Rule Would Allow Judges to Aid the Unrepresented

, New York Law Journal

   | 2 Comments

With judges statewide uncertain how far they can and should go to accommodate unrepresented litigants, court administrators are proposing an amendment to the Code of Judicial Conduct that would bring New York into line with 25 other states.

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What's being said

  • MrMosheB

    Michael referred to the "unwritten rule that judges [nearly always] give pro se litigants far more leeway and less consequences." This is not entirely accurate. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states in more than place that federal judges must provide greater leeway to pro se plaintiffs. Some examples include lenience in drafting pleadings and a higher standard of tolerance before sanctioning a pro se plaintiff. I believe that the new rule is merely intended to ensure that each litigant--represented or not--has the same opportunity to to a fair trial.

    This rule will undoubtedly result in certain judges favoring a pro se plaintiff, a consequence which must be seriously considered before making the rule official. However, as mentioned above, the rule is simply meant to give judges the discretion to "guide" the trial so as to avoid the abuse of the pro se litigant by a merciless attorney.

  • Michael

    In my experience, this 'new rule' simply validates the unwritten rule that Judge's give pro se litigants far more leeway and less consequences for mistakes made, simply because they chose not to get an attorney. If this rule ONLY applies to folks who can not AFFORD counsel, then it makes sense. If it applies to ALL PRO SE litigants, then it would certainly behoove me, if I were to end up in Civil or Supreme court, as a defendant, to NOT GET COUNSEL and get the 'soft glove' treatment from the Judge. Of course, I am sure they will have a set of instructions that will somehow magically make jurors think the Judge siding and helping the pro se litigant, should not influence their deliberations, right? This is assinine.

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