I know from personal experience that whenever anyone writes, he has an opportunity to think, consider, write, consider again, edit, and delete whatever comments he deems imprudent or rewrite to conceal that which he doesn’t want exposed. That which is written is always drafted with the audience in mind. How much do I want to tell them? How much do I want to conceal?
On the other hand, oral statements–especially when the speaker is under stress–are far less guarded, far less “edited,” and potentially much more revealing.
Thus, whenever you read a law book or even case law, you read a “sanitized” description of the law drafted by someone who is normally very astute as to what should and should not be revealed. But when you read trial transcripts, you can see the “real” law in its most unguarded, raw and sometimes brutal majesty. The difference between the case law written by judges and the transcripts of the trial are much like the differences between a biology book’s dry description of a feline’s digestive process and actually watching feeding time at the lion cage at the zoo.
That’s why I love trial transcripts. They can be long and sometimes tedious, but they’ll show you, teach you, the real law.
When I read transcripts, I can “see” the battle. I can see the struggle as lawyers try to compel witnesses to incriminate or discredit themselves, as judge’s try to manipulate the case, and as witnesses try to think on their feet and avoid saying something that is stupid or self-destructive. I see the punches, the blocks, and the counter-punches. As I read, I can almost hear each party gasp for breath as they fight to survive or escape the back alley brawls that take place in our courts every day.
Transcripts excite me. Not merely for the violence they record, but for the revelations they provide. In the “heat” of battle, witnesses, lawyers and even judges say things, blurt things out, that I’m sure they’d regret if they thought anyone would bother to read the transcript. Fortunately (for them), virtually no one reads trial transcripts and therefore the imprudent statements seldomc come to light.
But I read transcripts. As I said, they excite me. Piss on the case law. Piss on the law books. Those sanitized descriptions reveal only what the system is willing to let you see. Transcripts reveal the real law in its most raw, brutal and sometimes brilliant magnificence.
Donna Baran is an intelligent, educated, and courageous woman who has successfully defended her home against foreclosure for at least two years. Her understanding is not perfect, but she’s learned more about the law in less time than anyone else I’ve heard of.
Donna has given the system fits because she knows that the lender sold her mortgage for 102.5% of its value within hours after she signed her mortgage. Thus, the lender was was paid in full for the loan almost instantly after having advanced the funds to Donna–but has still billed Donna for monthly mortgage payments for the past 15 years. As a result of selling the mortgage back in the early 1990’s, the people trying to foreclose no longer have the actual mortgage and thus lack standing to foreclose. They are trying to do with copies of the mortgage that which can only be done with the actual mortgage.
The system would prefer that this information not be discovered by ordinary people since–if their mortgages were also sold by their lenders–the purported “home owners” might realize that they need not make further mortgage payments on their homes. Therefore, the a series of judges have acted in complicity with the plaintiff’s attorneys to railroad Ms. Baran. Ms. Baran has so far resisted their attempts with remarkable skill, intuition and Blessing. Like I said, she’s given ‘em fits.
One of Donna’s greatest assets is her ability and inclination to buy transcripts of each of her hearings, read and study them, and LEARN what’s really going on. Her success in frustrating the system is to signficant degree based on her reading and studying her own transcripts. As she reads, she sees the mistakes she made in her last hearing and is far less likely to make those same mistakes again. As she reads, she sees what the judges or opposing lawyers were trying to do with far greater clarity than was possible in the “heat” of her courtroom “battle”. As a result, she learns to recognize the tricks the system uses to try to railroad her in one hearing and is able to spot and defeat those tricks insubsequent hearings.
Our judicial system depends on tricks, schemes and presumptions to railroad about 95% of all defendants. These tricks work just fine on people who have almost never come into a court room. Given the typical witness’ ignorance, tricking them into making self-defeating admissions is like taking candy from babies.
However, the truth is that the system only has a limited number of tricks. Once the litigants learn to recognize and defeat those tricks, the trick-dependent “system” is suddenly badly impaired and almost unable to continue.
By reading the transcripts of her own hearings, Donna has learned to recognize many of their “tricks”. As a result, she’s become a formidable adversary. For example, a homeowners association that’s trying to sue Donna for unpaid homeowners association dues, has reportedly spent about $50,000 in lawyers fees to try to collect a $5,000 lien. Makes me laugh. We don’t know how this is going to end, but so far, she’s giving them fits.
What follows is a transcript of Donna’s most recent hearing that’s been decorated with my usual highlighting and comments. Most of my comments are conjectural and not to be relied on. But if you’ll take time to read the entire document, you’ll begin to see how much is revealed and how much can be gleaned and learned from transcripts. Click here for the PDF file: 090811 2009-07-20 BARAN HRG B4 ROUSE hnk