Attorney-at-Law

OBLIGING, BUT HE WON’T WRITE YOUR BRIEF FOR YOU

In Uncategorized on 09/01/2017 at 14:39

I’ve often written in praise of that Obliging Jurist, Judge David Gustafson. He’ll visit you in the slammer to hear your case; he’ll suggest how to draft your petition; short of bringing his own laptop over to your home or office to draft motions, or bringing coffee and doughnuts to the calendar call, he’s Tax Court’s embodiment of “whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain,“ as a much higher authority remarked.

But there’s a limit even to Judge David Gustafson’s benevolence.

Moacir Santos, Docket No. 11847-15, filed 9/1/17, wants Judge Gustafson (or somebody) to write his first brief for him. IRS filed first, at Judge Gustafson’s behest, because Mo is a self-represented who most likely wouldn’t know how.

Judge Gustafson knows how intimidating Tax Court rules can be to the non-professionals.

But Mo doesn’t take the proffered assistance.

Judge Gustafson chronologizes the mile and twain he goes with Mo.

The dates matter, so here they are.

“The Court discussed with the parties the challenge that a self-represented petitioner faces in preparing a post-trial brief. (Tr. 138.) As an intended help to Mr. Santos, the Court ordered the IRS to file the first brief in this case on June 12, 2017 (which it later did), and the Court ordered Mr. Santos to file his brief by July 26, 2017.” Order, at p. 1.

So here’s what it looks like, Mo. Go and do thou likewise.

But Mo hangs back, and doesn’t put his hand to the plough or the wordprocessor.

So Judge Gustafson tries again.

“The Court therefore initiated a telephone conference with the parties on August 3, 2017. Despite having signed up for electronic access to the Court’s docket, and despite the IRS’s delivery of a paper copy of its brief to Mr. Santos, he claimed that he had not received the IRS’s brief (but he did not take any action when the IRS’s due date came and went). Giving Mr. Santos the benefit of the doubt, the Court allowed Mr. Santos until August 24, 2017, to file his brief.” Order, at p. 1.

Mo does zippo.

But ever willing to oblige the truly penitent, Judge Gustafson goes the thrain.

“…unless the Court receives Mr. Santos’s brief by Monday, September 18, 2017, the Court will conclude that he has decided not to file a brief and will decide this case without the benefit of further input from Mr. Santos.” Order, at p. 2. (Emphasis by the Court).

Mo, better do it. Or you’ll be up for an off-the-bencher.

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