Monday, March 7, 2016

This Judge Says Three Year Olds Can Represent Themselves In Court Proceedings

A federal judge thinks kids like this group can be
trained to act as their own lawyers and understand
immigration law just fine.  
An immigration judge named Jack Weil certainly must have a high opinion of toddlers' intelligence.

According to the Washington Post and several other news outlets, Weil said that three and four year olds are perfectly capable of representing themselves in immigration court. No need for pesky lawyers or adults for these kids!

Weil said the following in sworn testimony in a federal court deposition:  

"I've taught immigration law literally to three-year-olds and four-year-olds.....It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of patience. They get it. It's not the most efficient, but it can be done."

Well, I guess the next time I need a lawyer, I'll just pick up some random kid at a preschool.

Weil's opinion came during a deposition in which the American Civil Liberties Union and immigrants rights group is tring to force the government to provide counsel for every indigent child that can't afford a lawyer.

The U.S. Government is contesting the lawsuit, which led Weil to ultimately say there's no need for those lawyers, because toddlers are smart enough to be lawyers.

The backpedaling on the government side, naturally, is furious. Weil, in a brief email to the Washington Post, said his statements don't "present an accurate assessment of my views on this topic and raises that old chestnut that his remarks were taken out of context." He then shut up, saying he needs Justice Department permission to speak further.

Yeah, I'm sure he asked and I'm sure the Justice Department gave its permission, what with all the stupidity in Weil's statement

A Justice Department spokeswoman told the Washington Post that her department does not say three and four year olds are capable of defending themselves, and that Weil made his remarks in a four hour deposition that discussed various ways immigration judges can make hearings fair, including for young children.

In its lawsuit, the ACLU obviously says they will use Weil's words to make their case.

Weil, and by extention the Obama Justice Department is Trump Lite - coming up with ridiculous notions on how to deal with illegal immigrants. They're just more subtle about it.

Of course we shouldn't just let anybody into the country. Of course we should deport those that cross the border illegally (I won't get into the 11 million or so that are already here. Trump's mass deportation of all of them clearly isn't feasible. You'd think we could come up with some path to citizenship, one that's been talked about for years but never implemented.)

If we are going to deport illegal aliens though, shouldn't we stick up for our ideals and give people at least a little due process? Sure, it costs money and takes time, but we take the high road for once.

But insisting that toddlers can act as their own lawyers? This from a judge who supposedly trains other immigration judges?

As quoted in the Washington Post:

"Elizabeth S. Scott, a Columbia Law Professor considered an expert on children and the law said, 'The law uniformly presumes in every other area that younger children lack the mental capacity to make consequential decisions.'"

But I guess immigration courts are somehow above the law?

And I'm sure (snark) that immigration judges spend hours and hours teaching each kid that comes into immigration court the fine points of immigration law, right?

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