I am proud to state that, after I wrote my last blog entry earlier today, I made considerable progress on the document I've been trying to get done. Something about writing a blog seems to help grease the wheels of inspiration.
Right now I am submitting my final petition to the Appellate Court to see if the CT Supreme Court will consider my complaints. My guess is that they will not consider them because they haven't considered them from the moment I walked through the door of Family Court. I mean, why should the light of common sense ignite at this point in the game?
Coming from a family of teachers, as I do, it makes me shake my head to see such a stubborn group of people like Judges who set a course in a particular case and no matter how bad the course is that they have established will stick to it to the bitter end. One of the cornerstones of intelligent thought is the ability to reconsider, the ability to reset the course based upon new information, the willingness to see things from more angles than one and to tolerate grey areas.
Of course, if there is one thing I am clear on, it is that Family Court judges can't stand intelligence and they can't stand intelligent people. In the course of trial, if a judge tells you that you are intelligent, you know that you are in a lot of trouble with your case.
I am preparing right now to consider the steps I will need to take once my petition gets turned down. Once that happens, where do I go from here?
According to the absolutely last page of the Handbook of Appellate Procedure, page 25, if you are denied a petition to the Connecticut Supreme Court, you can immediately file a petition with the United States Supreme Court. I have to say that I've been told this before repeatedly, and it was only until today that the news sank in.
This is a situation just like monopoly. Once you are turned down by the State Courts do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not go to federal district court, skip them all, zip around the board and go all the way to Washington, D.C. and check your complaint out with the very highest court in the land. Permission to do this is granted by 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1257.
You can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court not only from an Appellate Court denial of a petition to go to the CT Supreme Court, if your petition to the Supreme Court is accepted, but your case is denied on the level of the CT Supreme Court, you can also go directly the the U.S. Supreme Court.
The only problem with this approach is that generally only 1 to 2 % of cases that go to the U.S. Supreme Court are accepted for consideration. That is an absolutely miniscule number and a particularly discouraging one for litigants. I can imagine the odds are even lower for self represented parties such as myself.
One thing to keep in mind for those of you who are not in the least bit discouraged--and I am one of them--make sure you file a stay of execution so that any actions against you can be stayed until the result of your appeal comes in. Thus, the Handbook says, "If a party wishes to obtain a stay of execution pending decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, that party may seek such a stay by filing a motion for a stay within 20 days of the appellate judgment." Practice Book Sec. 71-7.
If your petition was denied on the Appellate Court level, you have to file your motion for a stay of execution in the Appellate Court. However, if your case in the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, you have to file your motion for a stay of execution with the Supreme Court.
And don't forget that deadline, please. You have 20 days from the date of judgment or 20 days from the motion for reconsideration of the judgment, either one.
The stay of execution will give you time to put together your petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. Of course, it may be you don't want to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Maybe you want to sue the State through the federal court system. I don't know. I'm not sure if it is allowed. I will have to check into that. Skipping federal court seems like a good idea, like you are taking the short cut to the top. It seems really free and easy and like you would save a lot of money.
On the other hand, it does worry me that you have a one shot chance and then you are done. Then you face the bill of costs from the opposing attorney who says you have been such a problem you have to pay all the legal fees for your insistence upon taking the case to the finish line.
At least if you start at the beginning with federal court you probably have a slightly better chance of succeeding that you'd have in the U.S. Supreme Court with their odds of 1 to 2 percent. It certainly gives me a lot to reflect upon as I continue forward and submit my motion in the next few days. Its a game of strategy and I have to figure out how to play it--move the pawn, the rook, the King, the Queen? Whichever way it goes, I will have to take the path right from here to the end.