Thinking Outside the Box vs. Being a Doofus

Law is one of the few areas that discourages creative thinking.

Or at least that's my perception when it comes to how many judges look at it.

To understand what they look at it that way you have to understand judges. By nature, state court judges are political animals. They don't want to lose their election, they don't want to be reversed, and they don't want anything to happen that lessens their own perception of themselves as brilliant. Based on these factors, as a general rule judges don't want new and novel ideas presented to them.

There is one judge I remember in particular who was a "legend in her own mind" and constantly told me, "If that was true then someone else would have already done it", lacking the intelligence not only to realize my brilliance but also the fact that somebody has to be first.

Knowing that this is the case the pro se litigant cannot rely on their legal ability and experience to carry them through the case because if they do then the chances of them being slaughtered by the opposing lawyer increases. You don't want to get bogged down in evidentiary arguments or analyzing the finer points of law because if you do, then there is a good chance you will lose.

So you have to think outside of the box.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of resources on the web that speak with great authority and no knowledge and if you listen them you quickly cross the line between inspired and idiocy. No, your birth certificate is not a contract, you can't avoid paying a ticket because you never agreed to abide by the laws, and getting a drivers license from the West indies over the internet does not mean you do not have to obey the speed limits.

Rather than trying to manipulate the law and torture it into something it is not, why don't you spend the time trying to make your evidence and arguments as compelling as possible. 

If you are representing yourself in a car wreck case (by the way our new book The Guerrilla Guide to Settling Your Own Car Wreck Case is now available) and the other expert states that you can't be injured by an impact that doesn't damage the car don't argue with them. It is unlikely that you will ever argue them into changing their minds or convince the jury that you know more physics than they do. However, because you did discovery (you did get The Guerrilla Guide to Written Discovery and do discovery, right?) you knew he was going to make that argument. Since you knew that he was going to make the argument, you spent a little time thinking about how you can oppose that argument so you whip out the football helmet and the baseball bat and ask him to put the helmet on and let you conk him over the noggin with the bat to prove that the helmet won't be damaged and to see if his opinion is still that there won't be any injuries if the helmet doesn't show damage?

Or…you could have pulled out the croquet mallet and the balls, and held ball one against another with your foot, whacking the solid one with your mallet and sending the other one shooting across the room to prove that the momentum could be transferred even though the first ball didn't move. 

These are just two examples of how we used thought outside the box and used common sense techniques to show a jury what we were really saying. And before you asked, no the expert wouldn't agree to let me hit him with the bat, but his refusal proved my point.

The point of this article is to say that you shouldn't try to trick your way into a verdict. Most of the crap that you read from non-lawyers is just that, crap.

Instead, use your head and be creative.

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