Thursday

Gender Bias in Florida's Court System: Appellate Review

As a consequence of limited finances, many women are virtually foreclosed from appellate review of trial court decisions. Frequently they cannot afford the trial transcripts or appellate counsel necessary for an appeal.

--1990 Florida Supreme Court Gender Bias Report

And Florida fixed this by enacting "time-sharing" law?

This doesn't even begin to describe the tragedy of the lack of access to justice when that justice involves money. As I previously stated, when I got to the point in my case in which an attorney was a requirement, no one really wanted to take my case. One female attorney told me that I needed to take it to the appellate level and therefore needed an appellate attorney. I didn't know there were different attorneys that handled different levels of the court system. I asked how much it would cost, she told me $10,000. WHAT THE HELL? I barely had enough money to pay for a consultation fee, where would I get 10 grand from?

I couldn't even pay filing fees. I didn't even know there were fees to file a response that included a countermotion. And then Florida raised those fees! There is even a fee to file for indigent status!

I couldn't pay the fee to get a court reporter--in fact I thought court reporting and transcription was standard and it wasn't until I was faced with proving that my judge was an outright liar, that I found out that nothing was on the record, aside from the judge's own notes!!!

I hear of mothers paying hundreds of dollars in transcript fees because at the appellate level, all of the documents must be originals. These documents often consist of hundreds of pages.

Here's word from Linda Sack's, also in Florida, as she has much more experience in the area of fees:

...the court transcripts that I have must be well over $15,000. I have every one but one. I have plastic bins of every court document and hearing.

The last 2 day hearing in April 09 was $2600.00 just for 2 days and just to get them printed.

Court Reporters just to sit for a one hearing is $60.00 paid in advance..just to sit..then if would need it typed up its close to $4.95 a page. If it’s a all day hearing you must pay in advance based on the hourly rate...

To file for appellate review in FL it cost $300.00 then another $100.00 for the clerk of the courts to prepare the record and all of the copies of the Motions for Rehearing, they want, all of the Certified Copies of the Final Judgement…without an attorney this time I have spent over $600.00 so far. Ink, paper, stamps, it’s timely and expensive.

The first appeal Case 5D07-1682 cost $80,000. Can you imagine 80,000 just to undo the ufair custody ruling…only to be right back in the lovely Judge Brieses courtroom.
Yes, Linda Sacks spent $80K and won an appeal...and then her judge requested the case...the same case that he erroneously ruled on.
And the Writ of Prohibition cost $5,000 just to ask them…please take the “honorable Judge Briese off her case due to the violations..contained in the 28 pages..they denied it and in OCT 2008…gave me right back to him.

In the last 3 years I have spent close to $140,000 and still do not have my daughter’s back.
This is like ransom money:

How much are your kids worth to the court system? To you?

What lengths do you/can you go through, to buy you and your children's freedom?