Friday, May 6, 2016

I Filed a Petition with the California Supreme Court and Improving Your Performance

Image of the California Supreme Court
Yesterday, I filed Julian Casas' Supreme Court Petition in San Francisco.  This blog post is on how a petition for review works, the issues in this case, and what I think has helped improve my performance.

A Petition for Review asks California's Supreme Court to look into a case that an appellate court (or intermediate court) already ruled on.

That means you can't file directly with the Supreme Court. You have to have an opinion or order from the Appellate Court first. And you can't file at the Appellate Court, until you finish your case at the trial court. So, some cases take years, even up to 10 years, before getting filed at the Supreme Court.

Generally speaking, of all the briefs filed with the Supreme Court, only 1% to 1.5% are granted review, in which the court will write a full opinion on the issue. In 2014, there were 59 opinions written (excluding death penalty cases, which have an automatic right of appeal). There were 4,134 petitions for review filed. So, 59 cases, divided by 4,134 petitions for review, equals 1.4%. The odds are really, really low that I'll get a review on this case.

But, with that said, there are two facts that make me hopeful. The first one, is that the high court granted me an order against the Mayor just last week. High Court Keeps My Case Alive Against the Mayor That's even harder to get than a Petition for Review. And so, that means the justices are familiar with the players and the problems in the City of Baldwin Park. The second factor is that the Court of Appeals already sent part of the file to the Supreme Court before I filed the petition. In other words, I believe the Court of Appeals flagged to the Supreme Court, that This Case against Baldwin Park has some major issues.

Here are the issues being asked in This Petition. When the Mayor or Council Member or the Parks and Recreation Director get caught for doing something really illegal, should the City pay for their defense fees and damages? Like, what about money laundering? Or sexual harassment? Or filing frivolous temporary restraining orders against their critics? And these attorney's fees in Baldwin Park are becoming outrageous, totaling in the millions now, since I've been litigating against them. (There are other issues too, but that's the main question being posed to the High Court.)

(I'm going to write a fuller article on the topic of corruption soon, and explain why I believe we're moving into our Second Dark Ages because of problems like these. The Dark Ages was the first, recorded and prolong period of time in Western History where human civilization didn't advance, and some argue, even regressed. I believe we're moving into that too, now, sadly because of how overbearing government is becoming, especially in Baldwin Park and other corrupt cities all over Southern California.)

But even so, I'm hopeful that the Court will give Julian's petition a serious read.

I've been asked how I was able to write a petition that the Court granted review in. It's been awhile, since I've given some learning instructions. But here it is.

You can't let failure stop you. The Book of Wisdom says, "The [righteous] may trip seven times, but they will get up again." So, the question is how do you get back up? Failure, certainly, can feel fatal - though it rarely ever is.

This is an example from my life. Filing a Petition for Review is a lot of work. You only have 10 days, including the time to mail it to San Francisco, to write your Petition. You know that the odds are overwhelmingly against you at 99%. So, how do you get one reveiwed?

How many Supreme Court filings did I have before I got my first order? Two. I failed twice on that. And before those failures, on another case, I filed two other filings that had a low chance of getting a review. So, in total, I filed four failed petitions, and all of them were a lot of work. I would estimate anywhere between fourty to two hundred hours. And when you spend that kind of time, without making any money on it, it can feel disappointing.

But practice makes perfect. And after each failure, I received feedback. I thought it through. I ran through my head what I needed to do better for the next one. (And I guess I knew of this process, because it's the same process I went through to get published - both in fiction and academia.)

Finally, I kept telling myself, as long as you're learning something, you're working on something you care about, and you're getting better at the art of persuasian, you're going to keep going and trying. No matter how many times, you get a No.

So, in my view, those core beliefs: to keep fighting and to keep hope alive, kept me going. It's all part of the journey in finding yourself - no matter what field you're in.

(Let's keep our fingers crossed.)

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