TorteDeForm

Kia Franklin

Montana Chief Justice Calls for Civil Gideon

Thought I'd share this interesting piece, Ensuring the Promise of our Constitution, by Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Karla Gray. She's essentially urging for Civil Gideon in Montana, then laying out what is being done right now and what needs to be done to fill the gap in access to representation there. From the article:

The U.S. Constitution requires that all people receive the equal protection of the laws. “Equal Justice Under Law” appears over the main entry to the U.S. Supreme Court in our nation’s capitol. If folks cannot reasonably access their courts, I believe it goes without saying that equal protection of the laws and equal justice under law will remain empty promises.

Sadly, many Montanans have – as a practical matter – little or no realistic hope of obtaining equal justice. I speak of our friends and neighbors who are on the edge financially and simply cannot afford to hire an attorney. I think most often of the mother or father trying to manage a divorce or a parenting issue with no knowledge of the law or court proceedings. I think of the single parent threatened with eviction who has no idea what her or his rights are, or where to turn next. While courts exist to resolve disputes, ways must be found to provide adequate access to those courts – and to justice – for low-income Montanans. We can’t get there overnight, but we must get there. And the only way to get there is for every person – and every entity – who believes that equal justice means equal justice for all, not just for the wealthy, to work together in providing a variety of resources to low-income Montanans with legal problems.

There's an interesting dialogue beginning in the comments section too.

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 1:23 PM, Nov 24, 2008 in Civil Gideon | Civil Justice
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Comments

I wonder if Chief Justice Gray is just now noticing that there is not equal access to the courts or to justice either. To suggest that one can hire an attorney and let a jury hear the facts . . . . well, let's just call it what it is . . . . fraud. The insurance companies have long since realized that they can just pay to silence plaintiffs because most people will take the money and sign away their right to talk about the case. The attorneys love it because they can just stall the case until the plaintiff gives up and signs the paperwork . . . . then they get 30% or more. The defendants love it because they don't spend a moment worrying about a thing and certainly not about the patients that they've hurt. The only ones who get hurt by this wonderful justice system: the public. Follow the money. Big pharmaceutical companies pay kickbacks to the docs and your loved ones are used as experimental subjects. Then the state sues the pharma co's yet the docs remain unaccountable for the harm that they've done, as do the lawyers who've wasted your time and your money.

Posted by: Cheryl Wulf | April 14, 2009 5:03 PM

I wonder if Chief Justice Gray is just now noticing that there is not equal access to the courts or to justice either. To suggest that one can hire an attorney and let a jury hear the facts . . . . well, let's just call it what it is . . . . fraud. The insurance companies have long since realized that they can just pay to silence plaintiffs because most people will take the money and sign away their right to talk about the facts. The attorneys love it because they can do nothing, for years, until the plaintiff gives up and signs the settlement paperwork . . . . then they get 30% or more for doing nothing. The defendants love it because they don't spend a moment worrying, certainly not about the patients that they've hurt. The only ones who get hurt by this wonderful justice system: the public. Follow the money. Big pharmaceutical companies pay kickbacks to the docs and your loved ones are used as experimental subjects . . . . making them sicker than they would have been without care . . . .while charging Medicare and private insurance companies (increasing costs to taxpayers and other insurance holders). Then the state sues the pharma co's while protecting the docs so that they can do it again! And the medical groups, insurance companies, and attorneys support their favorite legislators, both state and federal, to provide them cover in the form of tort reforms and secrecy laws. A vortex of power at your expense.

Posted by: Cheryl Wulf | April 14, 2009 5:16 PM