"On February 1, 2012, Judge Terrence C. Kern, United State District Judge in the Northeastern District of Oklahoma, dismissed my case, 11-CV-92-TCK-PJC, with prejudice. In justification, he alluded not to a single one of the legal points I raised, but to my numerous deficiencies in legal style. That could apply to anyone who has no legal training, an unpopular cause, and cannot find or afford a lawyer. In other words, it seems access to justice depends almost solely upon presentation, not substance.
This is what many of us hate about our legal system. The appearance of justice rather than its substance. The lack of access for those who cannot afford a lawyer. The dismissal of complaints based upon the inability of an untutored plaintiff to know the law completely upon entry into this system. There is often a time limit on complaints, and in order to enter a complaint without a lawyer, one has to do so before knowing how to make the complaint, or even the applicable laws. It is a learning process with which some Judges have no patience. If one can’t say it in the legal shorthand that a Judge finds preferable and efficient, one isn’t welcome in his Court. Or one might say Club.
Nor does this Judge have any patience with health problems. My progress and learning on this case have been hampered with chronic and acute conditions. Based upon this dismissal, he doesn’t want to hear about them at all. Painful back problems. Medications with disabling side effects. Food poisoning. Respiratory infections. Two trips to the Emergency Room and hospital stays last year with kidney and urinary tract infections, one on the morning of December 25th. Not to mention the depression and PTSD that the local loony bin used to justify its violations of my civil liberties. Justice, even the appearance of justice, it seems, is reserved for the healthy.
I’m thoroughly sick of this and tired. But I don’t see anyone else in this town speaking up about the egregious violations of due process foisted upon those of us with mental illnesses, just because we have mental illnesses. The alleged protectors of us poor people who don’t know what’s good for us have only convinced me that if there is ever a next time, it would be better not to be taken alive. And if taken alive, not to remain alive. Because it’s not about helping people overcome mental illness. It’s about making unpopular people “behave”. Rather like a communist re-education camp.
Maybe some people think that live is so infinitely precious that it is better to toe the line and endure that kind of repression. But it takes the bloom off the rose for me. It gives me a much greater appreciation for New Hampshire’s State Motto, uttered by Revolutionary War General John Stark on July 31, 1809. “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” So until that happens, I hope to keep making this case, in whatever venue will hear it. "