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( From "How to Win in Court" Course )
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One of the biggest problems for pro se litigants is mis-reading the law.
If you don't know what the law "says", you cannot get a judge to agree with you.
Understanding statutory interpretation is essential.
Reading law can be confusing, especially statutes and code. Words must be interpreted according to rules of statutory interpretation. Learning the rules of statutory interpretation is vitally important to you
... if you want to win.
You must know how courts interpret what Congress or your state legislature really meant when they wrote the law you're relying on to win your case!
Too many "assume" they are reading the law correctly (or make the mistake of taking someone else's word for what the law really says).
Courts follow rules of statutory interpretation.
You need to learn these rules!
The paramount rule for interpreting statutes is that language used by Congress or legislatures should be given its "plain meaning". Courts should not play games with words. If a reasonable person would read "bicycle" to mean a two-wheeled engine-less vehicle powered only by legs and feet, judges should not be permitted to interpret that word to include motorcycles.
Laws should say what they means and mean nothing more.
But, what if the meaning is not plain?
By the rule of ejusdem generis (Latin: "of the same type"), judges should interpret general terms at the end of specific lists as including only things of the same type as those specifically mentioned in the list. For example, if a statute lists "oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and other fruit", the doctrine of ejusdem generis limits the phrase "other fruit" to mean other citrus fruit. Apples and pears are not included. Judges are allowed to assume the law intends by "other fruit" to include all types of citrus, kumquats, tangelos, limes ... but not pineapples or persimmons.
When the legislature lists items of similar kind and adds "and other", the doctrine of ejusdem generis limits the word "other" to include only items of the same type.
Another rule of statutory interpretation is inclusio unius, exclusio alterius. Sounds complicated, but it simply means that the inclusion of a specific term should exclude (Latin: include one, exclude others). If a statute specifically refers to lemons (and does not mention limes or grapefruit or "other fruit"), courts should obey this rule and not expand the legislative intent to include limes and grapefruit. It is not the domain of our courts to expand what the legislature says beyond what the legislature specifically says!
To learn more about statutory interpretation and how to control corrupt judges and overcome crooked lawyers, you need the official 24-hour Jurisdictionary "How to Win in Court" self-help course.
Know how judges are supposed to read and interpret the law. Know how to force everyone, including judges and lawyers, to play by the official rules that bind the courts.
Know what you need to know to win!
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