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Showing posts with label Federal Court. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Federal Court. Show all posts

Friday, March 10, 2017


Their story is familiar now.  In 2007, Joey Watley and Karin Hasemann's two  children were taken away from them by DCF at birth. The grounds for this?  A controversial doctrine known as "Predictive Neglect". In other words,the concept that parents might neglect their children in the future even if they have not in the past.  CT DCF "experts" labeled the parents as mentally ill--Joey Watley received the diagnosis of Personality Disorder Unspecified, while Karin Hasemann was diagnosed with a broad range of conflicting diagnoses.  Since that time, both parents have taken care of other young children without incident.  

For a decade, Mr. Watley and Ms. Hasemann fought the removal of their children, ultimately losing three trials in State Superior Court in Middletown.  However, they did win appeals of those decisions due to legal error and malfeasance on the part of the trial court. Eventually, however, Connecticut State Court terminated their parental rights permanently. Consequently, in 2015 they took their case to Federal District Court. Initially, that Court denied their  complaint in response to a motion to dismiss filed by the CT Attorney General's office. However, the couple then appealed that decision to a higher Court--the Second Circuit Court in New York--which sustained their right to pursue their case.  Since then they have returned to the lower Connecticut Federal District Court.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015


"EXTRA" reports as follows:

Actress Kelly Rutherford’s custody battle with ex Daniel Giersch continues.

The couple shares joint custody of Hermes, 8, and Helena, 5, but a judge ruled that they should live with their father in France. Kelly fought the decision, but last year a second judge refused to overturn the court ruling.

On Wednesday, Kelly’s children will have a hearing at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan in front of three appellate justices. Lawyers will argue that a California family court had no authority to force the children to move to France with their father.

The case is unprecedented.

Kelly, who works with the Children's Justice Campaign to help modernize family court laws, shared her thoughts on YouTube, telling fans, “I just want to thank you for your support of me and my children. For those of you who have been asking, I’ll be in federal court March 18 to discuss my children’s basic human rights as U.S. citizens and their right to live freely in their own country. I believe that children are people too and they have a voice. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

To watch her video, click on the link below:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


In the Fall of 2012, Elizabeth A. Richter filed a Federal ADA Complaint with the Connecticut District Court stating that she had been repeatedly denied accommodations for her disability and faced disability   based discrimination during her divorce case which took place in Hartford Superior Court and the State's Appellate Court from 2006 until 2012.  Ms. Richter's Federal Complaint was dismissed in March 2014 and has now been appealed to the Second Circuit Court in New York City.
Elizabeth Richter's original Federal Complaint was filed against the following Defendants: The Connecticut Judicial Branch, an attorney firm O'Connell, Attmore & Morris, LLC, and also an individual judge, Herbert Barall, the same judge who presided over the Linda Wiegand case. 
Ms. Richter brought the action in Federal Court to obtain redress for these Defendants' violations of Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and as Amended in 2008.  The Americans With Disabilities Act is a civil rights law which is intended to enfranchise the many millions of Americans who have disabilities throughout the United States.  Further, Ms. Richter also brought the action based upon Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, an early version of the ADA, and also based upon the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States constitution. 
As a result of the violations of due process and her right of access to state court legal proceedings, the Plaintiff, Elizabeth A. Richter requested that the Federal District court provide her with declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and attorney's fees.  She also requested the reversal of her state court judgments as well as monetary compensation for the intentional infliction of emotional distress which she endured as a result of the Defendants' actions.
Elizabeth Richter's struggles with discrimination began  over 30 years ago when Ms. Richter was misdiagnosed as having a severe mental illness she did not have and locked up in a psychiatric facility for a little more than two years.  Ms. Richter spoke of this incident before the Task Force on the Care and Custody of Minor Children which took place last year.  See the link below:
Despite the fact that this hospitalization was mistake, throughout her divorce the opposing side in the case repeatedly brought the subject up as the basis for denying Elizabeth Richter custody.  The opposing attorney in her case also repeatedly attempted to have Ms. Richter declared incompetent and to have a Guardian Ad Litem appointed to make decisions on behalf of Ms. Richter. 
Elizabeth Richter also brought up the fact that she experiences so much discrimination and stigma as a result of that incident that, over the years, she has had to have counseling for the stress and anxiety it has caused her. 
Despite this extensive history which qualified the Plaintiff for protections under Title II of the ADA, the Superior Court at Hartford where Ms. Richter's case was adjudicated, refused to acknowledge that she was a qualified individual under the ADA and refused to provide her with any reasonable modifications during the entire six years that her case was going through the Court. 
Elizabeth Richter also pointed out in her Complaint that the Connecticut Judicial Branch subjected her to a systemic pattern of discrimination and the denial of her ADA rights such that she was unable to obtain testamentary and participatory access to justice throughout her divorce.  Most particularly, the Connecticut Judicial Branch hid documents Elizabeth Richter had provided to the Court which showed evidence of her disability and explained what accommodations were necessary for her.   
Furthermore, Ms. Richter reported that she experienced discrimination from her own attorneys who failed to provide her with adequate representation and made statements regarding her which were intended to incite a bigoted response from the Court.  In particular, her attorney, Attorney James T. Flaherty, who was named in the lawsuit, failed to inform her of her rights under Title III of the ADA, failed to provide her with reasonable accommodations so that she could access the attorney firm's legal services, and also discriminated against her based upon her disability, and also based upon the firm's false perceptions of the disability they thought she had.  The attorney firm also refused to protect her from discrimination based upon the false perceptions that arose from the misdiagnosis she received over 30 years ago.  
During her post-judgment matters in her divorce, Elizabeth Richter complained that Judge Herbert Barall refused to provide her with reasonable accommodations, discriminated against her based upon the perception of disability, and interfered with her ADA advocate when he tried to do his job.  She also complained that Judge Barall used derogatory language while referring to her two children who have a disability and refused to acknowledge that they are legally blind although this fact was well documented and he was fully informed of their disability. 
In addition, in her Complaint, Elizabeth Richter brought to the attention of the Federal Court the fact that the Connecticut Judicial Branch does not have a publically identified ADA Coordinator as required by ADA law according to II-8.5000 of the Title II Technical Assistance manual.  Further, it has provided confusing and misleading responses when asked to identify one.  Also, the Judicial Branch does not have a meaningful grievance procedure. 
Finally, Elizabeth Richter complained that the Connecticut Judicial Branch has been restricting ADA law to Title I of the ADA, instead of Title II as required by federal law, in an attempt to avoid providing the broader based and more encompassing modifications it is required to provide under Title II. 
It is also important to note that since Ms. Richter filed her lawsuit in federal court, the Connecticut Judicial Branch has subjected her to interference and harassment in her role as an ADA Advocate in support of litigants with disabilities.  This is also a violation of ADA law.  
Ms. Richter's initial filing of her complaint was in November 2012 and then she Amended her complaint in April 2013.  Despite that, the decision of the Federal Court  dismissing her case was issued a full year later at the end of March 2014.  Apparently, according to Ms. Richter, this is quite typical of legal proceedings.  As she stated, "The Courts regularly drag out proceedings and delay responding to motions until the very last day because they hope that by doing so litigants will become discouraged and give up.  That way the Court can avoid taking proper action and avoid bearing the consequences for a wrong decision." 
And in this particular case, the decision really was wrong. 
As Ms. Richter explains it, "What the federal court basically did was declare that I do not have a disability which is just totally ridiculous.  I have been a person with a disability, and have a record of receiving treatment for anxiety over a period of many years, particularly since my misdiagnosis and wrongful hospitalization which ended in 1980.  Furthermore, during the divorce I was diagnosed with acute stress disorder as a result of the legal proceedings as well as legal abuse syndrome.  There is no way that I did not have a disability prior to the legal proceedings as well as during those proceedings.  And I am continuing to take a pounding as I pursue my legal rights in Federal Court." 
Ms. Richter continued on to say, "Even if you grant what the Federal Court said that I currently don't have a disability, that isn't even relevant.   Under ADA law it is recognized that a misdiagnosis such as the one I had many years ago still qualifies you as having a disability."  Nonetheless, the federal court decision of March 2014 denies that this is so. 
Not only  that, there is more to why the Federal Court made a completely misguided decision in Ms. Richter's case.  Apparently, to be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.  Otherwise, a person must have a history or record of such an impairment, or be a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. "What the Court did," stated Elizabeth Richter, "was argue that I only had temporary anxiety and it ignored my statement that I'd basically had a 30 year history of anxiety on and off.  It twisted my words around and deliberately misinterpreted them." 
Also, the Federal Court essentially argued that a temporary disability is not covered under ADA law.  This is, in fact, untrue.  Many temporary disabilities are covered under ADA law.  Not only that, according to Elizabeth Richter, "The Federal Court simply refused to discuss the second and third categories under which I could have been held to be eligible for ADA protection, i.e. the fact that I had a record of a disability from my earlier psychiatric hospitalization, let alone my subsequent treatment for anxiety, and also my complaint that I was perceived as having a disability I did not have." 
"What this really amounts to," stated Ms. Richter, "is the Judicial Nullification of Federal ADA law on the highest level." 
This is particularly outrageous granting  the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.  Essentially, Congress enacted the ADAAA of 2008 because it wanted to stop the mini-trials on whether a person had a disability or not and instead wanted to force attention on the merits of the case.  This means that the Federal Court's extensive focus on whether Elizabeth A. Richter did or did not have an eligible disability was completely in violation of the law. 
Furthermore, according to Chai R. Goldblum, a national expert on ADA policy, since the passage of the ADAAA in 2008, "The primary object of attention in cases brought under the ADA should be whether covered entities have complied with their obligations and whether discrimination has occurred, not on whether the individual meets the definition of disability."  In its decision in Ms. Richter's case, the Federal Court simply refused to address the fact that The Connecticut Judicial Branch failed to provide her with reasonable accommodations and it failed to consider any of her other complaints.  The Federal Court decision solely focused on whether Ms. Richter had a disability or not, in direct opposition to the spirit of the ADAAA.
What is even more ridiculous about the Federal District Court's decision in this case is that finally, after years of stonewalling, on December 7, 2012 a Judge of the State of Connecticut confirmed the fact that Elizabeth Richter has a disability that entitles her to the protections of Federal ADA law.  As Ms. Richter stated, "Given the fact that a State Court judge has already confirmed that [I have] a disability based upon the same information that District Court has before it, how can the District Court then contradict that decision?" 
This is not the first time that the Connecticut District Court has ruled that an individual everyone knows has a disability does not have a disability.  For instance, in a recent decision in Andrew Adams v. Fun Festival Parks (Lake Compounce), the Court ruled that Mr. Adams was not disabled despite the fact that he'd been developmentally disabled since birth and in special programs throughout his public school education.  In making its determination the Connecticut District Court cited exclusively pre-ADAAA of 2008 case law to justify its decision.  This is exactly the same thing it did in the Richter case. 

Even more troubling is the remark Elizabeth Richter made about the decision in her case in Connecticut District Court when it came out.  She stated, "I am not even sure that a Judge wrote this decision.  It shows such a profound lack of insight into Federal ADA law, it doesn't seem possible that a Judge wrote it.  My guess is that the Judge had her clerk write it and then just signed off on it with just a cursory glance.  That is a pretty outrageous way for our Federal Courts to be operating.  Of course, I have no proof, but that is the way the decision looks and reads."
In ruling as it did in complete violation of Federal ADA law in these two cases, the Connecticut District Court has essentially signaled to CT State Government and its Agencies as well as to businesses throughout Connecticut that they are free to violate Federal ADA law. 
People with disabilities better watch out, because it is open season on eliminating their human rights, their civil rights, and their constitutional rights. 
Still, Elizabeth Richter has not allowed her complaint to end there.  She has continued on with an appeal to the Second Circuit Court where she just submitted her final brief.  We will eagerly await the results of that appeal.

Monday, January 12, 2015


Karin Wolf, a New Jersey resident and mother of two, has filed A federal lawsuit against Judges of the Bergen County Family Court, and N.J. Appellate Court,  Governor Chris Christie, the State of New Jersey, DYFS caseworkers, Court Vendors, and others requesting damages and declaratory and injunctive relief in connection to her custody case. 

Ms. Wolf, who is a victim of domestic violence, and who obtained a divorce decree based upon charges of extreme cruelty against her ex-husband, brings her case under U.S. Code Title 42 Secs. 1983 and 1985, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) 18  U.S. Code Secs.  1961-1968, and the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1951.  She is among many family court litigants throughout the country who have come to see the family court system as being in the center of a racket that conspires to take children away from fit mothers and transfer them over to the full custody of their abusers. 

As Karin Wolf explains in her Complaint, "Defendants are engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity and operating Rico Enterprises in the Family Court; through a calculated system of eugenics and social engineering; and dealing in obscene matters of human trafficking, child pornography and child prostitution, for motives both economic and non-economic." 

In her Complaint, Ms. Wolf talks about state government actors and court operatives acting in such a way as to "pre-determine the winner" in family court cases without due process as happened in her case.  She also complains that the family court conducts itself in such a way as to impose a "pay to play" policy on litigants and to promote "conflict for cash" while engaging in "emotional blackmail."  I am sure all these terms are very familiar to victims of family court here in Connecticut! 

Further, I think many Connecticut Family Court litigants can recognize as a common experience how badly Ms. Karin Wolf was treated as a self-represented party.  She states that when she acted on her own behalf Court Personnel behaved towards her with contempt and denied her due process rights because she is a self-represented party who "wasn't and isn't paying money into a corrupt system of racketeering, influence, and extortion in the Bergen County Family Court." 

Like many of the mothers in Connecticut who face family court judges who are ignorant of the reality of domestic violence, Karin Wolf reports that the defendants in her case "used retaliation, threats, and coercive control" against her and "deliberately acted obtuse to family violence, ignoring and minimizing it to subvert and circumvent established principles, codes and laws on child abuse and domestic violence."  She also talked about how the defendants provoked family violence so as to subject Ms. Wolf and her children to ongoing intervention from court vendors who then made considerable amounts of money from those interventions.  

In doing so, they invoked Richard Gardner's quack theories of parental alienation as a means to label Ms. Wolf, remove the children from her custody, and transfer them to the custody of their abuser. 

When she tried to defend herself, the Court denied her access to the child support, alimony and attorneys fees which were necessary for her to obtain legal representation.  This was also connected to a policy of refusing to allow Karin adequate discovery. 

Finally, Karin Wolf alleges that the actions of family court professionals are aligned with the nationwide father's rights agenda which is working to "resurrect Lord Hale's Law and the Rule of Thumb, to assist fathers in hiding income and assets, and avoid paying child support, without any concern for their children." 

Ms. Karin Wolf's case is not unique among protective mothers who have ended up losing custody after years of harassment and legal abuse.  Ms. Wolf's journey originally began when she fled her marital home on September 29, 2006 after several incidents of domestic violence and obtained a final judgment of divorce under NJ Rule 2A:34-2(c) having established in court a cause of action for divorce of extreme cruelty. 

Nonetheless, subsequent to the divorce, Ms. Wolf experienced ongoing legal and interpersonal harassment from her ex-husband for years afterwards and finally lost custody of her two children to her abuser on August 30, 2013. 

She lost custody in a flawed proceeding where the Court allowed  her attorney, Alexandra Stremler, Esq., to back out of the trial moments before the hearing without any advanced notice and forced Ms. Wolf to proceed as a self-represented party even though the attorney had failed to appear with copies of her exhibits which were essential to the conduct of a fair trial. Even more troubling the trial proceeded forward despite the fact that Attorney Stremler had failed to submit the trial summary indicating what evidence and witnesses she intended to present to the Court which left Ms. Wolf in disarray just as she was required to proceed to trial as a self-represented party without any opportunity to prepare. 

Karin Wolf describes the presiding judge in the matter,  Judge Gerald C. Escala, as being "rude, intimidating, and contemptuous" and further she describes him as "belittling her attempts to present her case."  Many of us who have represented ourselves in family court have had similar experiences when we have attempted to defend ourselves. 

I have to commend Ms. Karin Wolf for making this attempt to take her case to federal court when the state court and its associated vendors and state agencies have so grossly failed to accord her the fairness, due process, and justice to which she is entitled as a mother and as an American citizen.  Even though she is a single individual, she is speaking for the many thousands and thousands of mothers throughout this country who have been falsely accused, harassed, bullied, and legally abused by their perpetrator ex-husbands, and become victim of our corrupt family court and child protective systems. 

I am aware that in federal court Ms. Wolf's Complaint will face a daunting round of motions to dismiss and we can only hope that it survives to the point where she can present her evidence and obtain a fair hearing.  I admire Ms. Wolf for her strength, her courage, and her determination as well as her powerful dedication to her children.  As this case proceeds through federal court, I will continue to report back on her progress. 

For more news and information in regard to Ms. Karin Wolf, please click on the link below:

Sunday, September 1, 2013


I just had a friend call me about her case which was recently thrown out of federal court. 
"What can I do?" she asked. 
I understood her frustration.  Throughout my devastating family court case, I always held federal court out before me as a beacon of hope.  If worse comes to worst, I said to myself, I can go to federal court and ask for relief based upon my constitutional rights. 
I had other friends who urged me to go there and knew of others who were there already.  What I didn't realize was that I was actually facing what I call "the stupidity factor" which is when people who know nothing make pronouncements about legal matters they actually know nothing about. 
What I mean to say is that going to federal court in order to obtain relief from state court judgments is not as easy as it seems.  There is the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine which states that litigants are not allowed to use the federal court as a court of appeals from state court judgments. 
Hello, people, wake up and smell the coffee! 
This is why you have to be careful about who you listen to.  I mean, don't even listen to me!  Make sure you double check what I have to say.  Look at my alert at the top of my blog--"I am not an attorney!" 
As much as I dislike and distrust attorneys, make sure you check with one before you start bothering the federal court with court actions that ultimately have no place there.  Do your homework first! 
Doctrines like Rooker-Feldman protect bad judges, bad attorneys, bad GALs and bad Mental Health Professionals from any kind of accountability for their violations of your constitutional rights.  They are immune, not only because of any judicial immunity they have in State court.  They are also immune because we cannot involve federal court so as to hold these people accountable. 
That is why judges and attorneys, etc. have so much fun laughing at us when we invoke our constitutional rights.  Without available federal oversight from the federal court system there is nothing we can do to enforce those constitutional rights.  All they are, when it comes down to it, are a bunch of words on paper given that nothing requires any personnel associated with family court to adhere to them. 
And to put a few more nails on the coffin of our constitutional rights, not only do we have the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, there is also the Domestic Relations Exception.  
Under this exception, federal courts are required to decline jurisdiction in domestic relations cases when the primary issue concerns such matters as alimony and child support.  The exception originates in the case Barber v. Barber, 62, U.S. (21 How.) 582, 584 (1859)--determined over a hundred years ago--where the Supreme Court ruled, "We disclaim altogether any jurisdiction in the courts of the United States upon the subject of divorce, or for the allowance of alimony..." 
Also, in subsequent cases the federal court disclaimed, in dictum, federal jurisdiction of "the whole subject of husband, wife, and child.  I believe there is also a similar probate exception.
According to Anthony B. Ullman of the "Columbia Law Review", federal courts have accepted these assertions as implied limitations on their jurisdiction, despite a statutory grant of diversity jurisdiction that nowhere mentions such an exception.  Naturally, under these circumstances the results have been contradictory and confusing. 
In 1992, in another case, Ankenbrandt v. Richards, the Federal Court further defined the domestic relations exception stating that it has to do with custody and alimony issues only and not to other issues such as torts. 
Still, the bottom line is that this exception gives the Federal Court a broad range of authority to simply dismiss cases emerging from family court particularly when they are brought by self represented parties. 
Thus, the Domestic Relations Exception provides an additional barrier to litigants attempting to obtain relief from the denial of their Constitutional and Human Rights.
With two such solid barriers in place, no wonder family courts everywhere have such a widespread reputation for negligent legal practice and the routine violation of litigants' rights.  No wonder they are laughing at you, and no wonder they don't care what you think and figure they will get away with all sorts of wrong doing and criminal behavior.
Not that I am advocating that you sit down and die in the face of these obstacles.  I would definitely do your research and find a basis in case law for arguing against them.  But don't be na├»ve and think it is going to be easy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Procedures for the General Public
The procedure for filing a claim with the Commissioner of Claims is as follows:

(refer to

Chapter 53, Section 4-141, et seq. of the Connecticut General Statutes):
1.Claimant must file himself, or by an attorney.
2. Include the name and address of the claimant.
3. Provide a concise statement of the claim including the date, time, place and circumstances surrounding the claim, the state agency being filed against, and the amount of money requested. The claim must be filed in duplicate.

 4. Statement should include sufficient allegations to show what the state did or failed to do which caused the damage or injury complained of.

5. A filing fee must be submitted with each claim. The check or money order should be made payable to the Treasurer, State of Connecticut, but mailed to the Office of the Claims Commissioner. Effective July 1, 1992, Public Act 92-6 requires that a filing fee of $25 be paid on each claim for $5000 or less, and $50 be paid on each claim in excess of $5,000.
6. Claims in amounts of less than $5000 must be sworn and notarized and supported by bills, estimates, etc, for exparte hearings.
7.Claims must be filed within one year of the date of incident.
8. If the claim is for property damage or personal injury, the claimant should look to his/her insurance carrier for reimbursement. In the event of a deductible, a claimant may file with the Commissioner for the amount of the deductible. An affidavit concerning the existence and amount of coverage, the deductible, and the amount received or to be received from insurance, or the cover sheet of the applicable insurance policy should accompany the claim.

*Claimants should refer to Section 4-142 of the Connecticut General Statutes to insure that statutory notice limitations and statute of limitations are met for "excepted" claims or defective conditions, Section 4-146.

Office of the Claims Commissioner
999 Asylum Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06105
For further information, check at the link below:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


As you know, I have been dealing with Appellate Court for most of 2011 and the experience is beginning to wear away at me.  Today I received three orders of the Appellate Court denying my motions.  I'm like, what is this? I'm cute, I'm good looking, I have a compelling argument--how could you possibly deny me? 

Along with this more recent annoyance, I have also begun to suspect that I'm been played with by some of the Appellate Clerks.  More specifically, I have had Court Clerks refuse to accept motions I submitted stating that they were not in the right format when I know very well that the opposing attorney submitted motions using the exact same format which were accepted. 

The first and second time I confronted them on this issue, the clerks stated that they had not received any such documents from the opposing attorney.   What is more, they said, since the format was incorrect, they wouldn't accept any such documents and that they were not in the Court File. I came in twice and on two occasions the clerks assured me of this. 

Then I came in another time and--low and behold!!!--they found out that they had the documents all along and that they had accepted them despite the so called improper format. As a result, I missed the opportunity to respond to these motions because I wrongly believed they had not been officially submitted to the Court. 

When I then challenged the Clerks about accepting the opposing attorney's documents even though they said they were in an incorrect format and wouldn't accept them, all of a sudden they had an excuse saying it was OK with the particular document she had submitted.  So I then submitted my motions which were exactly the same as the opposing attorney's motions, using the same format as the opposing attorney in my case, and they again insisted the format was wrong and that I couldn't hand it in. 

I'm like, didn't you just tell me it is ok and didn't you just show me how you accepted the exact same format in motions submitted by the opposing attorney.  Oh, no, they said, you have to have this prescribed format no matter what. 

So I said, well you didn't ask the opposing attorney to do that.  So, I'm like, what is this, I'm getting nonsense every time I come down here.  I need fresh air.  I need a new crew of people.  I need the Federal Court--right now--today! 

To effectuate this change, I called my Case Manager at Appellate Court whom I will call Mr. Joe Schmoe.  Mr. Schmoe, I say, I would like to transfer my case to Federal Court, so what is the procedure for doing that?  Can I transfer it now or do I have to wait until the Appellate Court arrives at a decision?  Well, says Mr. Schmoe, I truly have no idea about that.  You would have to go to Federal Court and ask a Federal Court Clerk that question. 

This is where my reference to "taking the long walk" comes in.  The Federal Court in this area is somewhat of a hike from the Family, Civil, Criminal, Appellate and Supreme Courts so you have to take a bit of a long walk to get there.  So I took that walk.  And, of course, symbolically it is a long walk, a walk, supposedly into a more cosmopolitan, and legally sophisticated level of jurisprudence.  Or at least you hope!

I was met at the door by Men in Black Suits who provided building security.  This was in considerable contrast to the blue workmen uniforms of security guards in the State of Connecticut Courthouses.  Already, I felt like I was taking a step up. 

I obtained directions to the Federal Clerk's Office which is downstairs in the basement of the building. 

The Clerk's Office was a very large room with the service counter at a considerable distance from the clerk's desks.  There was an old fashioned silver bell there for me to ring for service, but I was not happy with the idea of ringing it; it seemed so 1920s.  There were no other customers in the office, which gave me the impression that not many people come in there. 

Eventually, a nice lady came up to me and asked me whether she could help me.  I was like, Yes, I want to transfer my Appellate Court case from State Court over to Federal Court, so how would I do that?  The clerk answered, I am really not sure.  I think you would have to ask at the Appellate Court to get an answer to that question. 

But Appellate Court told me to come down here and ask you, I responded. 

I can't say anything about that, says the clerk, but you would have to ask an Appellate Court clerk for an answer to the question. 

I responded, but you ought to know how this works.  Isn't this your business? 

No, we are not allowed to give out legal advice, answers the clerk. 

But this isn't legal advice, I said, this is simply a request regarding your procedures.  I would like to know what are the procedures involved in getting a case moved over here. 

When the clerk realized that I intended to stand there stubbornly continuing to ask questions, she said why don't I check with my supervisor and ask what she thinks. 

Then off the Clerk went and disappeared in the maze of desks where I knew people must be hidden, but couldn't see anyone.  Eventually, the clerk came back and said, you really need to ask Appellate Court. 

So I responded, don't you have anything that you can show me in the Federal Practice Book that provides guidelines, or do you have any book that gives you information on how to proceed? 

Let me just check, she says, goes back to her desk and returns with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and after around ten minutes she gets to the page about removing a case from State Court to Federal Court.  The first thing she lets me know is that most of the time it is Defendants that come to Federal Court and not Plaintiffs. 

Already, I was feeling bad since I am a Plantiff. 

She also told me that most of the time litigants come directly to Federal Court from Superior Court.  And again, I am not feeling so good because I left Superior Court a while back and I'm now in Appellate Court. 

Does being a litigant already in Appellate Court preclude you from transferring your case to Federal Court, I asked?  I don't know, answered the clerk, you would have to ask the Appellate Court whether that is the case.  Honestly, I answered, you have all these litigants coming to file cases here in Federal Court and you have never dealt with the case like mine?  Not you or anyone else in this office?  Are you for real about that?  Yes, she says, I simply don't know.  I have never dealt with a situation like this. 

Then just as if it is an afterthought, the Clerk says, we do have a Handbook for Self Represented Litigants in Federal Court.  Would you like a copy of it?  I'm like Praise the Lord--of course I would. And I took a moment to congratulate myself that I'm one of those people who keeps on hanging around asking questions no matter how many times I'm told "no".  Because If I'd accepted this Clerk's first response that I should check with Appellate Court, and if I had just picked myself up and left, I never would have found out about that Handbook!  Being persistent and annoying works!

So we get out the Handbook of Federal Procedure for Self Represented parties and looked up removal of cases.  What it said is that a Plaintiff has to file a complaint with Federal Court in order to remove a case to Federal Court while a Defendant has to file a Notice of Removal. 

I pointed out that it looks as though the Plaintiff only has to file a complaint, forget the Notice of Removal.  But the clerk disagreed with me.  She asked, how will the court know you have left their jurisdiction if you don't file a Notice of Removal?  I'm like, I don't know, because they'd get a copy of the complaint?  Still, the wording seemed a little iffy to me, so I continued to feel that I didn't have enough information.  And at that point it became clear that I'd milked the Clerk for all she could give me.  So I left.

On the way back to my car, I got on my cell phone and called Appellate Court.  I explained my problem to the Appellate Court Clerk.  How can I transfer my case from the Appellate Court to Federal Court.  What is the procedure?  Do I have to wait for a ruling in Appellate Court before transferring or can I just skip the whole thing and move on to Federal Court? 

Again, I got my answer.  You would have to speak to a Federal Court Clerk about that because we do not have that information.  Well, I said, I just spoke to a Federal Clerk and she said that I would have to get the answer from an Appellate Court Clerk.  Well, says the Clerk, I don't have that information.  And I'm not allowed to give you legal advice.  This isn't legal advice, I said.  I am simply asking you a question about procedure.  Well, says the Clerk, I really don't have the answer to that. 

Does that mean you have never been asked this question before, I asked?  Nobody has ever gone to Federal Court from Appellate Court before?  No, says the clerk, I just simply don't know.  So how would I get that information, I asked.  You would have to speak to the Case Manager, says the Clerk. 

Ok, I say, could you transfer me to Mr. Schmoe?  No, Mr. Schmoe isn't in right now, says the Clerk.  Oh, he isn't, I said, so where is he?  I don't know, says the Clerk.  Is he in today?  I ask.  Well, yes, he is, says the Clerk, but I don't know where he is.  Is he in Court I ask?  We are not paid to keep track of where our Case Managers are, says the Clerk.  Well, is he in Court or at his desk? I asked, (Seeing as I'm getting the runaround feeling and I've had too much of the runaround feeling today, and along with the I'm beginning to feel a little bit jokey, now.  I'm beginning to toy with the guy a bit, I admit, but still I am well within my rights to know the answers to my questions--honestly!) 

How can I get to speak to Mr. Schmoe, I ask.  Ok, Mrs. Sloper, says the clerk,  (just beginning to figure out what a comedian I am) I've done as much as I can today.  I've told you as much as I can, his voice fading away indicating he's ready to move on.  But, I say quickly, could you connect me first to Mr. Schmoe's voice mail?  But the Clerk has already hung up. 

So I called back and some other Clerk answers.  Could you connect me to Mr. Joe Schmoe's voice mail I say, and I leave the message including my detailed question. 

Will I hear back from Mr. Schmoe?  Well, it's several hours later and the work day is coming to a close and I still haven't heard from him.  Will I be able to get a straight answer from him about the procedure for transferring a case to Federal Court?  I doubt it.  By rights, I should get one, but the likelihood is still very low.

The big question is, the question I walk away with, is, why do they give people such a runaround.  Why do they make it so difficult for citizens in the State of Connecticut to find their way to Federal Court so they can gain access to their civil rights?  It's a good question.  Going to Federal Court shouldn't be such a tough job.