The Internet is a Trap
Jul 31, 2014
A problem with the Internet age is that people seem to think that if they didn't find it on the Internet, it's not worth using. More to the point, if they can't find it on Google.com, then it isn't worth searching. The problem with this is that, as with most things, you get what you pay for. It's sad, then, that people have to keep thumping their heads upside the proverbial wall whenever they have to file anything legal. Too often I have people coming up to me at the law library complaining that the judge tossed out yet another of their legal documents because it was "wrong" because they relied on free information they scrounged up on the Internet.
"WHAT is the court's problem?" they'll ask/demand. I'm sorry to have to be blunt but the problem is not the court - it's you. You're searching the Internet looking for free stuff on the web and the free stuff on the web is just not cutting it.
Which all brings us to the point of this blog post. I had a guy come into the library the other day. Seems guy had been scouring the web for free stuff about how to write a motion for the Superior Court of Riverside. For the record, motions filed in a California court have 5 parts:
- Notice of Motion (says that you're filing a motion)
- Motion (says what you want)
- Declaration (says what happened)
- Points and Authorities (says what you want, based on the law)
- Proposed Order (says what you want the judge to do)
The problem patron faced was that he didn't have #'s 2, 3 and 5 and failed to apply parts of #4 all because he relied exclusively on the Internet to show him what to do. Sad, sad, sad was he.
Happy, happy, happy was he when he met me (his local county Law Librarian) because in less time than it took me to write this blog post, I located California Forms of Pleading and Practice, volume 12, chapter 123 (Complaints - because he was looking for information about cross-complaints) and guy had everything he needed for his motion in a nice, tight package.
I guess the moral to this story is, if you want to be set on the path to happiness and glory, consult your local county Law Librarian. If, however, you have a penchant for misery and woe, stick with using the world wide web (aka "Internet") and...uh...well...personally, I'd go with the Librarian thing because it's a whole lot less of a hassle and you'll have a better chance of success in court. Yeah, that's what I'd do.
Bret is a Legal Research & Instructional Services Librarian at our Main Library.