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Litigants who appear in court pro se against adversaries who are represented by counsel usually lack any real ability “to prove or defend their cases,” an acting Supreme Court justice told a hearing in White Plains yesterday convened by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman on the need for more civil legal services funding for the poor. Justice Anthony A. Scarpino Jr., who is also a Westchester County surrogate, said there is a strong temptation for judges to give special guidance to pro se litigants, though judges are bound to remain unbiased. Pro se litigants, he said, “are expected to appear before us and maintain the same level of representation as competent counsel, which is pretty ludicrous.”

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