One (out of many) of our favorite quotes from a Maine Supreme Court decision has the ring of final authority that is almost biblical. To us, it effectively seems to say, folks, on this sacred verity there is no possible rebuttal. It’s almost, “God is speaking!” But, … and not to disrespect God, here is the quote – and our rebuttal:
SUPREME COURT: “ NO PRINCIPLE OF APPELLATE REVIEW IS BETTER ESTABLISHED THAN THE PRINCIPLE THAT CREDIBILITY DETERMINATIONS ARE LEFT TO THE SOUND JUDGMENT OF THE TRIER OF FACT”.
OUR REBUTTAL: To us, this is a statement of a nice ideal, or a “wish-it-were-true”- not the reality that the public experiences. If all judges possessed super human “infallibility”, it might be true. But they don’t. They are subject to human error, just like all other mortals. In the case that lead to this quote, the judge was far from infallible about Guardians ad litem. He gave a vivid indisputable demonstration of his legal fallibility, when he improperly referred a complaint about the Guardian ad litem in an active case that he was judging to the Chief Judge of the District Courts. Key issues: (a) the case was being actively argued in HIS court.(b) by the “rules” as stated on the Judicial Branch web site, he himself is supposed to address and judge the merits of complaints about Guardians ad litem in active cases in his court.
Despite being told by the untrained ‘pro se’ plaintiff that he was mistaken in making this referral he insisted on making this very inappropriate referral in violation of the Maine Rules for Guardians ad litem. If he didn’t know the actual written Rules for Guardians ad litem with respect to complaints against Guardians ad litem, one has to ask what else didn’t he know about the Rules governing Guardians ad litem, and how could he judge a GAL’s functional performance, absent full knowledge of the standards for the job?
The God-like quote above is a clear example of demonstrated bias that favors an inept, uninformed judge, and it disfavors the ironically more informed party who was represented ‘pro se’. The decisions coming out of this flawed process both shape and distort the actual facts to maintain an image that all is well in the courts, both probate and Supreme. This is not true in this case where the language of the decision and the actions of the lower court attempt to bamboozle a ‘pro se’ representative with statements that are provably false.
The court’s decision raises a serious question about public “access to justice” and a constitutionally guaranteed “equal protection of the laws (for everyone)”! A ‘pro se’ representative, even with some “home study” can never match the skills of an experienced lawyer or the highly empowered (though in this case an uninformed) judge. It is an unequal legal conflict between “a peashooter vs a cannon”.
So much for “CREDIBILITY DETERMINATIONS ARE LEFT TO THE SOUND JUDGMENT OF THE TRIER OF FACT!
Maine has a 74% ‘pro se’ problem. 74% of court cases are receiving unequal access to justice in Maine courts. It is a class discrimination “secret” that flies under the radar. It violates the US Constitution. For constitutional compliance and respect for “the rule of law” it needs correction asap!
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