Understanding Courts

The court system, to most, is very mysterious and therefore often misunderstood. Most folks have a hard time determining which way to turn when they, a loved one or even a friend are confronted with a problem which involves the court. What happens if I am sued, or summoned as a witness or even worse charged with a crime? What is traffic court – small claims court – family court – or probate court? Why are there so many different courts? And the questions go on and on. For the average person it is very difficult to find straightforward answers to these and many other questions. And then there is the issue of the need and benefit of a lawyer.

The misinformation about courts often runs rampant. Not too long ago I was in the barber shop getting my haircut when I overheard one of the barbers counseling his customer. It was right before the election and the customer was trying to determine what to do about a traffic ticket. The barber said – “oh it is a bad time to go to court – you know it is election time and the judges who are worried about getting reelected are throwing the book at everyone”. He went on to explain that everyone who was standing sentence in criminal court was also getting extra time because of the election.

After the customer had left the shop I pulled my friendly barber aside and said “Al it is time for civics 101”. In our state traffic court judges are not elected they are appointed by the Governor and none of our criminal court judges are running for election.

Well the point is everyone needs a straight-forward resource to refer to when questions about courts arise.

The rate of illiteracy about the courts is well documented. For over 30 years I have spoken to thousands of teachers, students, jurors, insurance adjusters, community organizers and countless others. The common denominators in those discussions are misconceptions about the legal system in this great country. Yet the United States of America is known worldwide as a country that is ruled by laws and not men. The freedoms and protection from governmental tyranny are the envy of the rest of the world.

This book will lay a foundation for sorting out courts and how they intersect with folks. It will also serve as a navigation guide – a court’s GPS- for anyone having business before a court. It will be especially  helpful to the teacher (and students) who is teaching law related matters in the classroom.

The Book is the product of 25 years of working with teachers, students and curriculum advisors with Law Related Eduction . The Book is currently undergoing a much needed update – Stay tuned for a new edition.

Judge Arthur M. Monty Ahalt (Ret.)

Upon his retirement in 1999 Judge Ahalt commenced a career as an ADR neutral and technology innovator.

Send An Email