Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Interrogatories?

Let me start this by saying I do not possess an intimate knowledge of the law, and have never professed as much. I do understand however that law can, and is, interpreted in many ways. Thus, we have the need for a court system and Judges to enlighten us, the uneducated, down a path of reasonable understanding.

I also understand the so-called root of all evil, money, or more accurately the lack thereof, is possibly the driving force in the final disposition of many a case. Meaning only this, what with the appellate system and the cost of lawyer fees, and time involved, I can see the one with the most toys (that is $) wins.
Eventually one of the litigates may realize funds gained will not equal or justify funds lost and that principals, pride, and time, although valuable to the ego and self esteem will not justify the debt incurred or the time wasted to bring a positive result to the issue at hand, even though the case may be strong in their favor.

Ergo---money triumphs over truth.

How often does this happen? I haven’t a clue.
Does it happen? Surely it does.

I have purposely refrained from commenting on the lawsuits brought against Albero by Chief Webster and Mayor Tilghman because as I have stated above I am not that familiar with law. I really do not care personally about the suits because the outcome for either party does not affect me in the least. My only interest is for entertainment purposes and because Albero has himself has seen fit to sensationalize the issues.

So, with that mind, and with no aspersions being cast, I would like to solicit the following.

In the process of a lawsuit when the plaintiffs attorney requests, demands, petitions, (or whatever the term may be), the court through interrogatory information pertaining the case at hand, how does the court determine if the said interrogatories are legitimate and where exactly is the line drawn.

Can the court reject any or all of the interrogatories?
Can a case be rejected and terminated on the merits of interrogatories?
Does the court, prior to the hearing, review interrogatory responses?

And finally---does Albero’s extensive experience sitting to the left side of a Judge warrant his absolute denial of interrogatory requests through a legitimate legal venue?

I'm just asking! Only positive, serious and civil responses will be entertained.

22 comments:

joealbero said...

I do not recall.

Hadley said...

Since it is a "Civil Suit" you are only going to entertain "Civil Responses"--good play on words Soap.

Each opposing lawyer poses a list of questions, if they go unanswered, then the questioner can ask for a hearing before the judge - wherein both sides argue fer & again the questions in question-so-to-speak.

The king errr, Judge then issues an order either approving the question(s) or disallowing the Q's.

If the judge APPROVES the Q's, and the other side refuses to provide answers, the judge (after more in-court hearings) can rule in favor (summary judgement) of the side that asked the unanswered questions.

In other words:
If the judge says ANSWER the questions, and you refuse, then you LOSE the case. Which is fair, because you gotta play by the rules.

So some sample questions by the Chief’s lawyer:
Lawyer: “Mr. Blogger, just who was it that provided you with the following information.?”

Blogger: “Um, well it was a City police officer, and I would rather not say, casue I told him I wouldn’t.”

Lawyer: “Okay, it was a cop. What was his name?”

Blogger: “Judge, do I gotta tell?”

Judge: “Yes indeedy Mr. Blogger, spill the beans.”

Maybe someone else could give us some sample questions from the Mayor’s lawyer.

Hadley said...

Oh, man Soap, that was so nice not having to type in that "Word Verification" gibberish before I could post.

Thanks for the change.

Caughtit said...

What's even better is the fact that JJ is saying "you can't get the info. from me, because I am news media". Something he claimed he never was!!
Ad for interrogatories, as I understand them, JJ's are pretty general and will probably be all answered. You have to share evidence JJ.

JoAlbero said...

JJ may not be able to answer that request because there may not be anyone! Then he'd have to admit he was making it all up, speculating, uhhhh telling little white lies?
Then he's hung himself!
On the other hand he could claim he is a "real" reporter, journalist, managing editor, owner of the worlds greatest news site, etc. etc. He could refuse to turn over the information and the judge would throw him in the cooler over there in Snowhill for a couple weeks, Whalaa.. Instant Martyre.
But think of this, if they don't let him have access to his blog site, we'd all be better off. Hmmmm it might just be worth it.

Oceanshaman said...

The main purpose to be served by pretrial discovery-- interrogatories, request for production of documents, depositions, etc.-- is "(i) to acquire accurate and useful information with respect to testimony which is likely to be presented by an opponent, (ii) to obtain information which appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, and (iii) to use as an aid in cross-examining the opponent's witnesses."

Relative to the Chief's interrogatories, Albero will assert Maryland's statutory news media privilege, pursuant to Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article 9-112. This privilege is absolute, as to sources. The litigation, therefore, will likely focus upon 1) whether Albero's blog falls within the statute's definition of "news media," 2) and whether Albero has waived the privilege by disclosing the identity of his sources to third parties.

The answer to the first question, whatever opinion one may have concerning Albero and his blog, is likely to be that his blog does fall within the definition of "news media" as defined by the statute. As for the second question, there is evidence out there to suggest he has disclosed the identity of his sources to a number of other people, including, for example, John Robinson.

Where this all leads? Who knows. But it will be no doubt entertaining to watch . . .

Soapbox said...

Thank you everyone. Very interesting.

Soapbox said...

Yes Albero, I rejected your last comment and know why.

JoAlbero said...

I obviously am not a lawyer but I still think it would do us all some good if they threw him in jail for contempt. This is very informative and I just love how we are all, including JJ, presenting this "trial before the trail". It will be interesting to see how the Real Judge Wampner holds court over all this. No cursing, no half truths, no interupting, no skating past facts, wow JJ is probably going to need some real good sedatives for this one.
Question? Is it prudent for him to keep harassing the chief and Mayor with all this at legal stuff going on. I would have thought a good lawyer would have instructed him to shut up and sitdown?

Oceanshaman said...

Many lawyers lead their thirsty clients to water and advise them to drink. Some clients follow the advice; others drown . . .

Hadley said...

Chris:

Is there any MD case law on CJ 9-112 vis-à-vis a blogger?

Hypothetical just for fun.

A tells B that he (A) saw C murder D last Tuesday.
B "publishes" the story in a blog. eg.
EXTRA-EXTRA
A MURDERED D ON TUESDAY LAST

Under questioning (by Grand Jury/Judge/Cops/State's Attorney, etc.] B says, " 'Pick-A-Lock', I ain't tellin' ya'll who A is, cause it is privileged information under CJ 9-112, A.C.M.."
[Presuming our budding William Randolph Hearst has not revealed A's identity to anyone else.]
What would Judge Bell et.al. say?

Idiot! said...

I have a sort of legal question that is relevant:

Does what Joey state on his blog, bind him to that defense? Specifically, he has alternately stated that he is just a guy with an opinion and a blog and then that he is officially press under the broad interpretation of the statute.

Can he play both sides of the fence like that? Can he take the best of both worlds- lack of balanced and factual reporting and the ability to hide his "sources"?

joealbero said...

This is too funny. oceanshaman, (Chris Linus) is the attorney that can't practice law any more and Charles Jannace, (Hadley) is such a piece of crap lawyer no one wants to hire for anything anyway. Yet the two of them are going at it like the two top experts on the Eastern Shore. No disrespect guys but neither one of you are in a position to speak and give advise. I even wonder what kind of rules you're breaking right now by doing so? Perhaps I'll ask Davis Ruark and see what he says?

Oceanshaman said...

Good question, Hadley . . . and, as with most good questions in the legal realm, not subject to an easy answer . . .

Depends, first, on the nature of the blog, and whether it fits the definition of "news media" under the statute . . .

If it were Albero's blog, I think the answer is yes . . . if it were my blog, the answer would be no . . .

If it were Albero's blog, under a plain reading of the statute, the identity of the source would be off-limits . . .

The State, however, on these facts, could easily make the requisite showing to get audio, video, notes, etc. under the statute . . .

And, finally, I'm sure a smart results-oriented judge could figure out a creative way to force disclosure of the source . . .

Interesting, definitely . . .

Oceanshaman said...

No worries, Joe . . .

No rules broken here. I can't practice law any longer, but I am free to discuss it all I want. And, despite my recent troubles, I've tried and won probably three times as many jury trials as you've seen the inside of a courtroom, which, given your voluminous history of losing litigation, is saying something . . .

Go ahead. Ask Davis. While you're at it, tell him I said hey. I know him well, made amends to him last summer, and trust his judgment. Feel free to spout whatever foolishness you wish. It'll only serve to make you look more stupid than you already look . . .

As for Charles, he exited the blogosphere with his honor intact. I say that as one who rarely agreed with him. You, on the other hand, entered it a bombastic joke, and have only increased your ludicrous status over time . . .

(I'll give you a moment to peruse the dictionary to figure out what I just said) . . .

Bottom line? Please stop. With each passing day you become more of a laughingstock . . .

At least you picked a good lawyer. Let Bruce Bright do the talking for you. Resist the temptation to speak for yourself . . .

"Tis better to be quiet and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt" . . .

Words you would do well to live by . . .

TomCat said...

Joe you have to resort to vicious personal attacks. Is that all you've got?

Soapbox said...

The only rule broken here was Albero doing a bit of name calling which I stated in the past is not allowed. However I have also stated that I sometimes allow minor infractions to this rule depending on the context of the comment.

After some thought I allowed Albero's latest comment to stand as I was curious to the replies that may be made. I am satisfied that Oceanshaman has made very upstanding and civil reply to Albero and I commend his straightforwardness and honesty.
I know not who you are, or the circumstances of which Albero has tried to defame you with. And futhermore I don't care.

Kudos to you sir! I look forward to further comments from you.

John R said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
soulshine said...

If i am not mistaken, couldn't this lawsuit take several years????

Hadley said...

Soulshine:

Not a chance with Judge Dale affectionately known as "Jail Dale" on the bench.

He will move this case along at a good clip.

Oceanshaman said...

Hadley's right as to the District Court proceedings-- they'll move pretty quickly, regardless of which judge handles the matter. I think there'll be a disposition, at latest, by early next year . . .

The loser, however, can appeal the matter to the Circuit Court for appellate review on the record. Given the novel issues at hand, and the level of animosity between the parties, I would suspect such an appeal is likely. That would add on another year, give or take . . .

The loser on appeal to the Circuit Court could then file a writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals grants a limited number of such writs each year, but, again, given the novel issues at hand, this case could make it to the Court of Appeals. If it does, you can add another year for that . . .

And, FYI, I've done about 10 or so appeals in my time, both civil and criminal, mostly to the Court of Special Appeals. I've also done a number of appeals from District Court to Circuit Court, and, finally, I've prepared two writs of certiorari to the Court of Appeals. Never argued a case before the Court of Appeals, though . . .

soulshine said...

that is a relief, i would hate to see these cases dragout. I saw this one law suit that continued 4 to 5 years. It took forever with the interrogatories along with the depositions. then a request to extend the time period for anwsering the interrogatories. I thought the case would never never end.