The Right to an Attorney

I have been thinking about this for some time now. It all started when I wanted to file several lawsuits for government involvement in causing cancer. You see, the several states in the Union, including the state of Maryland, filed suit against tobacco companies claiming that their products caused cancer and that this was an increased burden on the Medicare system because a lot of money is spent on people with tobacco related illnesses and therefore is taken away from people who have an illness not related to substance abuse. The states won and Big Tobacco was forced to pay billions of dollars, most of which, by the way, went to the lawyers. The states got a cut but not nearly as much as the lawyers got. So here is where I come in. I wanted to sue Maryland for contributing to the problem.

Maryland allows tobacco products to be sold here and they charge a lot of taxes on those products. I figured that if Big Tobacco was responsible (under the law) and had to pay the states then the state was just as responsible and had to pay me. Then I decided I would sue Florida because they advertise as the Sunshine State and encourage people to visit there and sit in the sun. We all know that over exposure to the sun causes skin cancer (some exposure is necessary for Vitamin D absorption) so I figured Florida was getting people sick and to make matters worse they send those people back to their home states so that the home state gets stuck with the bills. This looked like a win-win for me. How could they deny that either state was complicit in the sickness and how could states defend against something that they already sued for and won?

The problem was, I have no attorney. I called around and the hourly rates these guys charge is off the scale. They get more in an hour than some people make all week and there was no way I could afford them. So then I thought, well everyone has a right to an attorney and I called the court to ask how to get one. They told me that I was only entitled in a criminal case in which I was the defendant and that civil cases (which is what my lawsuits would be) are not covered by the Sixth Amendment.

This got me thinking even more because now I began to realize that all the lawsuits that are filed each year cost average people a lot of money. I always heard about people who lost houses and their life savings but I figured they were morons who did not exercise their right to an attorney. I had a friend named Mac who ended up in this kind of a jam and lost everything, house, wife, kids, retirement, all of it because his kid left a skateboard on the sidewalk and some old woman fell over it. Her son was a lawyer and Mac never got one (now I know why). Mac drank himself into a coma at the age of 32 and he never regained consciousness. One day his liver failed and we lost him for good, July 4th 1993. I decided to look into the lawyer issue and I found out that:

  • Legal fees are more than 2% of our GDP
  • A lawsuit is filed an average of every 2 seconds in the US
  • The average person is more likely to end up in court than the hospital
  • More than half of the Senate are lawyers

These might not seem like a big deal to most people but the Democrats running for office are saying we need nationalized health care when what we really need is nationalized legal services. We are pretty much covered in criminal cases but we need help with the civil ones. I think it is time that we had nationalized legal services so that each person would have a lawyer when one is needed. I am sure that it will be tough for the politicians to get this through because many of them are lawyers and they have lawyer buddies that get rich by filing lawsuits. Look how many times the ACLU gets its way because it threatens to sue and their target backs down because they cannot afford the legal fees. This is not fair. They say there are 40 million uninsured people in the US (it is more like 15 or 20 but I will use their numbers) but there are over 300 million people here and most have no attorney.

We need to have equal footing in the court system so we can fight off Big Law. Big Law is responsible for huge pay outs for spilled coffee, huge pay outs for using electrical equipment in the water and all kinds of stuff. People and businesses are sued for all kinds of things by Big Law lawyers who get rich at the expense of people who could not afford attorneys. It is time to stand up to Big Law people like John Edwards so that those of us on this side of the two Americas can get fair representation just like the rich people do. It isn’t fair that rich people can afford lawyers and the average guy cannot.

The government needs to start charging rich people a legal fee tax and all settlements in civil court should have 10% removed to go to the nationalized legal service fund. We need to get some of the money from the excessive pay outs of civil suits and use it for the downtrodden. How is a person supposed to raise a family if he needs a lawyer in a civil case and he has to spend his life savings or go to court on his own?

I am serious about this and apparently so are some others. I am trying to find the websites but there are a few places that are pushing for nationalized legal services so that all Americans will have legal representation under the law. One place that I heard about is Justice for Justice or Justice in Justice or something like that. If anyone has heard of them and has a url I would appreciate you sending it to me.

We all deserve a lawyer and we should get that lawyer for free.

Big Dog

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3 Responses to “The Right to an Attorney”

  1. Glen Blagg says:

    I was just surfing when I came upon your article. Great work. And so prescient in today’s environment of the rich getting fat on the backs of the poor. It is high time the needy in this country get the legal help they deserve…and time we as a society did our part in helping them along. Why something as important as legal representation is not free, I cannot comprehend. Nor can many with whom I associate. You may find assistance @ Justice in Justice ( a carbon neutral organization as certified by Green International ( We are a grassroots organization who aspire to free legal representation for all. And it is bloggers like you who will get us there.

  2. Robohobo says:

    No, Big Dog, we need fewer lawyers. I propose an open season on the critters with no bag limit. That will take care of the frivolous lawsuit thing right smartly.

  3. Big Dog says:

    I used to think that but now I am certain that we all need national legal protection even more than national health care and welfare. We all have a right to be protected and we need to have the government pay for our legal issues.

    Thanks for the info Glen, I will look into it.