Pro Per vs. Pro Se
by Djehuty Ma'at-Ra.
If you are one of the few but bold and intelligent Americans who know that any legal case can be litigated without an attorney and decide to litigate your own case, be it civil or criminal, but especially civil, you need to know the legal difference between proceeding "pro per" (or "in pro per" or "in propria persona") and proceeding "pro se" (or "in pro se").
Understanding of these two terms is critical, especially pertaining to personam jurisdiction.
There are two types of jurisdiction: "personam" and "subject matter" and a court needs to clearly have jurisdiction of both in order to hear a case for or against you.
Personam jurisdiction gives a court the authority over your person or you as an individual in order to hear or try a case involving you.
Subject matter jurisdiction gives a court the authority over the thing, issue, or activity (i.e. negotiable instrument, car collision, injury to person or property, alleged crime, etc. alleged in a complaint) in order to hear or try a case involving you.
Believe it or not, use of the wrong legal phrase can sabotage you, jurisdiction-wise.
Okay, let's look at the two terms in detail and in depth.
"In propria persona." In one's own proper person. It was formerly a rule of pleading that pleas to the jurisdiction of the court must be plead in propria persona, because if pleaded by attorney they admit the jurisdiction, as an attorney is an officer of the court, and he is presumed to plead after having obtained leave (permission), which admits the jurisdiction. See Pro se. Black's Law Dictionary, 5th edition, pg. 712
"Pro se." For himself; in his own behalf; in person. Appearing for oneself, as in the case of one who does not retain a lawyer and appears for himself in court. Black's Law Dictionary, 5th edition, pg. 1099
Appearing "pro se" is not the same as appearing "in propria persona" as one appearing "pro se" is serving as his own attorney and thereby granting the court jurisdiction (personam jurisdiction) as all attorneys are officers of the court. As you saw in the definition of "in propria persona" above, when attorneys plead for you, they automatically admit the jurisdiction (court's authority). Attorneys are agents of the court that are used to give the court automatic jurisdiction. That's why you are always told to get an attorney for your court action. It's not because attorneys are legally trained in the law. It's because they are officers of the court and automatically give the court authority over you and this makes things easier for the judge.
The word 'attorney' derives from the Old French (Late Middle English 'atorn')word 'atorne', which means, "to turn." Attorneys 'turn' you over to the court's jurisdiction. This is why it is so common for a judge to tell a lawyerless litigant: "I suggest you get yourself an attorney!"
The Black's Law Dictionary, 5th edition, definition provides us with crucial information, especially if we are to argue jurisdiction. You see, before a court can proceed with an action against you or involving you, be it civil or criminal, jurisdiction (personam and subject matter) must be established on the court's record and this is black letter law.
Please reference the following for your legal edification:
"The law requires proof of jurisdiction to appear on the record of the administrative agency and all administrative proceedings." Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 533
"The record must show affirmatively that the jurisdictional requirements have been satisfied." Hayman v. L.A., 17 Cal.App.2d. 674
In most cases, it is very easy for a court to assume subject matter jurisdiction in a case because all a court needs is the filing of a complaint or verified complaint, also known as an "accusation."
Please reference the following:
"Jurisdiction over the subject matter is acquired when an action or proceeding is instituted by the filing of a complaint in a court in the jurisdictional territory competent to hear and determine the particular cause." People v. Gomper (1984) 160 Cal.App.3d Supp. 1; Sharp v. Johnson (5th Cir. 1997) 107 F.3d 282; St. James Church v. Superior Court (1955) 135 Cal.App.2d 352; Silverman v. Greenberg (1938) 12 Cal.2d 21
"A formal accusation is essential for every trial for crime, without it the court acquires no jurisdiction to proceed." 16 Corpus Juris Secundum § 230 (Criminal Law)
"A court acquires jurisdiction over the subject matter when an action is instituted by the filing of a complaint." 16 California Jurisprudence, 3rd Series, § 170 (Courts)
A lot of times, a court will essentially assume jurisdiction so as to proceed and prosecute, but the law is clear in that jurisdiction can never be assumed, but must be proven, especially when jurisdiction is challenged by a litigant, usually the defendant in a case.
Please reference the following:
"Once challenged, jurisdiction cannot be assumed, it must be proved to exist." Stuck v. Medical Examiners, 94 Ca2d 751, 211 P2d 389
"Jurisdiction, once challenged, cannot be assumed and must be decided." Maine v. Thiboutot, 100 S.Ct. 250
"Jurisdiction may never be assumed, not even by colorable claims or status or black robes or officialdom or appearances, but must be substantively proven by the plaintiff/claimant of said jurisdiction. Once challenged by any proper party the plaintiff/complaint must prove their jurisdiction in a timely manner." McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 56 S.Ct. 502
It is black letter law that when a court proceeds without jurisdiction being established on the record, the entire proceeding and even an adverse ruling is null and void. Please reference the following:
"A universal principle as old as the law, is that a proceeding of a court without jurisdiction is a nullity and its judgment therein without effect either on person or property." Norwood v. Kenfield, 34 Cal.Rptr. 329; 117 Cal.Rptr. 573, 49 P. 732
So remember, a court must establish on the record that jurisdiction is established or proven before it can have authority over a person (litigant) and subject matter (i.e. complaint which lists injury to person and/or property, alleged crime, etc.), and it is the duty of the plaintiff or complainant (person claiming to be adversely affected by another's action against him or her) to establish or prove the jurisdiction, however, the unfortunate reality is that in most courts in the United States, a court (via a judge) will simply assume the jurisdiction and not have anyone prove the jurisdiction, (personam jurisdiction), and simply move forward so as to prosecute the case so the court can adjudicate (in a civil matter) and make money and/or gain control over property (the convicted person) in a criminal case or matter.
A lot of times when you challenge personam jurisdiction, the judge will tell you that the court has personam jurisdiction by the very fact that you showed up to court in the first place; but look at the tricky tactics used. If you didn't show up to court, in a civil matter, you'd have a default judgment issued against you (after an "OSC" Order To Show Cause hearing was first scheduled); and in a criminal case, you'd have an arrest warrant issued for your arrest.
So if you go to court and state that you are challenging personam jurisdiction, the judge may over rule you and tell you that the court has jurisdiction over your person because you are there in person. So the court may automatically assume personam jurisdiction every time you show up to court. But you are compelled to appear via coercion, duress, and menace.
I'm sorry to say, but most courts are absolutely about money - making money, especially in criminal cases, so the judges may straight get gangster on you and automatically assume the jurisdiction and move forward so as to have you convicted and then order you to pay money, restitution, and/or do free labor, euphemistically called "community service." This is mostly the case in a traffic case.
So when you plead 'in propria persona', the court may still end up with jurisdiction by other means, tricky means.
The complaint is going to grant subject matter jurisdiction and your appearance is going to grant personam jurisdiction, so learning this fact of life, it is best that you make sure you are legally prepared to battle any case against you. Don't invest too much energy into arguing over jurisdiction. You have to give up personam jurisdiction in order to argue subject matter jurisdiction. That's just how it is!
You will hear many folks and groups out there telling you Djehuty is wrong here about jurisdiction and that you should always contest jurisdiction and even status, and I'm telling you that in theory that is correct and it sounds good, but in reality, it is a waste of time. I'm not here telling you something that sounds good so as to get some money from you in the future by selling you some legal documents that are supposed to make you soveriegn. You don't have to pay for information here at Dherbs.com. 99.9% of it is for free!
Sovereigns, or so-called sovereigns, have exhausted these legal arguments (such as status/nationality and jurisdiction) and judges today on all levels (state and federal court) are aware of all sovereign arguments and are prepared for them.
Folks had a lot of success with certain legal arguments and sovereignty in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but since 2004, the sovereign movement has had its lights turned off by government, with many of the so-called leaders of this movement thrown in jail.
How do you think Wesley Snipes got into trouble with the government? Answer: Following the outdated advice of some would-be sovereign individuals who are now in federal prison themselves.
And it's not that these individuals were totally wrong in their legal stance and arguments, but a combination of them making costly mistakes as well as the government also railroading them so as to protect their interests, which is complete control and domination over the American people (U.S. citizens). In a tax case, federal courts will not even allow you to use U.S. Supreme Court case law that would allow any legally astute citizen to win their case against the I.R.S. in a "failure to pay taxes" case. This is a miscarriage of justice and outright tyrannical. It prevents people from making and claiming a legal defense.
Don't rely on sovereign tactics such as arguing status (or nationality) and jurisdiction or the maritime-admiralty nature of the court. Learn your statutory arguments and be prepared to go into court and kick ass on their level. Learn the statutes because that's what the courts will accept, simply because that's what they use against you; so learn those statutes. Always remember that all law offers remedy and recourse, even statutory law.
It's great to learn about sovereign arguments and legal theories, but it's even better to learn about court RULES, PROCEDURE, and LAW (constitutional, statutory, and case-decisional), because when a judge rejects every single sovereign argument you come to court with, you don't have to worry about standing before the court stuck on stupid; you can battle these malefactors on their level and speaking their language which is statutory law language and case-law or legal precedent.
What do you care about statutory language? After all, you just want to win, right? All right then! If you want to win, then you need to do what is necessary so you can play their bullshit legal game and prevail. It's all a game anyway. You have the plaintiff (offense) and the defendant (defense) and then you have the judge as the referee. It's a game, people! That's why they call it COURT. Games are played on a court, i.e. tennis court, basketball court, etc. You're in a game and like in every game there's a winner and a loser. The person who knows the rules of the game and has the most skill at the game usually wins the game.
I mastered the whole sovereignty thing but I also learned to master the statutory side of things too. I became balanced. Because I had knowledge of the common law, constitutional law, statutory law, and case-decisional law, and not to mention God's law or higher law or divine law (Universal law), I always had the advantage and that's why I never had any problems going to court. I knew what language to use to communicate so as to get what I wanted. I stopped using so-called sovereign arguments many years ago. I really had no need to. I soon learned I could defeat government and litigants on level one instead of jumping to level two (hardcore sovereign arguments).
In most cases, you will end up in court for a traffic ticket. Most American's court experiences come from traffic tickets. If you argue subject matter jurisdiction in a traffic case, the court will claim the traffic ticket constitutes the jurisdiction because the traffic ticket is a complaint, which is bullshit!
A traffic ticket is NOT a complaint! A traffic ticket is a negotiable instrument. How could a traffic ticket be a complaint when it fails to mention whom the plaintiff is, whom the defendant is, what the cause of action is, and also fails to include a statement of facts, clerk's signature, court seal, etc? These things above constitute a lawful complaint. Just read your state's Code of Civil Procedure and you will see that my words are 100% factually correct.
But if you don't know what a real and true complaint is and consist of, you'll accept a traffic ticket as a complaint out of your ignorance.
A traffic ticket is nothing but a court summons. A traffic ticket summons you to court, but the whole thing is voluntary because with this special kind of court summons (called a traffic ticket), you have to promise to appear, unlike in a real criminal case or a real civil case.
Technically, a traffic ticket is a "written promise to appear." Now why do you have to promise to appear? Oh, is it because it prevents the police officer from taken you to jail on the spot? It can't be, because in all 49 states (except for Florida), traffic offenses are infractions and infractions are offenses not punishable by imprisonment. In California, check out Penal Code section 19.6 for substantiation.
A traffic ticket is also a standard or general ticket, and a ticket allows you admission or entrance into a place, in this case, the traffic ticket allows you admission or entrance into a court.
When you first get the ticket, you don't have to pay any money. Not when you're first pulled over on the street by the Robo-Cop (law enforcement officer). You are given credit to pay later. That's why you have been "charged" with a violation. This is the same kind of charge like a credit card or charge account. Charge accounts let you get something now and pay later, and that's what happens with traffic tickets in court, you'll end up paying for it later when you simply pay the traffic ticket, which admits your guilt to the alleged charge or offense; or, when you go to court to contest the ticket and lose.
NOTE: 90% of people who go to court to contest a traffic ticket lose and that's because they don't know how to argue law. Instead of arguing "rules", "procedure", and "law" (Vehicle Code, case law), they argue the "facts."
When you argue the facts, it's now a situation like "He say, she say" with you and the cop and now the judge can simply choose to believe whomever he or she wants to believe and 90% of the times, the court (judge) is going to believe the officer because at the end of the day, traffic court is established to collect extra revenue for the state, county, and city and money cannot be collected if a judge is not finding people guilty of alleged traffic offenses, violations, or charges. This is why judges believe the cop's words over the citizen's word. Convictions equal money (revenue).
You may not like my saying this and you may even doubt every thing I'm saying. Well, I'll just say this: "Keep on living, Jack!" You'll soon come to discover the truth of my words about this Matrix and it's pseudo legal system.
The American court system also practices WORD CONTROL and I will teach you these words (via articles) that are used to control you/us.
I am not anti sovereignty or pro sovereignty. I am pro intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge. I am not anti government or pro government! I am simply for personal freedom - freedom to grow and evolve!
In closing, when you handle your own legal case, make sure you know the difference between "pro per" and "pro se" despite what you have just learned from this article. It is very important that you know this when you're in a criminal case as the defendant, and especially if your position is one predicated upon claiming to be sovereign. It's not so much for the court to recognize you as "pro per", but for yourself and also for purposes of appeal (arguing the law before the higher court - court of appeals).
You see, this (knowing a thing for the sake of knowing) leads to personal sovereignty which is the ultimate sovereignty, not legal-political sovereignty. You can't be sovereign without until you're first sovereign within.
True sovereignty is not to get government to recognize you, but for you to recognize yourself, to be reminded that you are personally accountable and responsible for your own actions, that you are mature, that you are conscious, and that you are self-regulated or governed.
Thank you for reading!
This article is compliments of Dherbs.com and Djehuty Ma'at-Ra.
Additional articles by Djehuty available @ www.dherbs.com/articles/
The information above is not meant to be construed as legal advice and is only diffused for purposes of mental stimulation, education, and enlightenment.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Let's Revisit Pro Per vs. Pro Se
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