Painful Silence

Legal Library

Written By: Amie Shalom



Here is my growing collection of well-written, easy-to-understand Guides, plus the need-to-know procedures and processes that surround the Pro Se litigant.



  • Pro Se Handbook 2014   This is the definitive (76 page) guide written by the Northern California Federal Court
  • How to file under Title 42 Section 1983 action A short (13 page) step-by-step outline to a Title 42 Section 1983 Civil Rights complaint written by the Utah Federal Court
  • Section_1983_Outline_2012  Complete in-depth guide (181 pages) helping you to understand your rights under the Federal Act Title 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 written by the United States Court of Appeals 9th District
  • Guide for Pro Se Litigants Another full directory (177 pages) to the steps required for a successful civil rights claim against under Title 2 U.S.C. 1983
  • How-to-Write-a-Complaint  quick, easy-to-follow (7 page) booklet from the Public Counsel Law Center as the Federal Pro Se Clinic from the Central District of California











  • SecondAmendment and Domestic Violence
  • Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban
  • FAQ: Gun Rights and Domestic Violence

    Can my gun rights be taken away if I am convicted of a minor crime of domestic violence?

    Yes! Most people know that it is a federal crime to possess a firearm if you have been convicted of a felony. However, it is also illegal to possess a firearm if you are convicted of a crime of domestic violence, even if it is only a misdemeanor. Further, you will not be able to purchase a gun if a criminal background check shows a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction.

    What is a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence”?

    A misdemeanor crime of domestic violence requires that the victim of the alleged crime be an “intimate partner” and that the crime includes – as an element:

    1. the use or attempted use of physical force; or
    2. the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon.
    What is an “intimate relationship”?

    Spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both parents of the same child are intimate partners.

    How long do I lose my gun rights?

    Forever. Once they are gone, they are almost impossible to get back.

    What about a Deferred Judgment and Sentence (DJ&S)

    Defendants in domestic violence misdemeanors are sometimes offered or seek a DJ&S. In this arrangement, the defendant agrees to plead guilty and perform a sentence with the understanding that the case will be dismissed based on future good behavior. Although the law is less than clear, the prevailing opinion among lawyers is that your gun rights are lost until you successfully complete the DJ&S period.

    What if I haven’t been charged with anything but my ex-spouse got a restraining order against me?

    Restraining orders – now known as “protection” orders – can also deprive you of your right to possess firearms, even if you haven’t been charged with a crime, or the crime you were charged with is not a crime of domestic violence. It is illegal to possess a firearm while you are subject to a restraining order which meets the following conditions:

    • It was issued after you had notice, and an opportunity to be heard;
    • It restrains you from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner; and
    • It includes a judge’s finding that you are a threat to the safety of or prohibits the use of force against an intimate partner.

    In Colorado, protection orders that meet these criteria are automatically issued in domestic violence cases. Further, most civil protection orders will also meet this definition, even if no criminal charges were ever filed. If you have been served with a protection order of any kind, you need to refrain from possessing any firearm and consult with an attorney.

    Does this mean that any crime of domestic violence in Colorado will cost me my gun rights?

    Not necessarily. Colorado’s definition of domestic violence is broader than the federal definition. For example, it includes crimes against property when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge. So, it is possible to be guilty of a state domestic violence misdemeanor and not lose your right to possess or use firearms. Here are some examples:

    • Smashing a beer bottle against a wall during an argument with your wife or slashing your husband’s tire is criminal mischief.
    • Yelling insulting things at your spouse in offensively coarse language is verbal harassment.
    • Repeatedly calling your ex-girlfriend on the phone at all hours of the night just to make her angry is telephone harassment.

    On the other hand, if you put your hands on your intimate partner during an argument, you can be convicted of harassment “strike, shove, kick”, a crime that would meet the federal definition. Simply pushing your girlfriend can make you lose your gun rights for eternity because it involves the use of force, even if you don’t mean to hurt her. Likewise, you can meet the federal definition of domestic violence if you threaten to shoot them or otherwise use a deadly weapon, even if you don’t touch them. It doesn’t matter that you would never actually carry out your threat.       (information from a Colorado attorney’s website: )



  • Basics concepts in establishing jurisdiction for interstate child custody cases   Interstate Custody Arrangements – FindLaw
  • In general, if the parties no longer live in the same state, establishing a court’s power to enforce an alimony order can be questionable or difficult  Courts Authority to Order Alimony
  • This is from a series of three articles about parents and children who live in or hope to live in different states. It addresses child support issues for parents who live in different states.    LSNJLAW – Child Support Issues For Parents Living In Different States
  • In 1997, the Uniform Law Commissioners have promulgated a new Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).  It does two very important things.  It reconciles UCCJA principles with the PKPA.  It adds interstate civil enforcement for child custody orders.  The UCCJEA replaces the UCCJA.   The UCCJEA, the UCCJA and the PKPA are necessary because Americans are a mobile people who seldom stay in one state.  Child custody disputes between parents, which arise when there is a divorce or when unmarried biological parents want to have custody adjudicated in a court, are impacted by that very mobility.  When parents and children live and have lived in one state, the courts of that state may take jurisdiction over any child custody matter without question.  But it is common for a parent to live in a different state from the one in which the other parent and the child live.  More than one state may have the power to adjudicate a dispute between them.     Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Summary
  • here is the reason (and cases) as to why the Federal courts ignore all divorce, alimony and child support cases:   “ Federal courts have historically applied a domestic relations exception to limit their jurisdiction, refusing to entertain cases otherwise within their diversity jurisdiction.   In Ankenbrandt v. Richards, the Supreme Court traced to Barber v. Barber the origin of the doctrine.  Barber held that federal courts had no jurisdiction over suits for divorce or alimony. The Ankenbrandt Court dealt with a tort dispute brought in federal court by a mother against her former husband and his companion, alleging physical and sexual abuse of the couple’s children. The Court found federal jurisdiction of the action since the domestic relations exception specifically served only to “divest . . . the federal courts of power to issue divorce, alimony, and child custody decrees.      24 Other Jurisdictional Statutes Federal Practice Manual for Legal Aid Attorne



USE OF THE UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) in UNITED STATES COURTS