14 September 2021

You Can Lose Your Right To Bring Claims In Civil Lawsuits

You have to engage in extreme conduct to do so, but the Colorado Supreme Court has recognized its authority to bar abusive litigants from every bringing claims of their own in lawsuits without being represented by a lawyer. The right to defend a claim in a lawsuit without a lawyer is preserved for natural persons. 

The request to bar this disbarred lawyer from authority to litigate in his own name was made by the first law firm I worked for in Colorado, which is based in Grand Junction, Colorado and changed its name mid-litigation. He had brought 27 lawsuits related to the same matter over a decade, of which 26 were determined to be frivolous and duplicative.

This is from a September 13, 2021 official syllabus of a Colorado Supreme Court decision:
2021 CO 66 
No. 21SA147, In re Francis v. Wegener—Right of Access—Supervisory Power of the Court—Injunction Against Self-Representation. 
The supreme court makes the rule to show cause absolute and enjoins Robert A. Francis, whether acting individually or on behalf of a trust or some other entity, from ever again proceeding pro se as a proponent of a claim (i.e., as a plaintiff, third-party claimant, cross-claimant, or counter-claimant) in any present or future litigation in the state courts of Colorado. While the Colorado Constitution confers upon every person an undisputed right of access to our state courts, that right isn’t absolute. A party’s constitutional right of access to the courts must sometimes yield to the constitutional right of other litigants and the public to have justice administered without denial or delay. Such is the case when courts are called upon to curb the deleterious impact that duplicative and baseless pro se litigation has on finite judicial resources.  
Francis has been abusing the judicial process for the purpose of harassing his adversaries for the better part of a decade. State courts have warned, reprimanded, and sanctioned Francis—all to no avail. Even the suspension of his law license has failed to deter his appalling conduct. Under the circumstances, the extraordinary injunction requested is amply justified. Of course, Francis may still obtain access to judicial relief—he just may not do so without legal representation.

Game Of Thrones Tactics In Haiti

A prosecutor in Haiti is seeking to charge the Prime Minister of Haiti with the murder of its President. CNN has the story:
Haiti's top prosecutor is seeking charges against Prime Minister Ariel Henry in connection with the assassination of the late President Jovenel Moise. He has also barred the Prime Minister from leaving the country. 
Port-au-Prince's chief prosecutor, Bed-Ford Claude, previously invited Henry to testify about the case, citing evidence that a key suspect in the assassination called him in the hours after the murder. Henry was due to testify on Tuesday morning. That suspect, former Haitian Justice Ministry official Joseph Felix Badio, is believed to be on the run. CNN has not been able to reach him for comment.
Claude told CNN that he is discussing possible charges against Henry with the judge.

The late President Moise was brutally killed during an attack on his private residence on July 7. The investigation into his killing is ongoing and has turned up dozens of suspects, including US and Colombian citizens.

Moise's death prompted a weeks-long standoff over succession in the country's leadership between the recently nominated Henry -- a neurologist by training -- and then-acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph, before Henry ultimately took power. . . .
The early months of Henry's tenure have been troubled by continuing intrigue over the assassination, deadly gang violence in capital city Port-au-Prince, and a catastrophic August earthquake in the country's south that left more than 2,100 dead and injured more than 12,200.

A prosecution does seem appropriate in this case. The situation in the meantime is a mess for an already troubled and struggling country.

13 September 2021

SAT Test Preparation Isn't Very Effective

The main problem with moving away from standardized tests is that almost all of the alternatives are less meritocratic. Contrary to popular belief, test preparation classes to which the wealthy has disproportionate access don't make much of a difference for the vast majority of students taking them.

One pillar of the case against standardized testing is the widespread belief that wealthy students carry an advantage because they can afford expensive test prep courses and tutors. That’s what critics mostly mean when they say the SAT is a test of family wealth, not of academic ability.

Is this true?

Let’s start with some findings that pretty much everyone who studies this stuff seems to agree on. 
First: It’s true that test prep, which I’ll define as outside help that costs money and requires an investment of time, is generally used by wealthier and better-connected students. 
But second: The effects of test prep have been studied pretty extensively, and while there’s far from any consensus on why some students do better than others, the published studies agree that the range of improvement, once controlled for a variety of factors like the fact that students who enroll in and complete test prep courses will likely be a self-selected group, is about 10 to 35 points.

Does test prep really help everyone who has the money to sign up for a course, even if it raises their scores just a little? Not quite. 
Two studies found that when you disaggregate for ethnicity, Americans of East Asian descent benefit far more from test prep than any other group, including white and other Asian American students. (There’s an interesting if somewhat unrelated distinction to make here: One-on-one tutoring seems to help nobody. Commercial test prep, which ranges from cram schools in East Asian enclaves to the Princeton Review, has some effects.) This might explain why Asian Americans’ SAT scores have steadily been rising over the past decade.

According to a study conducted by Julie Park and Ann Becks in The Review of Higher Education, “East Asian Americans were the only group where a form of test prep predicted a higher SAT score (about 50 points).” For everyone else, SAT prep has no significant effect or even, in some cases, a negative one. A previous study found that the majority of this improvement took place in East Asian immigrant enclaves like Flushing, in Queens, which has dozens of cram schools that serve ethnic communities.

From the New York Times.