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RE: [Czechlist] Term - Eng - Jurisdiction

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  • Jirka Bolech
    Hi Michael: Great you ve pitched in. Great for that colleague of Pavel s anyway. I d like to ask, if you spare a minute, just out of curiosity (being a perfect
    Message 1 of 12 , May 3, 2008
      Hi Michael:

      Great you've pitched in. Great for that colleague of Pavel's anyway.

      I'd like to ask, if you spare a minute, just out of curiosity (being a
      perfect legal layman): is it in the United States in this kind of proceeding
      that, although all of the participants are US citizens, they may fall under
      different jurisdictions? Is that only about courts' scopes of power or may
      different rules apply to them because of different state legislations?

      Jirka Bolech
    • James Kirchner
      ... Usually different laws apply in different states. This is why most contracts will specify the state under whose law disputes will be settled, much as they
      Message 2 of 12 , May 3, 2008
        On May 3, 2008, at 12:19 PM, Jirka Bolech wrote:

        > I'd like to ask, if you spare a minute, just out of curiosity (being a
        > perfect legal layman): is it in the United States in this kind of
        > proceeding
        > that, although all of the participants are US citizens, they may
        > fall under
        > different jurisdictions? Is that only about courts' scopes of power
        > or may
        > different rules apply to them because of different state legislations?

        Usually different laws apply in different states. This is why most
        contracts will specify the state under whose law disputes will be
        settled, much as they do in Europe when they specify the country of
        jurisdiction.

        If the state is not specified in the contract, then some interstate
        disputes have to be settled in federal court, but others are tried
        wherever the hell the plaintiff thinks he'll get the best deal. He
        might file suit in a state where neither one of the parties live or do
        business, if he thinks the outcome will be better. Sometimes
        plaintiffs even choose municipalities for the same reason. Certain
        states and cities are known for having "Santa Claus juries", and
        people know that if they take their disputes there, they have a better
        chance of an outrageously big damage settlement, such as $1.3 million
        for coffee being too hot or $2.5 million because a BMW dealer carried
        out routine dealer prep and paint touchup before selling a car. (Most
        of these really wild settlements are overturned on appeal, by the way.)

        Banks like to locate their credit card subsidiaries in states that
        have no usury laws, such as Delaware. This is why, even though the
        company is really in New York, Chicago, Detroit or Charlotte, North
        Carolina, they've got a token headquarters in some state that allows
        them to charge stratospheric, Jimmy-Carter-era interest rates.

        If a criminal offense involves crossing state lines, then it comes
        under federal law. For example, in the old days, when it was legal in
        some states to get married at 12, if you drive a 13-year-old girl
        from Ohio to Kentucky in order to have sex with her legally, you
        weren't guilty of statutory rape in Kentucky, but you were guilty of a
        federal crime called something like "transporting a minor across state
        lines for immoral purposes", which also had a very stiff penalty.

        If a serial killer or someone murders in more than one state, the
        states agree on which state will prosecute him in what order. If it's
        a slam-dunk, red-handed conviction, they usually give it to whichever
        state has the death penalty, and then the other states don't have the
        case clogging up their schedule.

        In some smaller, crazier civil cases, the disputants agree to have the
        case heard and settled on TV by a retired or currently inactive
        judge. This gets dumb cases off the schedule, and it makes great TV.
        Here are a couple of cases for your viewing pleasure.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r13fttHz_s

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnJnA_mt_UA

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJDK6ctRjqw

        It's all real. No actors.

        That's probably not how a lawyer would explain it, but that's how an
        avid new reader would describe it.

        Jamie




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      • Jirka Bolech
        Hi Jamie: Thanks for your comments. The YouTube videos you ve sent links to are sort of hilarious. US courtrooms are sometimes much like showbiz. On the other
        Message 3 of 12 , May 3, 2008
          Hi Jamie:

          Thanks for your comments. The YouTube videos you've sent links to are sort
          of hilarious. US courtrooms are sometimes much like showbiz. On the other
          hand, the judges seem to be much more efficient than anything I've ever
          heard or been part of taking place in the Czech Republic...

          Jirka Bolech
        • Michael Trittipo
          ... Yes, you re right, if I m understanding the question: just being a U.S. citizen doesn t mean being subject to suit any any court in the U.S. To the
          Message 4 of 12 , May 3, 2008
            Jirka Bolech wrote:
            > I'd like to ask, if you spare a minute, just out of curiosity (being a
            > perfect legal layman): is it in the United States in this kind of proceeding
            > that, although all of the participants are US citizens, they may fall under
            > different jurisdictions? Is that only about courts' scopes of power or may
            > different rules apply to them because of different state legislations?

            Yes, you're right, if I'm understanding the question: just being a
            U.S. citizen doesn't mean being subject to suit any any court in the
            U.S. To the contrary, most people can be made defendants in only a
            few courts, and all the others lack power over them. It is because
            the scope of the court's proper exercise of power is limited.

            That's because each state is technically a different country (that
            has given up some of its sovereignty to the central government), and
            most lawsuits are handled in state courts, not in the federal
            (national) system.

            Just as France's courts can't reach into the Czech Republic, and the
            Slovak courts can't reach into Spain, even though all of each
            country's citizens are "Europeans," neither can Indiana's courts
            touch a California defendant, nor Oregon touch a South Dakotan
            defendant, unless the defendant's contacts with the would-be forum
            state exceed a certain minimum threshold level.

            Thus, Jamie can't maintain a lawsuit against me in Michigan; I have
            insufficient contacts with Michigan for it to do so. He could
            always waste money trying to sue me there, but I can guarantee he'd
            fail: the Michigan courts would throw the suit out because they
            couldn't obtain jurisdiction over me.

            That's actually true of the federal courts, too, in most cases.
            There are some extra wrinkles, that I won't get into. But there's
            not a month that goes by that I don't read a judge's decision
            telling the plaintiff that the judge has to throw out plaintiff's
            lawsuit, precisely because the defendant doesn't have sufficient
            contacts with the state where the court sits.

            Actually, the existence of different rules because of different
            state legislations (different rules in Italy than in Switzerland) is
            not a limit on the courts' powers. There's no reason why an Iowa
            court can't apply New York law (if that's the right body of law to
            apply) or vice-versa.

            I hope that answers your questions?
          • James Kirchner
            ... I think the cases chosen for those shows are the ones that make the best showbiz. They re very entertaining, but they re often educational at the same
            Message 5 of 12 , May 3, 2008
              On May 3, 2008, at 4:47 PM, Jirka Bolech wrote:

              > Thanks for your comments. The YouTube videos you've sent links to
              > are sort
              > of hilarious. US courtrooms are sometimes much like showbiz.

              I think the cases chosen for those shows are the ones that make the
              best showbiz. They're very entertaining, but they're often
              educational at the same time. I understand that after they started
              showing real cases on TV, instead of actors, judges noticed people
              showing up in court better prepared.

              My favorite case ever was one where a young woman had collected $3,000
              in parking tickets in her sister's car and then went to prison on a
              drug charge. She was out again, and her sister was suing her to get
              the money back from paying the parking fines. The deadbeat insisted
              to the judge that she didn't have to pay the money, "Because Jesus
              done forgive my debts when I became a Christian in prison." The judge
              barked at her, "Jesus died for your SINS, not for your parking tickets!"

              You don't have to watch TV to see cases like that, though. One of my
              sisters used to skip school and spend the day watching court trials.

              > On the other hand, the judges seem to be much more efficient than
              > anything I've ever
              > heard or been part of taking place in the Czech Republic...

              These happen to be the cases selected because they could be resolved
              within 15 minutes or a half hour.

              Jamie




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            • James Kirchner
              ... This is true even to the point that if one state wants to try a criminal who is resident in another state, they have to request extradition from that
              Message 6 of 12 , May 3, 2008
                On May 3, 2008, at 6:29 PM, Michael Trittipo wrote:

                > That's because each state is technically a different country (that
                > has given up some of its sovereignty to the central government), and
                > most lawsuits are handled in state courts, not in the federal
                > (national) system.

                This is true even to the point that if one state wants to try a
                criminal who is resident in another state, they have to request
                extradition from that state, just as they would from another country.

                And sometimes that extradition is refused. In high school we were
                taught about a case where a man crossed the state line in order to
                escape prosecution for a crime he'd committed. Decades later, the
                state he'd left from found him and requested extradition. However, in
                the meantime the man had become a completely model citizen -- not only
                never committing any more crimes, but also greatly contributing to the
                betterment of his community. His state of residence refused to turn
                him over for prosecution.

                Jamie




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              • Jirka Bolech
                Thanks, Michel and Jamie, for educating me further on the subject. We ve basically started a new thread and not a very linguistic one. ... within 15 minutes or
                Message 7 of 12 , May 3, 2008
                  Thanks, Michel and Jamie, for educating me further on the subject. We've
                  basically started a new thread and not a very linguistic one.

                  > These happen to be the cases selected because they could be resolved
                  within 15 minutes or a half hour.

                  To pay justice (in exchange ;-)) to the Czech Republic's courts, they do
                  deal with some cases efficiently, for example if you fail to have a valid
                  fare ticket using city transport and refuse to pay the fine if cought by the
                  wardens (or whatever you would call these guys who on a random basis check
                  the passsangers for having paid the fare). There's normally no standing for
                  that, only a kind of buraeucratic procedure. The same for failing to pay
                  your insurance policy; policy contracts leave no space for defence.

                  I also admit that the cases in those three particular YouTube shots were
                  rather simple and the defendants rather simple too (although the middle one
                  [as listed] was just unlucky to upset the judge). What I can't imagine being
                  in this country is the way the judges shown there speak to the defendants.
                  Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the only real difference is we don't yet have TV
                  shows like that over here...

                  Jirka Bolech
                • James Kirchner
                  ... The fact that it doesn t deal with syntax or linguistic terminology doesn t mean it s not useful to translators. I m finding more and more that people s
                  Message 8 of 12 , May 5, 2008
                    On May 4, 2008, at 2:32 AM, Jirka Bolech wrote:

                    > Thanks, Michel and Jamie, for educating me further on the subject.
                    > We've
                    > basically started a new thread and not a very linguistic one.

                    The fact that it doesn't deal with syntax or linguistic terminology
                    doesn't mean it's not useful to translators. I'm finding more and
                    more that people's problems with translation are often due to an
                    inability to visualize what's behind the words, and absorbing more
                    knowledge about legal systems, technical processes or social behavior
                    helps people make the jump from words on a page to actual
                    understanding and sensible translation.

                    It's possible to know every word on a page, and not understand
                    anything. As I've mentioned before on the list, I demonstrate this
                    with my ESL classes. I give them this paragraph, which contains no
                    words that they don't know:

                    "It was the day of the big party. Jennifer wondered if Tom would like
                    a kite. She went to her room and shook her piggy bank. There was no
                    sound."

                    Then I ask them these questions:

                    1. What kind of party is it?
                    2. How old are Tom and Jennifer?
                    3. Why is there no sound?

                    A woman recently arrived from Lebanon says:

                    1. "The party is a wedding."
                    2. "I don't know how old Tom and Jennifer are, but they're definitely
                    not children."
                    3. "There's no sound because the guests haven't arrived yet."

                    A man from Macedonia says:

                    3. "There's no sound because the wind isn't blowing on the beach, and
                    they can't fly the kites."

                    A woman from Vietnam -- the best student in the class -- says:

                    "I think this paragraph has no meaning!"

                    The Chinese woman agrees.

                    Most of the people who misunderstand the paragraph -- whose meaning is
                    obvious to Americans -- come from countries with no tradition of
                    children's birthday parties or of children having their own money.

                    The same thing can happen to translators, even though they have
                    relatively sophisticated language knowledge. I've done many a repair
                    job on translations that were botched because the first translator
                    couldn't picture the situation. I got one that had a Bohemian glass
                    producer delivering large quantities of glass to St. John twice a
                    year. Of course, by medieval times, St. John had been dead for
                    centuries, but the original translator apparently had no clue about
                    scheduling things according to the Catholic liturgical calendar (such
                    as on the feast of St. John), rather than according to numerical dates.

                    I've seen a Czech interpreter translate an explanation of how vacant
                    housing in an American city is rehabilitated as if the US city were
                    reenacting the 1948 communist seizure of the Czech bourgeoisie's
                    houses and their breaking them up into apartments. The city was
                    actually selling abandoned houses to people at a discount. The Czech
                    interpreter lacked the mental schema for abandoned housing and its
                    disposal, because this doesn't really exist in Europe.

                    The same day, I saw an American banker talk about a volunteer
                    organization of bankers that met a couple of times a week to research
                    and apply for improvement grants for the city. It was all totally for
                    free, but the then mayor of Brno talked to me later and had understood
                    it as a scheme for flowing the grant money through the banks so that
                    the banks could take a piece of it. This was not stated, and it
                    wasn't happening, but because His Honor the Mayor lacked the right
                    cultural schema in his mind, he completely misunderstood what was
                    being told to him, even in his own language.

                    So this cultural stuff is important.

                    Jamie



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