"As God Is My Witness, I Am That Fool"
by Charles Carreon
July 19, 2013
Okay, admit it. Everybody wants to be bloodless and
eternal, like a corporation. That’s why playing a vampire
is the surest route to celebrity. But I have always liked
immortals of a less rarefied type. The homey
characteristics of the Addams Family enamoured me from
childhood. The Munsters were even cooler in their TV show
manifestation, with that crazy car and the blonde sister.
Whoa! I fancied myself an Eddie Munster. There were
similarities. I had a killer widow’s peak. I wore short
pants for longer than I wanted to. My father always drove
huge Cadillacs that looked like he’d checked them out of the
government motorpool. Our house was a dilapidated dive that
my brother once proclaimed, humorously, but with satirical
style, “I figured out where we live! We live in a slum!” I
was so proud.
Growing up as a schoolkid, I was ahead of everyone else,
seven years old in the fifth grade for a little while, then
put back to fourth grade, ’cause I was always in fights
’cause I was so little. I was always the runt, picked last
for every sports team. I didn’t have to pick my friends,
because only nice kids would be my friends, since I couldn’t
throw or hit a ball, or do anything very well with my body.
This pattern continued. I didn’t learn to swim until I was
eleven, and didn’t learn to drive until after I was
married. But I learned how to fight. Hell, we had a TV, so
what excuse would I have for not knowing how to fight?
Charge! Knock the other guy off his feet! They’re all
smaller sittin’ on their ass.
The Addams Family movie became especially dear to the hearts
of my children. It went well with the daily regimen of
waking to the sound of “Rock and Roll High School” playing
at 11 over the stereo. I never had a problem waking my
kids, and they never minded getting up. And when we went to
see The Addams Family at its Christmas release, it was a
very fun trip to the movies.
When Gomez, his homestead menaced by the machinations of
his own lawyer, delivered his pro se soliliquy, I was
thrilled: “Have no fear. Justice shall prevail. The courts
will decide. They say a man who represents himself has a
fool for a client. Well, with God as my witness, I am that
fool!” Of course, it does not turn out at all well, and the
family is evicted. Note, however, that Gomez was not a
lawyer. Gomez’s mistake was not in representing himself,
but in failing to observe that he was not a lawyer, and
could not hope to compete on an equal footing in the courts.
When Gomez returns to his strong suits — swordplay and
magic — he’s back on top in no time. Most pro se litigants
lose because they have no idea what the rules are. The
rules are everywhere in the judicial system, and most pro se
litigants don’t even know where to find them. Then, when
they read them, they don’t understand them.
They are in a worse position than the blind men trying to
determine the identity of the elephant. Three years in law
school and you barely begin to scratch the surface of the
law’s immensity. But if you have to go pro se, don’t
despair. The most important case in the law of criminal
v. Wainwright, was pro se. And what did it
achieve? Eventually the principle articulated inGideon gave
nearly all criminal defendants the right to counsel. One
pro se criminal defendant who was too stupid to give up did
more to provide lawyers with jobs at public expense than all
the lawyers had accomplished in hundreds of years. That man
did not have a fool for a client.
But is it not undignified for a lawyer to represent
himself? Yeah, let me consider that idea. Is it
undignified for Chuck Norris or Steven Seagal to kick
someone’s ass instead of calling the cops? Especially when,
as in many action movies, the cops are all on the take and
will sell your ass out for a nickel? And who was going to
sue Matt Inman, Indiegogo, the American Cancer Society and
the National Wildlife Fund for me? Find me the lawyer with
the pair big enough to do that, and maybe I’d actually try
to hire him or her. But from all the caterwauling I hear
from the girlie-men lawyers, I think I’d have been wasting
my time. So pardon my well-trained fists. I’ll kick ass on
my own behalf anytime I find it useful.
Those who criticize me for not surrendering, and instead
using my own pugilistic skills, are simply saying that a
lawyer is merely a mercenary. He has no principles of his
own to defend or assert. Without a client distinct from
himself, he is a neuter drone. He is supposed to “stand
down,” as Paul Levy wanted me to do after he got his panties
all in a bunch because Register.com coughed up Recouvreur’s
contact information in response to my standard “cough up the
registrant’s name” letter. Believe me, Register.com has
gotten them before from me, and their lawyers know the law.
If you reflect on it, this argument that pro se
representation is a profanation of the courthouse is just
typical brotherhood propaganda, intended to accustom the
average person to the tyranny of the legal profession. As a
member of the brotherhood, I don’t have to buy the
So the idea that I, being a lawyer, would not stoop to
representing myself when I don’t have money to hire even a
bad lawyer, is absurd. That’s like not reaching for a handy
SKS assault rifle when someone stops by for a little home
invasion. Get real. What kind of world do these
rapeutationists live in?
Besides which, very few lawyers will litigate the way I
litigate. I entirely agree with all these rapeutationist
lawyers who said they would “never do this,” and “never do
that” thing that Charles Carreon did. That is one hundred
percent true, which is why I have won many cases that they
would have lost for pure lack of trying, or just not having
the guts to make the other lawyer lose. They would call
their cowardice “professional behavior.” I tell you what.
The rich don’t put up with that kind of crap. Their lawyers
fight like partisans down to their last bullet. When they
screw up, it’s not a small matter. Millions in fees can
disappear, and an associate’s job right along with them, if
something gets misfiled, or an argument is not made.
Maybe because I haven’t earned a salary since 1995, and
don’t depend upon anyone’s good will but that of my clients,
I have tried to give all my clients the type of service I
know the wealthy receive. It keeps them coming back, but it
means that I have to contest vigorously with other lawyers.
I suspect that much of the outcry about my unfair tactics by
the army of zombie lawyers spouting nonsense was conjured up
to assure my adversaries of victory in the court of public
opinion sufficient to overshadow the truth about myself and
the legitimacy of my claims. Ultimately, the vast amount of
grossly inaccurate information proliferated through the
rapeutation procedure virtually moots the effectiveness of
any strategy adopted to counter it. And chief among those
misrepresentations was the statement that I am unethical.
I know the types of lawyers who say my tactics are
unethical. They’re the lawyers that sound like tigers
before they get their fee. Oh, are they fierce! In the
confines of their own offices, they describe how they will
strike the foe.
“Ha!” they laugh at the arguments that the client fears the
opposing side might make. ”Ridiculous! An easy case!
Wouldn’t you say, Jim?”
The obsequious sidekick agrees. ”I think we can win this
The retainer is signed, the check crosses the lawyer’s desk,
and invisibly to the eyes of the client, a transformation
takes place. As soon as they start talking to the adversary,
they start softening up on the case, backpedaling, finding
reasons not to do what they promised. Motions never get
filed. Excuses get delivered instead. This is not my style.
I am the same carnivorous beast before and after being fed.
My adversaries complain because I hit them as soon as they
walk into the ring, and then have a whole series of attacks
planned as follow-up. There’s a principle at work here —
every day must be a bad day for the enemy. But sustained
effort is costly, so effective litigation is, by definition,
expensive. This must be disclosed at the outset, but many
lawyers soft-pedal the risk, luring their clients into the
mire, where they will contribute their bones to the tarpit.
When the client realizes how costly litigation is, they
easily agree with the lawyer’s plans to do little, and hope
for the best. This is the legal product commonly
delivered in law offices around the country every day. By
spreading the idea that aggressive representation in
litigation is a bad thing, mediocre lawyers are simply
making the world more comfortable for their lazy selves. So
if you are looking to waste your money on legal fees and get
excuses instead of results, you should definitely hire those
lawyers who claim I am too aggressive.
Finally, I should address the argument that a pro se lawyer
working on his own case, like I, in dealing with Paul Levy’s
lawsuit against me on behalf of Christopher Recouvreur, is
at a disadvantage. This may or may not be true, but I
personally was at a dire disadvantage. Why? Because I
hated working on the case. Paul Levy is an icky lawyer to
deal with. He has mannerisms that are strange. The lama
Chogyam Trungpa once described the feeling of dealing with a
guy like Paul: ”You think that they are looking at your
face, but actually they are watching you from behind your
back.” You say something to Paul, and he comments on your
statement with a long, lingering “Oh….” as if you just
revealed your naked crotch and he’s going to tell the
principal. I actually tried to get a friend in San
Francisco to represent me in that case, and he was willing
until I told him Paul Levy was on the other side. Then he
apologized and said, “Ooh. I’d like to help you, but I
actually get involved in cases that he’s in, and he’s
weird. I mean he does weird things.” Yes, I agree with
that, but that fight’s not over by a long shot. I filed my
est longa, vita brevis.
And since we’re talking about Paul Levy, if you would like
to get in bed with a snake, then associate with him as
co-counsel. After being your friend, and co-counsel, he will
then tell people that your work product was “terrible.” I
wrote my brief to the New York Court of Appeals in American
Buddha exactly the way I wanted to. It was not at all
traditional, because the entire NYCA briefing was a
ridiculous exercise in result-oriented jurisprudence,
instigated by the activist, pro-publisher panel, that wanted
to give Penguin every opportunity to overturn Judge Edward
Lynch’s decision without insulting Judge Lynch who had just
recently been elevated to the Second Circuit himself, as
Obama’s first judicial appointee. There was no logic in the
question certified by the Second Circuit that asked the NYCA
to determine the situs of a copyright, because the New York
state courts never hear copyright cases, as all copyright
cases are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the
federal courts. It is a rare occasion when an advocate feels
so certain about the outcome of a particular piece of
judicial gerrymandering that he will devote his brief to
criticizing the legitimacy of the process itself, in an
effort to provoke an attack of judicial conscience, but that
is what I was up to.
Levy also claims that it’s wonderful that an attorney from
his office argued the appeal before the NYCA. Really lucky.
Because they lost.
What is most obscured by Levy’s diatribe against my
litigation skills is that while on appeal at the NYCA, I was
defending a win before Judge Lynch at the District Court
level, and that after losing the appeal, I went on to win
again in the District Court before Judge Ronnie Abrams. To
hear Levy tell it, his disapproval is a black mark against
an advocate that obscures even the lustre of victory. I
assure you, my client does not concur.