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January 07, 2010

Fantastic or delusional?

Let's play judge.

Here's the law:

Claims describing fantastic or delusional scenarios fall into the category of cases whose factual contentions are clearly baseless. Judges have the discretion to decide whether a complaint is frivolous, and such finding is appropriate when the facts alleged are irrational or wholly incredible.

And here's the claim, filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. by a Mr. Andrew Gill. As summed up by Judge Emmet Sullivan:

"In a lengthy and rambling complaint, (Gill) alleges that he has been harassed by agents of the United States Secret Service, that police stalked him, that he was forced to save the life of a veteran in St. Louis, Missouri, that he was convicted of criminal offenses in Hannibal,Missouri, that he was sexually assaulted in Sacramento, California, that he worked as an undercover informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration, that he was denied a proper education in elementary, middle, and high schools, and that others have accused him of using LSD."

What's your call?

In a ruling Jan. 6, Judge Sullivan applied the 'fantastic or delusional' test and dismissed Mr. Gill's case.

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Buck Meister

Although the characterization suggests a fellow who has special needs, my own experience with judges who take bits and pieces to pervert the true message leaves most with a false choice: should we let judges decide who gets to have their day because some folks are crazy? Why not make judges apply the law equally and order a guardian ad litem for those who may need help and truly are crazy so they don't need to seek self-help. I have found that for every case pled by an incompetent there are two on the bench pretending to be. When the babies are all summarily thrown out with the bath, then the new kings will have succeeded where the old kings could not: absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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mike

"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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