Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More People Being Their Own Lawyers

OMAHA — When Danielle Nitzel found her 3-year-old marriage drawing its last breath in 2004, she couldn't afford the minimum of $1,000 she was told she would need to hire a divorce lawyer.

So she did what more and more Americans are doing: She represented herself in court.

"I looked online and just tried to figure out how to write out the paperwork," said Nitzel, a nursing student who at the time had little money and a pile of education loans. "I think it cost us $100 to file it ourselves."

The number of people serving as their own lawyers is on the rise across the country, and the cases are no longer limited to uncontested divorces and small claims. Even people embroiled in child-custody cases, potentially devastating lawsuits and bankruptcies are representing themselves, legal experts say.

"It's not just that poor people can't afford lawyers. This is really a middle-class phenomenon," said Sue Talia, a judge from Danville, Calif., and author of "Unbund ling Your Divorce: How to Find a Lawyer to Help You Help Yourself."

The trend has resulted in court systems clogged with filings from people unfamiliar with legal procedure.

Moreover, some of these pro se litigants, as they are known, are making mistakes with expensive and long-lasting consequences — perhaps confirming the old saying that he who represents himself has a fool for a client.

Paul Merritt, a district judge in Lancaster County, Neb., said he knows of cases in which parents lost custody disputes because they were too unfamiliar with such legal standards as burden of proof.

"Courts are absolutely inundated with people who do not understand the procedures," Talia said. "It is a disaster for high-volume courts because an inordinate amount of their clerks' time is spent trying to make sure that the procedures are correctly followed."


The Denver Post

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

What happened to good old common sense. Attorneys think they need 300 dollars an hour because they have a degree in law?? 80 percent of the public can not afford to pay that. Thats why so many from the 80 percent end up in prison. The 20 percent who have money rarely are incarcerated for there crimes. We need courts of common sense, instead of courts that make it imposdsible to get a fair trial, pro-se. djw

Anonymous said...

What happened to good old common sense. Attorneys think they need 300 dollars an hour because they have a degree in law?? 80 percent of the public can not afford to pay that. Thats why so many from the 80 percent end up in prison. The 20 percent who have money rarely are incarcerated for there crimes. We need courts of common sense, instead of courts that make it imposdsible to get a fair trial, pro-se. djw

Anonymous said...

Not in the state of Colorado!!!We spent close to $30,000 and we still can't get an illegal sentence overturned. The real question is why has each state been allowed to "bastardize" our constitution to the point that even the lawyers and the judges don't get it!!! As in our case!!!! Then they are too arrogant to admit their mistakes!!!! Ah, just keep building prisons Colorado...that's the answer!!!!

Anonymous said...

Lawyers cannot create miracles, like on TV. We may not like them and they may be very expensive, but they are necessary some of the time, when there is a chance of a different ending.

Anonymous said...

DOC and the legal system totally ignores the US Constitution. They have trials with no representation. They are prosecution (guards), judges (parole board), and executioners.
Judges, legislature, and the governor do not want to appear soft on crime. They get political contributions and favors from the private, for profit prisons and the prison industrial complex. There is no motivation for reform, except a taxpayor revolt.

Anonymous said...

Your right a tax payer revolt is in order. Your Colorado legislature is housing 20,000 some inmates at about 30,000 dollars per year. Thats a direct cost of 60,000,000 million per year. Think about this, the same legislature only allows about 6500 dollars per year per student for education??? Seems Colorado would rather send people to prison, than spend money on education??? djw

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is you are so right!!!!

Anonymous said...

I love the comments I'm reading this morning... Now the million dollar question... how do we find a way to educate the general public in Colorado to the injustices that are taking place?? It's not until people join together that the non-sense is going to stop!

joshua said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Sharon

http://www.autoloans101.info

Anonymous said...

酒店打工
酒店經紀
酒店上班
酒店兼差
禮服店
酒店小姐
酒店兼職
假日打工
台北酒店經紀
童裝批發
童裝批發
童裝
童裝
酒店喝酒
暑假打工
寒假打工
酒店
酒店經紀人
酒店現領
酒店經紀爆米花
酒店上班PRETTY GIRL