Site Overlay

The Rules—How to Legal

Marinka Peschmann's How to Legal --The Justice System's Rules.
Where to find the rules for non-lawyers so you won’t be deceived by fake news, defamation, politics, or…
There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.   — Baron de Montesquieu

Welcome back to How to Legal. At How to Legal, you’ll learn how to use the good side of the Internet to combat the dark side in this online era of fake news and defamation.

In this installment, we’ll learn about the justice system’s rules and …

Remember, don’t burn out when you How to Legal. There’s a lot of information in these next two installments. Pace yourself. You can always bookmark How to Legal, scroll down to what interests you, and come back later and learn more.

Thank you for being a part of the solution to the fake news crisis by becoming informed.

Okay, let’s do this.

The definition of civil

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll be focusing on the rules of civil procedures, but the rules governing criminal procedures may be similarly found online.

For starters, let’s separate civil law from criminal law.  You can find the legal definitions at

“Civil” according to is:


1) that part of the law that encompasses business, contracts, estates, domestic (family) relations, accidents, negligence and everything related to legal issues, statutes and lawsuits, that is not criminal law. In a few areas civil and criminal law may overlap or coincide. For example, a person may be liable under a civil lawsuit for negligently killing a pedestrian with his auto by running over the person and be charged with the crime of vehicular homicide due to his/her reckless driving.

Assault may bring about arrest by the police under criminal law and a lawsuit by the party attacked under civil law. 2) referring to one’s basic rights guaranteed under the Constitution (and the interpretations and statutes intended to implement the enforcement of those rights) such as voting, equitable taxation, freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly.

Generally these are referred to as “civil rights,” which have required constant diligence and struggle to ensure and expand, as in the Civil Rights movement between 1950 and 1980. Violation of one’s civil rights may be a crime under federal and/or state statutes. Civil rights include civil liberties. Civil liberties emphasize protection from infringement upon basic freedoms, while statutory rights are based on laws passed by Congress or state legislatures.

Criminal law

those statutes dealing with crimes against the public and members of the public, with penalties and all the procedures connected with charging, trying, sentencing and imprisoning defendants convicted of crimes.

Sometimes we can be intimidated by words we don’t know and understand. Considering we did not go to law school why would we know legal jargon? We wouldn’t, but we can learn. is a helpful and reliable legal resource that anyone can use to learn about the justice system. You can also use it to translate “legalese” – legal speak.

Legalese” is “slang for the sometimes arcane, convoluted and specialized jargon of lawyers and legal scholars.”

Thanks to the good side of the Internet and reliable, open-source legal resources like, you can easily translate legalese.

Learn the justice system rules so you won't be deceived by fake news. Civil procedure

Marinka Peschmann's How to Legal

How to find the Rules of Civil Procedure

The Rules of Civil Procedure are the rules that apply to civil proceedings. 

While the Rules of Civil Procedure and the Rules of Evidence are similar nationwide, there are nuances, (some differences), in every jurisdiction, including Federal Court versus State Court.  Rules can also be amended. So check the dates to make sure you are reviewing the latest version in the jurisdiction where the case you are following is being heard.

By doing a simple Google search you can find the federal rules here: Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence.

To learn the differences between state and federal, the Virginia Wesleyan University provides an excellent breakdown to help you understand the differences. This breakdown is similar in other states, but there may be slight differences so make sure you are looking in the right place, at the right court, in the right state or district.

Court’s website

If there’s a specific case you want to learn more about; or you’re a pro se (self-represented) party; and/or you want to save on legal fees and do some heavy lifting yourself, court websites have a ton of information you can use.

You can also find the rules the parties must follow when they litigate in that court at that court’s website.

These rules include the local rules, the judge(s) personal rules (sometimes called practice guidelines or the like), self-represented/pro se rules, attorney rules, and various forms and boilerplates litigants need to use. 

So hypothetically speaking, let’s say you had questions about a hyper-politicized case in Arizona (linked above), and you wanted to know more, you would go to that court’s website to find the rules for that court.

To demonstrate, below is a screenshot from the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona’s website. This is a Federal Court. The green arrows are mine. I added them for clarity so you won’t miss any rules. As you can see, a court’s website gives you a plethora of information to learn How to Legal.

Arizona court federal website-legal education. Marinka Peschmann's How to Legal. The Rules
The Rules: Arizona Court Federal website.

How to find the differences between State Rules versus Federal Rules

So let’s break this down further. You can locate Arizona’s state court rules at Arizona’s state courts. This applies to other jurisdictions.  To demonstrate:

See, for example, U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota (Federal); South Dakota Unified Judicial System (State);

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas (Federal); Arkansas Judiciary (State);

Southern District of New York (Federal); Eastern District of New York (Federal); New York Courts (State) and so on and so on.

The United States Court’s website is a one-stop website to find links to all the U.S. District Courts (Federal) websites, including the appeals and bankruptcy courts.

Cornell Law School’s Legal Learning Institute (the good side of the Internet) has conveniently put the different state rules of civil procedure (procedure is sometimes called “practice”) in one place. You can click here to look them up.

The process of a civil lawsuit

To simplify the civil process for non-lawyers, Idaho’s legal aid created a PowerPoint guide that I think did a great job of breaking down the process of a civil lawsuit.   This process is similar in other states and districts, but remember every state has its own rules, so there may be some slight differences. Just be sure you are looking at the location and at the court where the case is being heard.

Wow, yes. There are lots of rules in the justice system but don’t despair, get overwhelmed, or frustrated, because in upcoming How to Legals I’ll show you, as a nonlawyer, a quicker way to familiarize yourself with the legal process.

On that note, this is a good place to take a music break. Stretch, move around, dance. Remember to pace yourself when you How to Legal. For me, my music pick is Alicia Keyes, “The Underdog.” What about for you? See Alicia Keyes’s official website.

Why are there so many rules in the justice system?

The Michigan Courts – One Court of Justice nicely sums up the reasons why the justice system has so many rules:

“The Michigan Rules of Court are the rules adopted by the Michigan Supreme Court to govern Michigan’s legal system and the judges, lawyers, and other professionals who are charged with preserving the integrity of that system. The purpose of the Court Rules is to establish uniform rules and procedures for all levels of Michigan’s court system. These regulations ensure that cases are resolved without undue delay and that those who appear in court receive due process and equal treatment under the law.” 

Michigan Courts-One Court of Justice

This summary would be similarly applicable in other states.

As demonstrated above, if the rules are not followed a person does not receive due process, or equal treatment under the law, and cannot obtain due justice. 

Oath-breakers rob innocents of due process. They give bad actors a free pass to keep doing whatever they were doing. Oath-breakers are dangerous as they undermine the integrity of the justice system while chipping away at democracy.

Democracy cannot survive without an independent justice system with integrity.

Okay, that was a lot of information to take in. You are doing great if you made it this far! Let’s wrap up.

I hope this information and the legal resources you can use will help empower and liberate you from fake news and political gamesmanship.

Now you know where to go to see what’s going on regarding the courts and the U.S. justice system. 

The more you learn about the legal system, the more you will have an appreciation and respect for the oath-following officers of the court who faithfully follow the rules, stand firm against corruption, and hold their oath-breaking colleagues accountable.

Why rulings with oath-breaking judges are being vacated

Rulings with oath-breaking, rule-breaking judges are being vacated to preserve the integrity of the justice system.

Update: See: The Wall Street Journal’s, “131 Federal Judges Broke the Law by Hearing Cases Where They Had a Financial Interest,” and Reuter’s “Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench.”

* James V. GrimaldiCoulter Jones, and Joe Palazzolo of Wall Street Journal, and Reuter’s Michael Berens and John Shiffman broke the above stories.

See also: Coulter JonesJoe Palazzolo and James V. Grimaldi, “Federal Judge Files Recusal Notices in 138 Cases After WSJ Queries Rodney Gilstrap initially argued he didn’t violate financial-conflicts law,” Wall Street Journal, Nov. 2, 2021.

Now can you see why there are so many rules in the justice system?

I hope so.

Next up:  How to Legal: Judges & Lawyers Oaths, Codes & Rules.

Dance and move around when you How to Legal
Second from the left, How to Legal’s writer and creator. :-)

Signing off with another music break. Time to get up and move around. Your back and neck will thank you.

This time, for me, it’s Kate Bush’s, “Running up that hill.” (Kate Bush’s official website).

None of the information on this website is legal advice.  While I have litigated as a pro se defamation plaintiff, I am not a lawyer. This information is for educational purposes and to serve as a public service to help combat fake news against ethical judges and innocent people.

If you need legal advice, please consult with a licensed professional in your area.

If you learned something and would like to show support you may send donations here. Thank you! If you are stressed out by fake news, real news, or for any reason, check out Stuff for Stress and some merch.

Marinka Peschmann's The Break Free from Media Echo-Chambers 30 Day Challenge

ARE YOU STUCK IN A MEDIA ECHO-CHAMBER, or know someone who is, and needs help breaking free? Take The Break Free from Media Echo-Chambers 30-Day Challenge. 

There are problems on both sides of the political aisle and real problems that need to be fixed. Acting on fake news creates more problems that need to be fixed.

Available in paperback and hardback at Amazon.

Lastly, if you see any typos or mistakes, kindly send me an email so I can fix them. Thank you.