This entry was published on my other blog, anonymous at the time, in October of 2016 (here).
Pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. Slowly but surely, the outcome is becoming steadily clearer. Though I long ago realized, rationally, that there is, without argument, an uneven playing field for foreigners battling through this country’s inept legal system, I had kept plugging along, wishing there is some life left yet for me through this whole horrid process.
There’s nothing left for me, of this thing called hope.
Perhaps Red was right, and Andy can now go to hell. Their Shawshank Prison debate always left me feeling that the latter had the best insights, that “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things,” yet I’m now ready to embrace the notion that, “Hope is a dangerous thing. It can drive a man insane.”
Now, the inevitable upshot is materializing in front of my slow-to-accept-until-now eyes. Like a just-sawed-in-half magician’s assistant walks from out of the stage mist, finally revealing that one’s eyes had just been playing tricks on themselves and on one’s psyche, the Court’s antics are becoming more lucid to these weary eyes o’mine.
Assuredly, I’d have a better chance of hitting a flea on a fence post at 400 meters, using a broken-framed slingshot with a frayed band, than I do at prevailing in this pseudo-judicial system here, the place I may no longer be calling home (whether that means in a spiritual, emotional, mental, or geographic sense has yet to be seen).
In other words, I’m undoubtedly fucked in my final cases, those I’ve filed and those against me.
DISCLAIMER: Earlier this summer, I had a Court hearing that I’ve left intentionally untold in this format, and hardly a person knows about it (it was partially put on the back burner because I soon after had traveled to my country of origin for four weeks and I simply didn’t have time to explain what had happened). That case was one I filed in Civil Court against my ex-wife for parental abduction and violation of my parental, legal, and custodial rights, but at the first hearing, the Judge pressed me for answers about why I’d filed in the wrong Courthouse, about how I’d supposedly done the paperwork wrong, about my lack of knowledge about the difference in the various Court systems and processes. He left me flustered, and regardless of what I responded, he shot down my answers. Without a lawyer, I knew nothing of what rebuttals I could make to a Judge directly. The Judge himself and the Court stenographer both laughed, and they did so more than once, to the point I shouted for the first time in 2..75 of Court hearings, emphasizing that I was there, “Why are you laughing now? This is no joke, for the bitch abducted my children for 189 days in 2014 and the Courts have ignored that fact.” The hearing went nowhere, fast, and spiraled dramatically down to the point that I folded up my files and explained that I’d regroup and refile a suit against her at a later date. I gave that notion up over the summer, and I’ve since not rekindled any hope to do more with it. Its a lost cause.
So back to 10/3/16, today, because the results of the court hearing left me feeling just as deflated and crestfallen as that early summer situation.
- When I arrived at the Courthouse today, my translator pointed out that under my name on the sign-in sheet was the name of a lawyer that I didn’t recognize. I surely didn’t request one, and I have NOT had a lawyer present in nearly 1.5 years of hearings, choosing instead to represent myself. Why such a name was listed is a mystery, and I didn’t have a chance to get to the bottom of it–and the volunteer doing sign-ins wasn’t sure either, and her calls to the case clerk to find out went unanswered.
- Although my ex was the plaintiff for this suit, only the second case besides the divorce and custody case she filed first, she was not there, nor was her lawyer (the dramatic a-hole that has been at every negotiations and hearing since Day 1), whom we’d seen in the waiting room just a few minutes before. Turns out, the “lawyer” that was there answered his flip/slide phone twice during the 1.5-hour hearing, leaning down to talk into his chest–smack dab in the discussion, even when the Judge was speaking–and nobody (i.e., the bailiff, Judge, nor the clerks) reminded him to not take calls.
- Why was the lawyer not present? Why did a dummy sit there and do NOTHING of value for 1.5 hours? All that was explained was that he was sitting in for the original lawyer, who couldn’t make it because he had another hearing to head to. HOWEVER, they filed for this suit OVER A YEAR AGO, and there had already been TWO negotiations with two different non-Judge Court negotiators LATE LAST FALL, and her lawyer was present for all so far. Moreover, her lawyer’s office and her lawyer are still the ones generating the Court documents I receive, one of which I got the very same morning as this fiasco, yet he had not been able to be present at the hearing? For a Case in which my ex has COUNTER sued me for $80,000US, you’d think her legal counsel would be there, ready to follow up on all they’d claimed and able to defend against all I was prepared to say! Yet she didn’t have adequate representation to discuss anything in detail? ODD, fucking, indeed.
- Said lawyer only spoke less than a handful of times, just a few times to attempt to answer a question, once from me, 2-3 times from the Judge. That’s it. Otherwise, he could have been more actively engaging if he had been a mannequin in a store window.
- Up until now, my ex’s lawyer has tried to squeeze in every snide comment, huff or moan he could. Why not this time?
- For the first time in nearly three years of Court hearings, the Judge, a 55-60-something male, whom I’ve never seen, spoke English, and he did so for almost 85% of the hearing. Is it odd that most of his dialogue was not recorded in the transcriptionist’s notes? All that seemed to be recorded was what I’d said in Chinese or what my translator said in Chinese, but most of what I was saying in English and what the Judge was explaining in English, too, which became a good portion of the hearing, was NOT being typed up concurrently! Did the Court not want a record of all that he said, which follows below? The clerks are normally typing up a storm to keep pace.
- The clerk/transcriptionist is the woman who was the clerk for the custody case, which just came to a close in July, with the Judge’s verdict based on the BS Guardian’s report (who I had proven to have lied, with my secret MP3 recording) and the social worker’s report (which failed to recognize that they came to my house twice without my children present because of the six-month parental abduction, which they also neglected to mention–and then said the mom has a better relationship than the dad). To see that same clerk there was a shocking let down.
- For the first time in any Family Court hearing, and this I realized an hour later sitting at a cafe, the transcriptionist did NOT print out the hearing transcript to ask both parties to sign, which they always do. Oddly coincidental. Or not?
- The Judge asked VERY FEW questions of me or the other party, the least amount in ANY hearing in these nearly three years.
What’s really going on here?
- To start off, the very first utterance made by the Judge was in _______-ese, asking, “What’s your rebuttal?” which my interpreter explained. Why the plaintiff wasn’t given the floor to initiate anything or make the first statements was also odd. It was her case hearing, yet I had the majority of the time to speak (almost 95% of none-Judge statements were made by me–as the dummy sat there across from me).
- I began, and oddly had unhindered time, to read emails my ex had sent me at the time of separation (both right before and for the nearly three months after), all clearly establishing that she owes me money, for her written word cannot be changed. After I read the first, and then the second email, third, and so on, there wasn’t a peep from the ex’s side of the room, no rebuttal, no retort. There were odd moments of silence that have NEVER existed in the Courtroom, hitherto, prompting me to almost miss the antics of my ex’s lawyer, the a-hole that he is. So I even said, “Okay, I have one more.” And then another. I read through five, with additional explanations. One she wrote stated I could take the jointly bought car since half the value was what she owed me for her Masters degree. The other she wrote talked of, “I don’t think I have enough money to pay you back for my loans. What do I owe you?” All of those emails are PERFECT evidence to rebut her ridiculous claims in the last year or so (she filed suit against me in Family Court last fall, AFTER I’d filed for financial recompense in Civil Court). Her original emails CANNOT be changed. Facts cannot change. And I made that incredibly clear, explaining that in university, any logic course would show that. I stressed time and time again, after reading each email, that it is IMPOSSIBLE that she now claim otherwise, which is exactly, incredulously what she is doing.
- The Judge simply cleared his throat and continued, “Anything more?”
- So I rattled off a few more details about how my ONE email, the one in which she wrote, “The money that I owe you will be resolved when we sign divorce papers,” is enough to counter all her fanciful, unsubstantiated claims since. I even emphasized that, “friends and family in America have even said that I should just read the one email and then leave the Courtroom,” because there is no changing facts.
- The Judge, in quite clear English, with a good level of vocabulary, then addressed me: “Unfortunately, in the documents you submitted, there are some mistakes in translation. For example, you wrote in English that your wife borrowed money for her Masters, but in _____-ese, it was written as ‘PhD,’ and in another document, you included something in English about $2.7 million, but the translation stated ’27 million’.”
- So after my logical, level-headed explanations with substantiated proof to counter the BS of my ex, the Judge ONLY focused on such typos that had been made. Fuck. Really? He had nothing to say about the emails. Nothing.
- He continued, “I suggest you find a lawyer. Because we have a different system here. If you don’t understand the technical details of what is happening in the system, it may be an unfair competition.”
- Really? At some point, I asked for clarification, stating, “So what you’re telling me is that even though I’ve submitted documentation and evidence to counter her claims, and the facts of her original emails cannot be changed, you’re saying I don’t know the system well enough for it to be fair to me?”
- He continued, “If you don’t like to use a lawyer, you should consult with the Legal Aid Foundation.” He then rattled off some stuff about Procedure A, or X, but neither me nor my translator caught what he actually said. Yet he just kept on spewing forth details of why I needed to get legal aid or a lawyer to represent me.
- [Disclaimer: I’ve seen numberless free lawyers in the Family Court, immigration help center, and Legal Aide Foundation, and I’ve lost THOUSANDS of US dollars from wasting my time with retained lawyers and paid consultations.]
- Once again, at some time in this turning-more-obscure-by-the-moment dialogue, I brought up the fact that her emails cannot be undone. In the back of my mind, I was reviewing all cases up until this point, and even though I have lost some based on NONSENSICAL REASONING (e.g., “There is no kidnapping in T____n unless she demanded ransom”, and “It all sounds like a miscommunication,” even though my ex ignored 189 days of emails and texts of me pleading to see the kids or help them financially), no Judge nor Prosecutor told me that I needed to hire a lawyer to help understand the technical aspects of the process. And I asked again, “Even if her own original emails counter all her absurdly unsubstantiated current claims, are you saying the Court won’t even proceed with this?”
- The Judge continued, “You cannot give me big documents like you did. According to ‘Procedure X’ (I asked my translator if he said ‘x’ for sure, but she wasn’t sure herself), you need to write down the issue and then a summary, then it is easy to read.
- My mind was a’whirl with realizations that though I’ve been in Court hearings in various cases for nearly three years, NO Judge has ever made such statements about the amount of work I’d done, especially not in a way that seemed like I was facing an insurmountable roadblock in having to re-do all I’ve done!
- And he explained, “If you don’t hire a lawyer and or consult the Legal Aid Foundation, and if you don’t get more organized, I cannot write a judgment based on what you gave me.”
- I, already having started to stare off into space, tuned him out because I am so burned out already with all I have done for three years, with my new position teaching Grade 6 this academic year already occupying so much of my time (i.e., a new curriculum, new content, new grading/admin system, new assessment system). With low levels of hope, having lost custody already, having lost $30,000US already, etc., I sat there in disbelief that he was hinting at how he would not accept the 40-plus docs I’ve already submitted.
- The FACT that the custody decision was based on an ABSOLUTELY fabricated lie-filled report really took the wind out of my sails in July, as did the aforementioned hearing that flopped at the start of the summer. Thus, I’m running on fumes. And I may not have it in me to completely restart the process and try again.
- I queried, “Are you telling me that even though I’ve shown how my ex-wife is lying, that her own emails at separation establish the truth of her owing me money, and that I’ve read 5-plus pertinent, irrefutable emails clearly today to establish that again, that I need to redo everything and start over?”
- Judge: “Just like in your job. Is your supervisor going to read all of your long essays? No. You should give a title, and a subtitle, and then show Claim 1, 2, and 3, and then show Reason 1, 2, 3, then you show evidence. You don’t need citations, but you need to summarize. Then I can understand. I cannot issue judgment unless you redo everything.” You said you have a PhD, right?
- “No, I’ve never stated that. I have a Masters.”
- I interjected, at some point, explaining, “Okay, so my ex wrote emails at the start of separation. I’ve shown you them. I have the original emails embedded in the explanations in my documents. [I even held up my MacBook, from which I’d been reading my evidence, directly from documents I’d already submitted to the Court for the last year] And I read them today. But you’re saying that’s not good enough? I feel… no, in fact, I know based on facts and evidence, that what I’ve shown and read just today is enough to counter her claims, but you want me to re-do it all?”
- “Yes,” he retorted. “Your not qualified to be a lawyer. You don’t have a degree in law. You won’t know the procedures. You need to be more to the point and organize everything. I won’t be able to rule if you don’t.”
- ALL I HAVE SAID FOR A YEAR AND READ VERBATIM IN NEGOTIATIONS AND THE HEARING WAS GETTING FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET AND THROWN OUT THE WINDOW AS WE SPOKE.
- I added, “Sir, if I am forced to restart, to redo everything, to go back and find all her accusations and summarize it all again in a document, as you suggest… it will break me. I have been documenting and rebutting her ridiculous finance claims for a year. I’ve been fighting for things for three years.” I started to cry. “I am incredibly busy as a teacher, etc.,” and I rattled off how none of this was fair since I’ve already said enough and given enough evidence.
- He retorted, “You are busy. We’re busy, too. I have over 100 cases. If you don’t organize your things… I won’t be able to provide a decision.”
- He continued in English (noteworthy: the content he expounded on was NOT getting typed up as it often is when _____-ese dialogue is simultaneously typed, at least in ALL Court processes so far), stating, “Judge’s are impartial here. I cannot give advice on how you should raise your evidence. The T_______ese judicial system cannot require you to have a lawyer, but you need to summarize all reasons and evidence into one response document.”
- He kept repeating that I’m not a lawyer. I kept repeating that I’ve shown valid, legit evidence. I was NOT backing down from the proof I’ve shown, yet he wouldn’t budge.
- The Judge finally asked a question to the ex’s stand-in mannequin, asking, “The defendant has bought up many times info about the plaintiff’s illegal business. What about it?” Startled out of his resting state, the man simply stated, “We deny it. She’ll reply on paper and submit it later.”
- The Judge followed up with another, querying, “The defendant filed a finance-related case back in July of 2015 at the Family Courthouse, but then he cancelled it. Do you have that record? Again came the same canned reply, “She’ll reply on paper and submit it later.” I then had to answer why I’d cancelled the first filing, which I explained was because when I’d come in to file suit, clerks told me I could do such claims in Family Court or Civil Court–and that I later talked to lawyers who told me to file in Civil Court because my filing is related to debts, not marital property separation.
- He then, again, reminded me to consult with the Legal Aide Foundation (and later, after the hearing, my translator told me that he was actually suggesting I retain a lawyer from the LAF offices–which is bad advice because LAF staff told me three years ago that they cannot help me because my income is too high, since their assigning a free lawyer is income-dependent). No deal to retain someone! We even double checked after the hearing in the Courthouse help center.
- Granted, offering the advice of seeing legal aid lawyers isn’t worrisome in itself as a stand alone comment, but in the content and climate of three-years-worth of BS, it was the fact that he would not concede nor recognize that my evidence is legit, that he just dismissed all I’ve gathered, produced, collated, and submitted already. Or that what I read in Court this day isn’t good enough, either, for some reason. My statements were made in Court! Why isn’t that “organized” enough for him? Why cannot they take those statements I made and emails I read and make a judgment!?
- Judge to me: “How is the case going in the Civil Court that you filed? Has your ex-wife mentioned the debt of $330,000 she claims you owed her?” I replied that I have given valid evidence to refute that claim, that I have emails from her saying she owed me for her tuition payments both a month after and three months after using joint monies in 2008, etc. I explained that the other Civil Court judge informed me that the 4th hearing, which is now coming up in November, would be the last–and that she’d explained it would be enough for her to render her verdict.
- Beginning with, “May I ask you a direct question, Sir?”, I asked him, “I know am focusing on one email, which I’ve explained already, but when the woman said ‘the money I owe you will be settled‘, do you really, truly believe she can now change that fact some how? Facts are facts. She cannot deny those facts and she cannot change it!”
- “Judge’s are impartial, right? But your ex-wife has her story. The judge should decide what is truth.”
- I prompted, “Well, how on Earth can she explain why she wrote such emails about the money she owes me, the stocks she sold and told me about transferring, about the monies in the bank, and that she wrote our bank accounts were the source of buying our car. How can she explain the emails in which she said those things?”
- “The best person to answer that,” he offered, “is your ex-wife.” So I retorted, cutting him off, turning to the dummy ten feet in front of me, “So, what does she have to say to that email she wrote about owing me money?”
- Her whoever he was stated, “I am just here for Lawyer ______. They will reply and let you know.”
- WTF! One year of preparations for this case and that’s all he could say?
- But the Judge jumped in with this: “I remember your wife said in documents that she ‘was not serious‘, right? Do you remember? That she was just joking when she wrote those things.”
- WTF. So that’s all it takes is to dismiss one’s own emails as joking?
- “Sir, I tell you what… From now on, when my ex-wife makes claims, I am going to do this… If the Court system in T__________ is going to take someone’s claims over facts, and what she says versus what’s written word, then I will start to pull a rabbit out of a magician’s hat, and then I’ll wave my wand and say, “Shazam” to come up with my answers to her claims, because that’s the same as her only having to say “I was joking” to rebut facts shown in written emails about finances!
- I continued firmly and eloquently that, “If the Court system in T_________, and this courtroom, and this courthouse take logic and facts–and dismiss them, and instead listen to her nonsense claims, like she was joking about financial emails she sent me, then the system will have failed. The system will have failed justice.”
- I said more than that, but suffice it to say, I knew that the system will fail. It is clear.
The writing is on the wall.