I WAS IN THE WRONG COURT
Edna Jane Favreau
Edna Jane Favreau nee Stewart was a successful real estate salesperson who accumulated some property on her own account. She married a charming conman without any means other than his clothes and Air Force retirement income. He kept her books of account, and regularly abused her shortly after the ink had dried on the marriage license. Finally, he nearly killed her by strangulation. He was convicted of battery and given a light sentence for the strangulation incident: one year’s probation. The judge also ordered him to make restitution to Jane, with liquidated damages to be determined. The State Attorney’s office in Brevard County was negligent and failed to follow up on the restitution order, so Jane filed her own lien with the clerk of the court. Her husband had already taken all her cash out of the bank accounts, and she was forced to go into hiding due to his continual threats. The persistent abuse and the oxygen deprivation to her brain as well as back injuries sustained in the attacks had left her physically and mentally disabled. Her former husband remarried, and died. Jane’s marital assets wound up under his control, thanks to his misconduct and that of his attorneys; when he died, his new wife took them over. Jane wound up in several courts in two counties; she did not obtain just settlement in divorce court, and she was instructed to file a tort action in another court; and then she was in probate court. Not only were multiple cases involved, the Brevard County judges rotated as if they were playing musical chairs, so no one judge really had a full grasp on her situation; but she was clearly a female, disabled “victim” and was roundly abused in that unwanted role – some authorities may kick a dog when it is down to demonstrate their own power, for fear of being powerless and abused themselves; the dog winds up in a kennel with obvious symptoms of distress and may have to be put out of its misery. Compounding Jane’s confusion was the fact that she would have several strokes in the process, a process whereby she was forced to represent herself on a “pro se” (‘for oneself’) basis – approximately 80% of family law cases in Florida have one person on either side representing his or her own self. Rendered indigent and impaired by her husband and by fraud on the court, she has fought the good fight for eighteen years, all the while seeking an attorney to take up her righteous cause, trying to rectify the injustice done to her by way of the fraud on the court. It is not surprising that the initial errors were compounded in the process. She is not an attorney, and her disabilities were aggravated by the abusive courts. Her PTS (post traumatic stress syndrome), for instance, was worsened by the constant bulling by members of the Bar hence she has LAS (legal abuse syndrome) to boot. She chokes up when under pressure to speak; women and children are often beaten for “something I said,” and continued abuse renders them intimidated and fearful in the physical presence of persons with authority. Jane cannot speak up well extemporaneously, but she can sit down and write at length when alone. She suffers from “hypergraphia” as well; hypergraphia is a term of art for an obsessive-compulsive urge to write, a characteristic observed in manic-depressive persons. Jane filed so many motions, briefs, affidavits, and pleadings with the court that eventually she was ordered to shut up, to file nothing more except through a licensed attorney. A judge ordered her future filings to be shredded. She literally could not shut up, and, appealing to the court, pleaded that shutting her up violated her Constitutional rights. She has pointed out that judges often have contempt for pro se litigants, even when they are competent, and abuse them accordingly, not bothering to read their filings. Although her pleadings are many in number and prolix, and their content naturally demonstrates her confusion, and are sometimes not on point in the particular context of the legal procedure, they have moral and jurisprudential merit. After all, she is only trying, in the best way she can given her disabilities, to obtain the justice that someone with wealth would normally get through an attorney-at-law and a court that is duly respectful of the law because it is dealing with wealthy and powerful individuals. What follows is an edited and condensed version of one of her many filings, originally entitled ‘Exhibit in Support of Motion For Remand.’ The words and grammar are mainly hers; redundancies are omitted along with case and rule citations; certain paragraphs have been shifted to put the document in a more coherent order. The compulsion to write characteristic of hypergraphia, by the way, is considered abnormal because it is not regulated by the organizing or editing lobe of the brain. David Arthur Walters, Ed.
Exhibit in Support of Motion for Remand
I did not expect the court to grant me an attorney’s help at the beginning of my court cases, so I hired an attorney named Pam Huddleston to take the case to trial. She was paid to take the case to trial, and she agreed to request additional attorney fees from the advantaged side as allowed by Florida law. Instead, she sold out to the other side and canceled that important hearing for interim fees, and then she went skiing.
I was eventually stripped of all my assets by unethical lawyers and judges, and was left indigent i.e. without the means to hire attorneys, and public legal aid was denied to me, allegedly due to a lack of resources and because my case was not unusual.
I first came to court expecting fairness and justice, rules to be validated, and laws upheld. I knew the officers of the court had taken an oath to uphold the laws, to go by the rules of court, and to abide by the Constitution. But then I discovered that even though citizens are put under oath to tell the truth, and even though the officers of the court have already taken an oath, somehow the court overlooks the lies that are told.
No, the attorneys did not seem to be under an oath to tell the truth in court. I questioned The Florida Bar about this, and I was told, “Yes, it’s a dirty business; they say and do anything to win or confuse the issues.”
While I was medically certified as impaired and disabled, the Brevard County Court illegally sold my homestead; my children had to go into debt to buy back my homestead. The Brevard Court also illegally sold my property in Volusia County. The Court never accounted for the proceeds. I had placed a restitution lien on the property, as I was entitled by Florida law to do as a victim of my former husband’s foul crime against me, for which he was convicted. The Court in Volusia County, without any lawful authority, lifted those liens for restitution and the debt still owed me, thus thwarting the legislative intent of the statutes and violating established law.
The Court clearly was in excess of its jurisdiction when it turned the proceeds of that sale, as well as all the other assets I had invested in, over to my abusive former husband, never accounting for any of them. The Court did not follow the laws, and the acts it committed should be investigated by a grand jury.
No judge in his or her right mind would ever give a wife’s assets over to a criminal husband, convicted of severe spouse abuse and sentenced to a year in jail, for him to hold and control after a divorce due to severe spouse abuse.
The misconduct in Brevard and Volusia County does not pass the smell test. The courts reek of malfeasance and need to be investigated. Just saying ‘all is well’ does not make it so. The Judge should answer, for example, for selling my property when no testimony was taken under oath nor certified evidence allowed to be presented at a hearing, which was scheduled and then fraudulently canceled; the judge prematurely lifted allowable liens and cancelled the hearing.
The transcript in that case reveals how the judge was so unconcerned about what to do about the ‘certified’ exhibits he was given to look at before he made a ruling in the case; he just started mentioning, in an apathetic way, that the appeals court would read the records in the matter and come to its own conclusion if I were to appeal his ruling. Yes, he had a conspicuous lack of concern about his ruling; that fact alone would cause a reasonable person to conclude that he was being indifferent to the debt still owed to me, a victim of domestic violence.
I was clearly tricked by the devious Brevard County officers of the court in my cases. For example, in one instance the Brevard County Clerk shredded my motions for insolvency to appeal, and failed to send the rest of the paper work to the appeals court, so the case was dismissed without going before a panel of judges because the paper work and fee were not provided,
Brevard County Court Judge Rouse, for example, did not care about the early lifting of the liens, which caused me great harm. The debt still owed to me is clearly relevant to my cases; I worked for those assets in the first place, and those liens were to protect the debt owed under the law. He said his decision could be appealed if I faulted his ruling, and the 5th District Court of Appeals could decide if he ruled incorrectly. There already was an evidentiary hearing scheduled to present evidence on why I had a right, as a victim of a crime, to legally place the lien on the property, but the judge canceled that important hearing; unknown to me, the property was sold that very same afternoon. That is, the judge went ahead and ruled prematurely before a scheduled evidentiary hearing could be held for the purpose of giving sworn testimony and evidence under oath. The judge used a bushwhacking approach against me. Why? Why was he so impatient?
By lifting the lien, the judge let my assets go. By what statute law or precedent case did he do this awful thing? Judge Rouse said that, if I could show him case laws, he would consider them. So why did he quickly make his ruling before the evidentiary hearing? I immediately appealed his premature ruling. And then, because the judge would not abide by the applicable Rule of Appellate Procedure, I had to voluntary withdraw the appeal so the lower court could reconsider the evidence. But reconsideration did not happen. Supposedly to correct the court mistakes, a new evidentiary hearing was given, but still the judge refused to listen or look at things by the standard of law so he gave the same results. The hearing was a sham, mere pretence. No one was put under oath. The evidence was not even considered.
The so-called evidence filed by my former husband’s attorney was false, clearly contradicted by the certified copy of the restitution order supporting my complaint. The documents I filed with the clerk of the court, for the judge to review, were based on specific facts, and not mere allegations, and should not have been ignored, or shredded to cover up malfeasance. The summary judgment was appealed, but the property was sold before the appeal might be heard.
There were genuine issues of material fact that indeed established a prima facie case of guilt against my former husband; that alone should have barred a summary judgment. However, the Brevard Circuit Court refused to admit the truth that it was aware of, that my former husband’s attorney had clearly falsified the Complaint and had disregarded the allowable evidence that I had given pro se to prove that I was owed money from the Estate of my former husband, Walter Favreau. This was discrimination against me as a female pro se litigant, favoring the man who could afford a male attorney [for example: a Puerto Rican female attorney was openly denigrated by my former husband’s attorney in another case, and was disciplined for that typical Brevard County Court behavior] Ignoring good evidence and refusing to acknowledge the ‘certified evidence’ was a deviation and departure from standards set down by Florida Statutes and court rules, and cruelly discriminated against me, because I am a woman, in favor of a man, because he is male.
The Court can and should correct mistakes and misprisions. Indeed, legal cannons specify that the Court and its officers have a duty to turn this malfeasance over to the proper authorities when wrongs are committed. White collar crimes by officers of the court should be investigated by grand jury straight away.
Covering up wrongs done by judges and their favorite lawyers is definitely improper and illegal. One expects judges to know the laws, to be unbiased and know the rules, to be fair and consistently impartial. At the very least they should find the facts and uphold Constitutional standards; indeed, nothing less should be tolerated. Those officers of the court who did not follow the Rules or Statutes in my case should be adequately sanctioned to the fullest extent of the law. Furthermore, in order to discourage future misprisions and misconduct by officer of the court in respect to the malfeasance and violation of laws in my case, the miscreant officers of the court should have to pay for the pain and suffering they have caused me.
Obstructing justice and/or inaptly interfering in justice is plainly wrong and against the rule of law. Blocking a person from court, as I have been blocked – from filing pleas, which are shredded, and from making calls to court officials, from appearing in person at the Clerk’s office or judges’ chambers, and from the case scheduling process – should not be an option. And, just pretending that no problem exists does not solve a problem.
When officers of the court harm their victim by entanglements in multiple courts and conspire to obstruct the dispensation of justice to her, she should be granted relief. When officers of the court come in ‘sheep’s clothing’, pretending they can help a victim, they come as wolves in disguise. When they victimize someone, they do not fulfill their duty; they should be punished by sanctions to the fullest extent of the law. And officers of the court and judges and court administrators who put spin-control on the issues and/or cover up the obstructions that take place should be sanctioned also. Indeed, they should be ashamed of what they have done, instead of trying to hide and pretending that nothing’s wrong, that what they do is just business-as-usual.
The judiciary would have nothing to lose if it simply allowed my case to be fully and impartially investigated, that is, if the judiciary has nothing to hide. Having full evidentiary hearing, with meaningful investigation, and redressing the wrongs would gain back respect and integrity for the judiciary, for doing the right thing. Public confidence would be restored if things that were done wrong were corrected.
As it now appears, it is obvious that the intricate trap to render me homeless was intentionally set up by my former husband and his attorneys to intentionally do harm to a woman battered and nearly murdered by him, and that the Bar of Florida aggravated the damages to me, denuding me of the means and ability to obtain redress. First of all, the homestead set up to accommodate my disabilities, my sanctuary from harm, never should have been sold. Perhaps, to accomplish a fair settlement given the mix of marital properties, it could have been traded for another marital property in such a way that I would remain secure in it, but it never should have been sold out from under me.
The gross malfeasance on the part of the Brevard County Court officers should be addressed. I was denied access to justice in more ways than one. I am a disabled person protected by the ADA, and the Court was fully aware of my disabilities; for instance, my speech impediments when under pressure in court, and the post-traumatic stress that causes me to write and file many long briefs. The Court should not have denied me my right to come to court for redress of my grievances and for the malfeasance of it lawyers and judges.
The wealthy of our nation are not treated as I have been; they are treated well and things are done properly for them in the courts of law. Many wrongs were done with intentions to harm me, a pro se litigant only representing myself because I was deprived by the unjust judicial system of the means to obtain representation. What is done willfully, inaptly and wrongfully, with intentional and callous indifference to an indigent citizen’s right to be in the right court of justice, and with malicious intent to cover up the past misconduct and malfeasance by fellow officers of the court, calls for redress; and that included redress under the ADA law for the failure of the court to reasonably accommodate certified disabilities.
Some courts have recognized that victims of abuse like me are routinely discriminated against and denied representation, just as I have been. The remedies that justice entitles me to in the courts are obvious: 1) my cases should be consolidated; 2) the marital assets should be accounted for, clawed back and appropriate settled; 3) the unethical attorneys and judges should be sanctioned and sued for damages; 4) an independent panel or grand jury, and not the friendly Florida Bar or Judicial Qualification Commission, should investigate the potentially criminal misconduct of the lawyers and judges involved – the Florida Bar and Judicial Qualification Commission have already proved that they only ignore indigent and disabled victims like me, leaving them with no genuine legal recourse to correct outrageous miscarriages of justice, including intentionally putting them in the wrong courts as I was.
In my cases, a dishonorable judge allowed the opposing attorney to get away with his deception, and for that reason alone my cases must be reversed and remanded with instructions to consolidate the related cases to bring closure and justice. Fraud upon the court caused me grievous damage, and, if the courts keep ignoring the facts, I shall be even further damaged. My cases need to be consolidated somehow, and hearings held to determine how the officers of the court must replace what was lost by me, a disabled victim who was left to flounder about in the wrong courts. My former husband’s and his attorney’s fraudulent misrepresentations and coercion in the first trial were the biggest factors in my inability to obtain justice from the defrauded court. The appellate court should reverse the lower court judgments and instruct the lower courts to have proper hearings to consider all of the facts, for proper procedures require a full presentation of the facts.
Edited Public Court Document
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