March 27, 2019

Location of a Litigant

There is generally no geographical limitation for a participant in litigation. For example, assume there is a pending probate case in Santa Clara County Superior Court. 

The litigant could live in San Jose, the city where the probate court in Santa Clara County is located. Or the litigant could live in Campbell, a city located in the same county as the superior court, i.e. Santa Clara County. Or the litigant could live in Santa Cruz, a city located outside of Santa Clara County but in California. Or the litigant could live in Winnemucca, a city located outside of California but in the United States. It is in Nevada in case you are wondering. Or the litigant could live in Salzburg, a city located in Austria.

All of these locations do not preclude a litigant from participating in a case.

Moreover, a person confined to a fixed location for a set amount of time can still participate in a case. For instance, being an inmate at a California penitentiary is not an insurmountable impediment for a litigant. Obviously there are inherent obstacles, both literally and figuratively, if a litigant is residing in a correctional facility. Still, the fact that the litigant is an inmate does not bar the inmate from participating in a lawsuit. A recent unpublished appellate decision said as follows "Appellant Rodney E. Keim appeals the probate court's order denying his petition requesting an accounting of the Rodney E. Keim Trust" and then later "Rodney Keim is serving a life sentence at California Medical Facility in Vacaville, California." The case originated from El Dorado County Superior Court, case # PP20150156. Mr. Keim's appeal was unsuccessful in case you are wondering. 

While Mr. Keim's appeal was unsuccessful, not every appeal by an incarcerated litigant reaches the same fate. A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision came from the appeal of a Florida inmate whose petition to the high court was written on prison stationery. His name was Clarence Gideon and a defendant's constitutional right to counsel in criminal cases came from his case, Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963).