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This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Is "plagiarism" by judges a standard practice?

Some people are saying that it is standard practice for legal representatives of both sides to submit "proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law" briefs to the court and for the court to then write the opinion by cutting and pasting and mixing and matching different statements from these briefs. However, these briefs are not even mentioned in the national Federal Rules of Civil Procedure but are only mentioned in the local rules of the different federal district courts, and the local rules are of course not uniform. Some federal district courts might not mention these briefs at all. Also, I filed several appeals in the 9th circuit federal court of appeals and two appeals in the US Supreme Court and was neither required nor authorized to propose language for the those courts' opinions (reminder -- any gratuitous comment about the outcome of my lawsuits will be deleted as off-topic). And there are also state and local courts with their own rules. So how can this procedure of cutting and pasting from such briefs be a standard practice?

Here are some federal district court local rules about these briefs:

Middle District of Pennsylvania (where KItzmiller v. Dover was tried):
LR 48.2 Civil Trials, Trial Without a Jury
In a civil action tried without a jury, counsel shall file requests for findings of fact and conclusions of law with the pretrial memorandum. Additional requests may be made during the trial as to matters that could not have been reasonably anticipated before trial.(page 39)

So in the above court, the proposals for findings of fact and conclusions of law are required only before the trial and are optional afterwards.

Central District of California (headquartered in Los Angeles)
L.R. 52-1 Non-Jury Trial - Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
In any matter tried to the Court without a jury requiring findings of fact and conclusions of law, counsel for each party shall lodge and serve proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law at least five (5) court days before trial.

Here, the proposals are required only before the trial and no mention is made of allowing them afterward.

Of course, it seems that litigants should have some way of presenting written summaries in addition to oral summaries at the conclusion of the presentation of the testimony and evidence, so maybe these final "proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law" briefs are common even though they are often not required by court rules. However, it seems to me that it is only reasonable to expect that judges who use quotes or ideas from these briefs identify the sources, just as with any other kind of source.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Banned in Kansas a/k/a Emmanuel Goldstein said...

RSR, TFK, Kansas Citizens for Science and everyone else has banned me...so I am going to take up your offer of no censorship.

Actually, I like your general attitude, although I may differ on some details.

As to the Jones opinion, the problem I see is not that he cut and paste...judges are allowed to do that and its no plagarism...but everybody is pretending that he is a great legal scholar.

Hell, he could have been asleep at the switch and pulled the same stunt...with 90 per cent of his material coming from the plaintiffs.

And has everybody forgotten that judges at that level have LAW CLERKS (new lawyers actually)who do a lot of this work for them...and don't get the credit?

What a sham.

By the way...did you know that Hitler was a cocksucking HOMO?

Thursday, December 14, 2006 5:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

A judge in Pennsylvania cried "Fate
Has made me the boss of this State!
I'll just copy the words
Of these Darwinist birds
And they'll end by all calling me'great!' "

Thursday, December 14, 2006 1:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspected that Jim Sherwood was Larry. It looks like he has proven it with his latest post.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 2:06:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Nice limerick, Jim, but I would substitute "nerds" or "turds" for "birds."

Friday, December 15, 2006 2:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> Nice limerick, Jim, but I would substitute "nerds" or "turds" for "birds." <

Now the troll is congratulating himself!

If you wanted it that way, why didn't you write it that way in the beginning?

Friday, December 15, 2006 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

Some "Darwins" of paranoid whim
Say "Surely Larry is Jim!"
I'm flattered by that
But hey, I'm a cat
In S.F., who thinks well of him.

Friday, December 15, 2006 2:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

Some "Darwins" of paranoid whim
Say "Surely Larry is Jim!"
I'm flattered by that
But hey, I'm a cat
In S.F., who thinks well of him.

Friday, December 15, 2006 2:30:00 PM  

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