leverage. It also gives the judge a means to punish him if the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney pisses him off, or if he doesn’t like the plaintiff’s attorney anyway.
Most SLAPPers are pretty sleazy characters, and usually they will have tried some sleazy shit to shut you up before they SLAPPed you. (SLAPPs are actually a last resort; most plaintiffs do have sense enough to know they can backfire in a dozen different ways and don’t resort to them unless they decide you really must be silenced at all costs.)
Especially when you’re being threatened by Movement kooks and creeps, keep a stalking log and retain evidence of the stalking, including threatening or harassing anonymous e-mails. Did the SLAPPer make threatening or abusive phone calls to your home, or have his feeble-minded associates do so? SLAPP his ass back for harassment. Did the said SLAPPer or said feeble-minded associates vandalize your property? SLAPP back! Does he claim you “libeled” him? Scour the internet for anything he has said which libels you and SLAPP back.
Failing anything else, counter-sue for “deliberate infliction of emotional harm and distress” and be sure to always claim your costs and a nice round sum of a couple of million for punitive damages. Sure, it’s bogus—but so is his idiotic lawsuit to begin with.
Look, the judge and attorneys involved know what the hell is going on here—remember, they do this for a living. You think a judge isn’t going to take one look at a complaint and recognize a SLAPP when he sees one?
Just as all attorneys aren’t thieving parasites, all judges aren’t stupid or corrupt drunks either. One of the few rigidly honest procedures left in the judicial process today—or so I’m told—is the court docket and calendar lottery where judges are drawn and assigned to cases. Okay, there is such a thing as judge-shopping, and a smart lawyer knows how and when and where to file his original complaint so he has the best chance to get a favorable judge, or avoid the ones who dislike him enough to screw him up in court. That’s part of a lawyer’s skills.
But apparently outright fiddling of the docket, through bribery or otherwise, is still frowned upon in most court systems—or, so I’m told. The buzz I get is that most jurisdictions try to keep the docket draw straight up, because abuse in that one area is the thin edge of a wedge that might become so flagrant and obvious that it would become a public scandal and shatter what very little remaining confidence the people have in these courts.
Our lords and masters do have sense enough to recognize that their entire world is walking on thin ice; we peasants may have forgotten the lovely hiss and chunk of the guillotine on a fine spring afternoon, but the rich men who rule us haven’t. The shadow of the National Razor is genetically imprinted as an ancestral memory of terror onto the souls of the wealthy élite throughout the Western world; they know that the people they treat like dogs can turn on them, and it is important to keep up appearances.
What the hell do you think democracy is all about? Smoke and mirrors so that the rest of us won’t start dreaming of that guillotine—but I digress. Anyway, the calendar draw is something they’ve apparently decided to keep uncorrupted.
Be that as it may, there is always the chance that you’ll draw a judge who either doesn’t like the plaintiff’s lawyer, or who is genuinely conscientious, or who is just having a bad day and feeling crotchety, or else a SLAPP is just so obviously petty and bloody ridiculous that it insults his intelligence and pisses him off, and he’ll toss the SLAPP and allow your counterclaim, especially if you have a good attorney to argue the motion. But you have to make that counterclaim, in writing, asking for dismissal and damages, in order for your brief to argue it.
If You MUST Do It Yourself
Now, I’m getting perilously close to offering legal advice without a license here, but if you insist on doing this pro-se or else you just plain don’t have two dimes to rub together and you have no choice but to do it pro-se, like I myself did, the best way to do this is:
A) File your answer to the initial complaint within the time allowed in your state;
B) File your counterclaim as part of your answer, asking for a specific sum in damages; and
C) File a separate motion for dismissal of the complaint on the grounds of “failure to state a legal claim,” which is a legal term for “this whole thing is bullshit, Your Honor.”
The first thing you will have to do if you are too broke even to afford Lionel Hutts, Attorney at Law, is to learn your way around a law library, which you will find in most universities and law offices. Some law offices will let outsiders use their law libraries at so much per hour. (Keep a record of all expenses you incur in any SLAPP, with receipts.)
If you can locate a paralegal who is friendly or who is willing to take a few bucks under the counter, get him or her to help, but that’s not really too cool, because you can get him or her into a lot of trouble. Paralegals have gone to prison for assisting pro-se litigants, because the bar association and the courts consider it practicing without a license. If you’re not prepared to protect a paralegal friend when the heat comes on, don’t get him or her involved. The courts are truly savage with anyone in the legal profession they catch assisting someone to fight a case pro-se. Remember the rules: the function of both plaintiff and defendant within this system is to pay, pay, pay!
Somewhere in the law library, you will find something called a Legal Form Book, which will show you the exact format in which all court documents must be typed up and submitted. Failing that, you can go to the office of the Clerk of Court—remember, that nice lady and her office girls whom you will be pleasant and polite to and whom you will not alienate by showing your butt and acting like a rite-wing crank in her office? Yes, that lady.
You may go to her office and ask to see samples of certain specific documents from other cases, which are matters of public record unless sealed by the court, and you will photocopy these and use them as models for your documents that you submit to the court. You must always be sure to include the case and docket number.
Once you have it all typed up nice and neat, you file by taking it to the Clerk of Court’s office and handing it over the counter, in some cases paying a fee, and getting a time and date stamp on your copy and the original, which is then added to the case file.
Bear in mind that a legal case file is public record unless sealed by court order. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry from the media, the ADL, or anywhere else can walk in and get a copy of everything in that file for 25 cents a page copying fee.
One final hint: if you can’t spell and you can’t type, don’t try pro-se. A messy-looking or poorly written document in incorrect format may be rejected by the Clerk, and will certainly lose you your SLAPP by pissing off the judge. Hire an attorney, somehow. If you know damned well that you don’t have the education to read and understand legal reference books, don’t try pro-se. Hire an attorney, somehow.
Beyond this point you get into such wonderful things as discovery, deposition, hunting down witnesses and somehow persuading them to show up in court (out of state civil subpoenas are more or less unenforceable,) the whole ghastly carnival. This is where you really, really need an attorney to guide you and where I am definitely not competent to offer advice, not to mention the fact that it would probably be illegal of me to do so.
Sir Francis Bacon, who was Attorney General of England under Queen Elizabeth I and James I in the seventeenth century, once made a famous observation: “The Law is an Ass.” He was the top lawyer of his country and his era, so he should know.
Unfortunately, today, the law is not only an ass. It is a three-ringed circus with a cageful of baboons, presided over by black-robed clowns in red rubber noses who destroy human lives and inflict untold misery on others with their silly little wooden mallets. But behind the mask of the clown is the death’s head skull of tyranny and the soulless cult of pure, naked power, the sheer joy of hurting and despoiling others because you can.
George Orwell wrote in 1984 of the future as one endless image of an iron boot stamping on a human face. He got it wrong; it is the gavel in the black-robed hand that is smashing against the face of humanity in this country, over and over and over again, in countless thousands of judicial crimes and wrongs per day, beating human flesh to a bloody pulp in a conveyor belt of misery and depair and the death of the human soul. It is a System redolent with putrefaction, evil, and the insatiable petty hunger of the briefcase-toting rodent in human form for money. Anyone who attempts to draw another person into this System for any reason at all, never mind personal pique and petty malice, is a suppurating pustule.
It is time this ended. Join with me.
Northwest American Republic: An Idea Whose Time Has Come.