Attorney-at-Law

ASSIGNED COUNSEL? – TWO VOTES “NO”

In Uncategorized on 02/05/2016 at 15:58

My ongoing perplexity on the assigned counsel issue in Tax Court continues apace. I’m trying to get an answer I can share with my readers, without, I hope, unduly wearing their patience.

The poor, bewildered pro se really needs something better than the calendar call volunteers, all honor to them. They provide pro bono cover, but at the point they do, on the morning of trial with discovery finished and facts stipulated or deemed admitted, the game is already won, nine times out of ten, by the better-prepared (although not always the more meritorious) party.

The LITCs, technophobic or not (see my blogpost ”Best Little Low-Income Tax Clinic In Texas,” 7/18/14), really do a good job, if the hapless pro se can find one before the IRS avalanche sweeps him or her away.

The average civil litigation is simplicity itself compared with even the smallest Tax Court case. Again and again I’ve shown attorneys, even well-credentialed long-time practitioners, sunk without trace between the Scylla of Tax Court rules and the Charybdis of IRC obscuranta.

Unless Judge Julian I Jacobs can work some kind of magic, of the kind described in my blogpost “Assigned Counsel?” 1/6/16, the unrepresented is relegated to the treatment Judge Colvin gives.

“…petitioner requests that the Court appoint the ‘University of the District of Columbia to represent defendant’. The Court does not have the authority to require a low income taxpayer clinic to represent a petitioner.” Order, at p. 1.

It is obvious that petitioner hasn’t a clue. Petitioner isn’t the “defendant,” for a start. Apparently what petitioner wants is the assistance of the Low-Income Tax Clinic of the David A. Clarke School of Law of the University of the District of Columbia. That organization describes itself as follows: “The UDC-DCSL Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) provides students with hands-on experience representing taxpayers who have active tax controversies pending with the IRS and in U.S. Tax Court. Students represent low-income residents referred to the clinic by the IRS and various local non-profit and advocacy organizations. LITC clients have no right to court-appointed attorneys and the vast majority cannot afford to hire private counsel.”

So the petitioner’s motion for “Leave to File a Motion to Appoint Counsel” is worthless.

A sad story.

Oh yes, the case is Dreck Spurlock Wilson, Docket No. 3752-15S, filed 2/5/16. That says it all.

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