Problems and Solutions
Legal Representation - Pro Se or Pro Bono
Most Illegally Targeted People cannot afford to have an attorney file a lawsuit in their quest for justice. Lawyers can charge $200-$800/hour and costs add up quickly. But no problem!
You can represent yourself without a licensed lawyer. The Latin expressions Pro se, pro per and propria persona are all ways to say that you are representing yourself. Pro per is not only free, it also gives you full control over the litigation proceedings. You can learn what to do in How to Represent Yourself.
Pro bono is completely different. With pro bono cases, a licensed lawyer volunteers his or her time to represent a litigant who cannot afford to pay an attorney or one whose cause he/she deems worthy. Courts have recognized the value of this and even discuss it on federal court websites. For example, the websites of both the United States District Court Northern District and Central District of California discuss pro bono cases. Qualifying for pro bono services might be challenging for Illegally Targeted People (ITP) until we make progress on the public awareness campaign.
Most federal and state courts have free pro se clinics, which provide free legal information for people representing themselves. They will not write your case like a pro bono lawyer would, but they can be very helpful answering your general questions. One example is this federal pro se clinic in California. Check your area for your federal pro se clinic.
Court Costs - Fee Waivers
All Illegally Targeted People (ITP) should know that court costs, which can get expensive, can be fully waived in both federal and state courts. The fees that can be waived include filing the complaint, serving the defendant, motions, appeals, and pretty much everything.
Federal courts will waive fees for plaintiffs in need if they complete the Fee Waiver Application and it is approval by a judge. Approval by the judge is required to file the lawsuit. If you pay the fee, this step is not necessary.
State court fee waiver requirements vary by state. In California, you need to complete a form to get Fee Waivers. If you are on disability, the fees are waived by the court clerk when you submit the form. If you are not on disability, the judge can grant your request if you qualify as indigent (cannot afford court costs).
Computers - Free City/County Public Libraries
Most cities or counties have libraries with computers that you can use for free with or without a library card.
Legal Research - Free County Law Libraries and FOIAs
Most people are not aware that many counties have a law library that you can use for free. It varies by state and even by county but many allow you to use their computers for a specified number of hour per day (example, two) and have nice tables at which to prepare your case. The computers at these law library have search engines similar to Google that are designed for legal research including constitutional case law. These search engines typically include WestLaw and LexisNexus.
In addition, we'll show you how to get information from the government through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on the FOIA Requests page.