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XD's avatar

Do court clerks take it upon themselves to make "innocent" mistakes not in your favor when assisting you/processing your stuff?

Asked by XD (1519 points ) August 31st, 2011

I’m foraying into some pro se use of the judicial system and in two out of two occasions, I’ve encountered clerks who have made errors when assisting me at the window. One stamped the wrong date on my filing and the other handed me an information packet with a form pertinent to a plaintiff instead of a defendant, which is most obviously what I would be in this case.

If it matters, I was never confrontational with them and always matter-of-fact and polite.

I gave the first incident the benefit of the doubt, and it really didn’t matter all that much anyway, but now that it’s happened twice, I’m wondering aloud.

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12 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Incompetitence. I mean anyone can make a mistake, but still.

funkdaddy's avatar

Let’s play devil’s advocate for a second.

What would their motivation be? Just to jack with you? Do you think the person at the front window is in on some government conspiracy to throw your case off?

Or is it more likely that the person dealing with the public all day, every day, isn’t involved in anything more than wondering how many people are going to yell at them today for things beyond their control.

They don’t start that job defensive, I would guess.

YARNLADY's avatar

Why would they? They have nothing to gain, so it doesn’t make sense.

flutherother's avatar

Think of yourself in this position. Would you do this sort of thing deliberately? It would only make you appear incompetent.

Hibernate's avatar

Maybe they had bad days. Who knows. I don’t think it was done on purpose.

marinelife's avatar

Court clerks:

1. Poorly paid.

2. Busy.

- 3. Mistakes.

No, they are not f’ing with you. They just made mistakes.

XD's avatar

Thanks, all. I’m not experienced enough to know, which is why I asked. As far as a reason, one might suppose clerks would be somewhat loyal to judges when someone is presenting a challenge. But, it sounds like this isn’t a factor.

XD's avatar

So the same clerk who stamped my filing with the wrong date, just tried to convince me that I am a week too late in filing an appeal when, in fact, I have until tomorrow.

JLeslie's avatar

@xd I’m really just thinking you have come across an idiot, who is making your life more difficult right now. Very frustrating. I’m sticking with my fist answer, incompetent.

XD's avatar

I wonder. Except she didn’t apologize in either case. She just sort of moves on to the next step. Luckily, the process has moved beyond her. Anyway, thanks for responding.

JLeslie's avatar

@XD Incompetent and doesn’t care, or has a very punitive boss, or grew up in a very punitive household. In my opinion not admitting a mistake when obviously one was made without an apology or any urgency for the next step to male things smoother for you since one mistake was made already (or more) just to me screams of if they admit to mistakes they are afraid of getting scolded or fired. I never worked in an environment like that until I worked in a hospital scary shit right?

However, I will say that lawyers are notorious for just letting things happen as they happen, can’t rush certain things, some sort of snafu, just go on to what has to be done next. All of that does seem to trickle down to the staff. When I worked in Real Estate the lawyers and assistants and mortgage brokers seemed to not care at all that someone needed to close, had their entire house packed in a truck, and the buyers were waiting to move in. Too bad, it takes as long as it takes.

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