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Do Cook County judges show leniency to pro SE litigants ?

Arlington Heights, IL |

How much leniency can they get in a civil or chancery case?

Attorney Answers 8

Posted

You might get a bit of break on some aspects of pleading, but you will get no break at all on having to prove your case by proper evidence, having to comply with the rules of evidence in asking questions of witnesses, meeting deadlines, and putting together a sound legal argument in support of any contested position. And if you waste the judge's time because you do not know what you are doing, do not expect to be treated with patience.

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Joshua Sachs

Joshua Sachs

Posted

Cook County has, or had at one time, a pro se court designed for relatively simple cases in which everybody appeared pro se. In that court you would do just fine.

Asker

Posted

Thank you. What if opposing legal counsel is lax and sloppy, should sanction be brought against the attorney or is it up to the judge to enforce the rules? My experience has been the opposite, i.e. judges are giving leniency to the attorneys.

Joshua Sachs

Joshua Sachs

Posted

Be careful about asking for sanctions. Many judges and lawyers detest the very idea of sanctions and do not look kindly upon anybody who asks for them, whether lawyers or pro se litigants. You are not likely to improve your situation by asking for sanctions. In my mind it is a sign of ugly and aggressive lawyering, and I find it hard to respect an attorney who does it. Leave enforcement of the rules to the judge. You are not the marshal of the court.

Asker

Posted

Then, what is the point of having sanctions if not to use it when an opposing legal counsel is blatantly violating the law and abusing inexperienced pro se ligitants in the presence of the judge? The judges are encouraging bad practice by not stepping in.

Joshua Sachs

Joshua Sachs

Posted

There is a real problem with pro se litigation. You have a right to do it, and for some people it is the only route that is financially possible, but the law is not made for it and is really much to subtle and complicated for anyone but an experienced professional. Watch the young lawyers screw up in court and you will see how long it takes to learn. Many lawyers, myself among them, will not touch a case outside of a very narrow area in which we are specialized.

Asker

Posted

I've been watching, nothing really happens. Both; young and old are screwing up. It is of my opinion the real problem is with all parties involved (pro se, experienced legal counsel, and judges). The rules are not rigidly followed, at least, half the time. Today, law is one big joke and favors those with connections.

Posted

I do not practice in IL and I am not sure what YOU mean by leniency--if you are asking whether judges will cut you slack on timelines, statutes of limitations, introduction of evidence, depositions, Bills of Particular, Answers, subpoena's and other procedural matters because you are not a lawyer--while holding your opponent to a higher standard--the answer in any jurisdiction I have heard of is 'NO'.

READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I am providing educational instruction only--not legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.

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Asker

Posted

leniency: the quality or state of being lenient.

Posted

You will be expected to follow the rules of the court. I would not expect leniency or a lot of patience if you make mistakes and waste the courts time.

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Asker

Posted

yeah- you'd be surprised---it's even more sad to see licensed lawyers fumbling through, against a pro se litigant.

Posted

Although pro se litigants are held to the same standard as attorneys, some judges do cut pro se parties a little slack. It depends upon the judge. It depends upon the area of law. It depends upon the demeanor of the parties and opposing counsel. Etc.

You have asked many procedural questions over the past day or so. Please understand that the lawyers here are volunteers who try to answer simple questions in a Q&A forum. We are not a subsitute for law school.

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Posted

That is an unanswerable question. First because each judge has their own style. Second, because each division and courtroom has different rule. A much better question is will I obtain a better result acting pro se? The answer to that question is easy. No, generally a competent attorney will obtain better results 99 times out of 100. There are always exceptions, however, there is a saying "He who represents himself has a fool for a client." Hire an attorney.

I am licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin only I can not give advise in any other state. Any responses posted on Avvo do not constitute a contract and no attorney client relationship is created. Any answers given are based only upon the information provided and are not to be considered legal advice.

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Asker

Posted

4 out of 5 correctly answered it --a lower fool factor, than I expected.

Posted

In general, pro se litigants are given leniency by judges in Cook County depending on the type of case. If you are handling a small claims case pro se, that is a normal occurrence. However, if you are handling break of contract, personal injury, medical malpractice or other complex litigation, the courts will quickly lose patience with a pro se litigant and hold you to the same procedural rules as any attorney. If you find yourself with one of the latter type cases, you should consult and probably hire an attorney for your case.

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Posted

How are you defining leniency? Do you mean to ask if Judges will be less strict about procedure with pro se litigants? Or do you mean to ask if Judges will be less severe or harsh with the substance/outcomes of rulings against a pro se litigant (i.e. how much money you owe, how/when you lose ownership/possession of property)?

In either case, it would not be a quantifiable amount. Nor would it be a rule the Judge would have to follow. Judges generally try to be fair to both sides.

[Disclaimer- This information is provided as general information only and should not be construed as specific legal advice as this website is not intended to provide anyone with specific legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created with the furnishing of this information. This answer should not be used as a substitute for fully discussing the factual nuances of your case with a licensed professional attorney in the state where you are located.]

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Posted

As with many questions asked of lawyers, the answer is, "It depends." It depends not only upon what you mean by leniency but also upon the particular judge hearing the case and the issues involved. However, in general terms, it is not unusual at all for judges to give pro se litigants the benefit of the doubt when they request additional time to respond to pleadings or motions. This can be frustrating to the other side in the case when continuances are granted and the process of reaching a resolution of the matter is delayed. On the other hand, it has been my experience that Cook County judges in the Law Division and Chancery Division will hold a pro se litigant to the same standards as an attorney when it comes to questioning witnesses and establishing the foundation for evidence during hearings and trials.

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