Hacking The Man


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My Notacon 8 (April 2011) presentation "Hacking The Man: Your Guide to the Legal System." In the live presentation, I tell the epic saga of my bogus stop sign ticket in Cleveland, the flawed trial at which I was found guilty, and the lengthy process in the Ohio Court of Appeals to get the conviction kicked out. I share some ideas on dealing with police, lawyers, the court system, and civil adversaries in legal matters.

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  • I’m not a lawyer. My legal training is messing around in the Cleveland State University law library. This is just one guy talking about what worked for him.
  • Okay, you have to go to GiveCamp! Register as a volunteer right now.
  • By being ethical, I mean: Take reasonable risks Don’t screw things up for others. Be nice to the court clerks. Don’t lie. Try to settle if you can get what you want—negotiation theory. By learning about the system, I mean: Do your homework. Read Ohio Jurisprudence and/or West’s Ohio Digest . Or equivalent in your jurisdiction.
  • The best ACLU line ever is: “I do not consent to any search.” Because they have you in a fantastic bind. “Mind if I look in your trunk?” You’re afraid to decline because it looks guilty and because you don’t want to get jammed up. That way they get you to allow an otherwise inadmissible search. The second best line is “Am I free to go?” The Least Jaded Person I Know had that happen last Friday!
  • Recommended: traffic, minor misdemeanors, small claims, small business disputes (limit liability), simple divorce. The best way to limit business disputes is to make sure you take things off the table ahead of time!
  • Some things to look for: Rules of Evidence, Rules of Court, Local Rules. Objections: You don’t need to be super-formal. Instead of interrupting with “Bierbaum v. State,” you can simply say, “Objection, witness is reading from the citation. He should be testifying from his personal recollection!” Special case: Always ask for a stay of sentence pending appeal. I didn’t! Whoops.
  • The law library is your friend. If you are local, Cleveland State University is open late and to all.
  • Hacking The Man

    1. 1. Hacking The Man Your guide to the legal system Mark W. “catfood” Schumann at NOTACON 8
    2. 2. My Story <ul><li>Busted in June 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Tried in July </li></ul><ul><li>Filed appeal in August </li></ul><ul><li>Submitted brief in September </li></ul><ul><li>Gave oral arguments in December </li></ul><ul><li>Received opinion in February </li></ul><ul><li>Still haven’t gotten my money back </li></ul>Just like the Supreme Court!
    3. 3. Win!
    4. 4. RFC 1392 <ul><li>Hacker, n. A person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the inner workings of a system… </li></ul>… especially when the knowledge is informally acquired and used in surprising ways. --me
    5. 5. Disclaimer By listening to this NOTACON presentation, you agree that you understand I am not a lawyer, that nothing in this presentation constitutes legal advice, and that you are urged to consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction about your individual situation. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed non nisi odio, interdum tempus arcu. Nullam facilisis, enim in faucibus sagittis, nibh eros porta augue, sit amet auctor purus arcu at lorem. Quisque quis nulla ut libero accumsan aliquet. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Nunc accumsan bibendum vulputate. In et odio non massa interdum ullamcorper. Nullam sit amet erat vel justo aliquam aliquet. Aenean eget tristique sapien. Duis rhoncus viverra suscipit. Donec sed consequat lacus. Pellentesque vitae sem est, vel egestas velit. Aliquam erat volutpat. Nullam sit amet enim placerat enim facilisis convallis.
    6. 6. Plug <ul><li>Cleveland GiveCamp! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hack all weekend… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>… for nonprofits… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>… on a boat! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clevelandgivecamp.org </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Hacking Guidelines <ul><li>Be ethical. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn about the system before trying to hack it. </li></ul><ul><li>Apply damage control. </li></ul><ul><li>Contribute to the community. </li></ul><ul><li>Hands-on, decentralized, meritocratic, free. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Scene protocol <ul><li>Shut up! </li></ul><ul><li>Preserve your rights </li></ul><ul><li>Gather evidence </li></ul><ul><li>The best ACLU line ever </li></ul><ul><li>The second best ACLU line </li></ul>
    9. 9. When to fight <ul><li>Cost/benefit </li></ul><ul><li>Judges hate pro se wise guys </li></ul><ul><li>“ Hate” is a synonym for “maximum sentence.” </li></ul><ul><li>Smarter: take things off the table ahead of time. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Trial Court Protocol <ul><li>Above all, no ex parte bullshit. </li></ul><ul><li>Fancypants talking doesn’t matter. </li></ul><ul><li>Having a point does matter. </li></ul><ul><li>Know the rules. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The rules are not what you want them to be. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They can work for you or against you. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google courtname [local] rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There are no “gotcha” wins. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preserve your rights: object! </li></ul><ul><li>Motions are your friend. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Legal Research I <ul><li>It’s exactly like doing a math proof. </li></ul><ul><li>Brief writing: CREXAC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explanation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Application </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Legal Research II <ul><li>Start with summary resources like West’s Ohio Digest . </li></ul><ul><li>Follow cookie trail to authorities such as Northeast Reporter and Ohio Appeals . </li></ul><ul><li>Shepardize! </li></ul>
    13. 13. About me <ul><li>I make software projects not suck! </li></ul><ul><li>@MarkWSchumann </li></ul><ul><li>Email me for the brief: [email_address] </li></ul>