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The Perils of Filing an Appeal

by Anonymous (posted by R. Norse)
The following story, e-mailed to me by a friend, is a well-written, encouraging, and illuminating tale of the troubles you may face filing a appeal. It describes the combination of ignorance, pigheadedness, arrogance, and obstruction that can and do happen. These kind of hostile roadblocks are raised even in relatively simple matters where the law is on your side--perhaps particularly where the law is on your side. At this time, the author prefers to remain anonymous.
Friday, December 28, 2007 2:24:05 PM

I filed the appeal today re my trial from November 29th. Just got back about half an hour ago.

This is just astonishing, when I got to the Superior Court clerk's window to file the documents the clerk wasn't sure if they endorsed appeals or whether I was at the right place. This IS the building where the Appellate Department is located but apparently they're not aware of this fact. He needed to go find a Supervisor. The Supervisor came out and they pow wowed for a bit and I guess were able to determine that I was in the right place but that the clerk who files appeals was at lunch and I had to come back in an hour or I could leave them and pick them up later. I sorta insisted that wasn't reasonable and I just needed the papers endorsed so I could go file them with the other parties. Reluctantly, they endorsed them, all but one that is.

Just as the clerk began to file stamp the documents he handed back one of the copies without endorsing it. I pushed it back through the window and said I needed it endorsed for my records and he said they only endorse the original and two copies per their policy. I had three parties to serve and I needed one for myself and I asked to see the policy to which he referred. He didn't like that request. After stamping the documents he got up and went and got the Supervisor. She reiterated that it was their policy to only endorse three copies and I asked her if I could see the policy. She didn't quite know what to say and looked kinda stunned that someone was questioning her authority and turned and went into a cubicle.

The clerk who file stamped the documents snottily asked if I always questioned policy and I said quite sternly, yeah. I then added that I didn't like being ripped off or misinformed. The second head honcho supervisor came out and admonished me that I wasn't being ripped off. I clarified by stating that I never said I was being ripped off but that I didn't like being ripped off. She stared at me for a little while and then reiterated that it's their "policy" to only endorse the original and two copies. Again, I asked her to see the policy she was referring to. She eventually repeated what the other people said that it's their "policy" as if I was gonna buy it and go away. She then added that I could make a copy of it. I stated that I didn't want to take it apart and copy it. She stated they could make a copy for me for a dollar a page. I smirked and said I didn't think so and that it takes like 10 seconds to endorse and I can take them to where I need to go. I asked her if someone would get fired if they endorsed it and she again said it's their policy. She then turned and left. She went into her cube and I could over here her and the other supervisor discussing where the policy is. After a few minutes she came back out and informed me they were going to endorse it as a courtesy. I didn't care I just wanted the damn thing file stamped so I could be on my way and take em to where I needed to take em next.

The DA was easy. Next stop, Traffic Court. After half an hour of standing in line I got to the clerk's window and stated I needed to file a document and for her to keep one for the record. Sure enough another know it all and obstructionist clerk. She looked at and after a few moments asked if it was an appeal. I sat there dumbfounded because she spent like 30 seconds staring at the caption page where we find the following: APPELLANT'S OPENING BRIEF and where the term APPELLANT is located under my name. I wanted to make a smart ass remark but refrained and simply said yes. She said that I had to pay the fine before I could appeal. I said I just need it endorsed. She reiterated that I needed to pay the fine and I just sat there and stared at her. She got up and left with my paper. After about 5 minutes she came back and again insisted that I have to pay the fine. I said that she needs to review the record. She then was looking at her computer monitor presumably at my matter and didn't see anything to disuade her so I stated that it's on the record. I said that she wasn't in the court room when the commissioner said what he said on the record. She wasn't liking my "tude" very much and then reluctantly endorsed the documents. I then thanked her and left.

This is the kinda crap I constantly run into and which passes for service when I transact with government agencies.

A few inspirational quotes:

If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.
Thomas Pynchon

If evidence of a fact is clear, positive, uncontradicted and
of such nature it cannot rationally be disbelieved, the court
must instruct that fact has been established as a matter of law.
Roberts v. Del Monte Properties Co., 111 CA2d. 69 (1952).

They will do whatever we let them get away with.
Joseph Heller

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

For well-documented recent examples of this kind of bureaucratic bullying and stonewalling by Santa Cruz courts and SCPD, check out:

SCPD Covering Up False Police Report From Councilmember Mike Rotkin?

A Torturous Tale of Seeking Public Records from the SCPD

Public Records, even just one? Only if you agree to pay!

Not So Public Records
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