Since the early 1970s, lawyers have gained complete independence from oversight. Increasingly, the unregulated, unlimited ability of attorneys to charge their clients by the hour, for as many hours a week as possible, has impoverished thousands, if not millions of Americans. There is simply no escape from the propensity of lawyers to complicate and prolong cases. This is an abomination in this country. The members of every bar association have used this to trap litigants in the court system until they extort as much of their assets as possible. There is no motivation for any attorney to ever expedite a case quickly, and in fact the current system has the exact opposite objective. Judges have taken to abusing their discretion, failing to issue sanctions against attorneys, as these attorneys are the ones that put them in office to begin with, by funding their judicial campaigns.
Where appropriate, judicial discretion allows a judge to decide a legal case or matter within a range of possible decisions. Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the ability of judges to exercise discretion is an aspect of judicial independence, a concept can be traced back to 18th century England.. even if those decisions are politically unpopular or opposed by powerful interests. Unfortunately, this concept is subject to abuse in a democracy where the checks and balance system is as important as the separation of powers.
Where the exercise of discretion goes beyond constraints set down by legislation, by binding precedent, or by a constitution, the court may be abusing its discretion and undermining the rule of law. In that case, the decision of the court may be ultra vires, and may sometimes be characterized as judicial activism.
Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the following on this subject:
Judicial power, as contradistinguished from the power of the laws, has no existence. Courts are the mere instruments of the law, and can will nothing. When they are said to exercise a discretion, it is a mere legal discretion, a discretion to be exercised in discerning the course prescribed by law; and, when that is discerned, it is the duty of the court to follow it. Judicial power is never exercised for the purpose of giving effect to the will of the judge, [but] always for the purpose of giving effect to the will of the legislature; or, in other words, to the will of the law.
The most egregious behavior is no doubt in the family courts. Unsuspecting families think they are coming to a safe haven to resolve their family issues, and hire a lawyer. The truth is the lawyers on either side only work for each other- prolonging the case to bill as much as possible. The hourly fees range from $200 to $1000 per hour. And in my experience- the rate at which you pay has nothing to do with the quality of the legal work. It has to do with how much influence the law firm has on the judge. Most of the time, the law firm has contributed to the judge’s electoral campaign and this is how the outcome of the case will end.
If you enter the courts without an attorney i.e. pro se.. you will receive no justice at all. In fact, I requested statistics on the outcome of pro se litigants vs represented litigants- and the Administration of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) claimed they had no such statistics. I also requested the length of family court litigation in Pennsylvania in comparison to other civil cases- and they claimed they did not have that information either.
I have seen cases that are intentionally dragged out by attorneys for five years, ten years and even 20 years. If the incentive of the hourly fees were removed this would stop. This can be done by not only capping hourly fees, but by limiting the amount of charges they can invoice per week. Not only must their hourly fees be capped, but a threshold for the length of time before they are assessed punative fines, needs to be set. For example, any case that goes beyond 18 months, needs to be reviewed by a panel of non–bar associated citizens. If there is any intentional expansion of the case, both the judge and the law firms should be fined in the thousands for such conduct.
Other solutions are to tax the falsely proclaimed “non-profit” bar associations to support the court system, as the fees just to file have become prohibitive.. The U.S. Constitution provides for equal treatment under the law, and we have anything but that.. what we have are profiteering attorneys who all belong to the same club, and for decades have been robbing Americans blind. They have precluded too many people from benefiting from any of the statutes of our U.S. and State Constitutions.
A massive change that needs to be made is to bring the entire Judicial Branch back under compliance with the Open Meeting Laws, to which every other agency and branch of our government is subject. Since 1978, the lawyers have been making their own rules, to the point of completely obstructing justice and out and out stealing people’s assets. This has to stop, and the only way that it will is to make it clear to the new governor and the newly elected senators and representatives that we will not tolerate this any more.
Everyone needs to demand that the General Assembly address these issues and provide restitution for all the people that have been harmed by these lawyers. All bar members must be prohibited from serving on the judiciary committee, and it is just insane at how long this has been allowed to continue, and it continues because people do not speak up.. they wait for everyone else to do it. Copy this and send it to the Senators and Representatives in your State.. no matter what State you are in.. because there is no justice anywhere in America today.