It’s always difficult to admit that you’ve made mistakes in your legal representation, but it’s true. I have represented clients who obtained guilty verdicts for DUI, driving while intoxicated (DWI) or other charges to clearly demonstrate their inability to operate a vehicle. My clients often say that they knew they were intoxicated when they drove to work each day of their life, but the judge and jury saw otherwise.
There are two major approaches to addressing this problem. One is to ignore the fact that you made a mistake and try again. The other way to handle it is to present your case with the knowledge that the “mistake” will be raised in court and have the burden of proof placed on you. The “judgment of default” is one example of an exception to the common law rule that requires courts to consider all facts surrounding the claim before reaching a verdict. If the jury or judge determines that there is a reasonable doubt about the legality of your conduct, then the case must be dismissed.
Some lawyers and judges prefer the second approach. This is referred to as evidentiary inquiry. In an evidentiary hearing, lawyers for the opposition gather evidence of your guilt or innocence by examining the administration of various laws, including the relevant statutes and statutes that you’re required to abide by. In the past, most people simply admitted their guilt without a confrontation with any witnesses, but because of the rise of DNA testing and other sophisticated DNA testing methods, some people are now challenging the legality of their actions with a view toward challenging the constitutionality of those same laws. This emerging trend is referred to as evidentiary law.
Other jurisdictions use Latin examples to illustrate the difficulties inherent in addressing Latin deference to the federal government. For example, in the Fourth Amendment cases decided by the federal courts, the lower courts are required to apply decisions consistent with the decisions of the Supreme Court. Many state courts have followed suit. One of the most telling Latin examples is the decision in U.S. v. Jones, a case decided by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In that case, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that there was “no Fourth Amendment violation of the Due Process Clause” despite the fact that a French citizen had been thrown in prison for several years for refusing to follow the military order. The court reasoned that Jones could not be held guilty for refusing to serve in the Armed Forces, since the Constitution only requires that the president serve “with the advice and consent of the House and the Senate.” While the Court of Appeals went on to hold that there was indeed a violation of the Fifth Amendment’s requirement of “due process,” it declined to reach the Eleventh Amendment’s proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. This case is telling on several levels, and Latin language is rarely used by American lawyers today, even though many people (including some of the members of Congress) argue that the Court has construed the Constitution so as to give the federal government unlimited power.
It is noteworthy that the foregoing examples are from the twentieth century. Modern Latin American lawyers have produced an immense body of case law applicable to many different circumstances. This legal language has been widely applied in both international and national courts, and American lawyers must be prepared to work within this expanding body of case law. The Latin term “limen” means “to draw out.” While it is difficult to envision American judges giving away their hard-earned money to illegal immigrants, it is possible to envision American litigants paying lawyers to research ancient Latin texts, attempt to understand legal terminology, and then presenting their case before a judge who may well find them guilty of using the “limen” in question to describe their conduct.