Monthly Archives: August 2008

Learn About Your Ancestors Through Public Records

Where did you get those long legs, that big nose, or that insatiable desire to conquer the world? Often the key to finding those answers lies with our ancestors. As the old saying suggests – you need to know where you came from to know where you ‘re going €œ knowing our roots can help us understand ourselves and even prepare for the future.

One of the best ways to find information about your ancestors is through genealogy research. Genealogy research is way to learn about your ancestors and the history of your family by researching certain types of records. … Read More

The People You Should Know In A Court Setting

If you are involved in a legal case, there are numerous people in numerous legal roles that could have a major role in your case.  As such, today I dedicated this article to looking at who these people are, and what they do.  Below, I take a look at some of the key roles of those involved in legal proceedings.

Judge:  A judge is the person who presides over the court matters.  There are many different types of judges, and they can either be appointed or elected. Judges are also responsible for writing their opinions, called Court Opinions, once a … Read More

What Is Superfund? Why Should You Care?

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Superfund is a reference to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). The law was created in eighties in response to an environmental disaster discovered in a working class Niagara Falls neighborhood called Love Canal. 21,000 tons of toxic waste was buried beneath the neighborhood that consisted of homes and school.

After the Love Canal incident, CERCLA was enacted by Congress to help protect people from exposure to toxic waste sites. Superfund grants authority to the federal government to clean up toxic substances that pose a risk to people’s health or to the environment. Typically, when there is … Read More

Understanding Court Documents

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To begin a legal proceeding, the initiating party (plaintiff) must file a pleading called a Summons and Complaint.  In that one sentence, there is a lot of legal jargon which many people may not understand the full meaning of.  If you are representing yourself in a lawsuit, or if you are just interesting in understanding court document, it is important to start at the beginning.

Starting The Lawsuit
A Pleading is a document that in a legal proceeding which asserts or responds to an allegation, defense, denial, or claim.  When a lawsuit is initiated, one party must go to court … Read More

Court Records Basics – what you need to know first.

Locating court records can be a complicated process for anyone who is not familiar with the courts being searched.  Before beginning any attempt to research court records, one should have a clear idea of what is being sought:

  • What type of court cases need to be found?  Court records can be found in many different courts depending on the type of case.  Criminal and traffic records might be found in several different courts depending on the severity of the charge, the age of the defendant, the type of charge, and other factors.  Likewise, civil cases are usually handled by different
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Are There Drugs In You Neighborhood?

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The war on drugs is still raging and it is happening closer to us than many of us realize. There may even be sources of drug production in our own communities. It is a frightening reality. Not only do we have to worry about the existence of drugs, but there is also the concern about the manufacturing of drugs. Clandestine Drug Registries can show where drug laboratories may have been lurking in our own neighborhoods.

Clandestine drug laboratories are labs used to produce illegal drugs. The people working in these labs are often using chemical techniques to produce various drugs … Read More

Criminal Cases vs. Civil Cases

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Criminal Cases vs. Civil Cases

What is the difference between a civil case and criminal case? Two of the fundamental differences include the nature of the act being addressed and who initiates the legal action.

In a criminal case, the lawsuit is brought by a government entity, including federal, state, and local governments because crimes are typically considered as an act against society.  A prosecutor, on behalf of the government brings this lawsuit against the person accused of a crime. As such, when viewing a criminal court records, the title may say something like “State vs. John Doe.”   The legal … Read More

Voter Registration and Election Records

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Are you registered to vote? Who’s running for what office? Where do you go cast your ballot, and when? These are all important questions in the democratic process of voting and elections. The United States grants every citizen over the age of 18 the right to vote. Thanks to laws such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we also have the right to view records and other information related to the election process.

Voter registration records will typically contain information that you provided when you registered to vote. This information can include address, name, and date of birth. Voter … Read More

Child Custody Cases and Records

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Going through the divorce process can be a very difficult time.  There are many things to think about, such as property division, alimony, and the end of relationship.  One thing that can make the divorce process even more difficult is when children are involved.   One of the most important decisions to make during a divorce process involving children is child custody.

There are different types of custody that can involve the child or children.  Legal custody allows a parent to make all decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and general up bringing.  For example, legal custody allows the parent to … Read More

Two Big FOIA Rulings Made By The Michigan Supreme Court

This month the Michigan Supreme Court ruled on two issues that could have a serious influence on the rights provided through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As with most FOIA cases, the issues of privacy vs. access to information engaged in battle. In this round, it appears the privacy won. Many have called these decisions a “blow to the FOIA.

Both decisions involved public universities. The first decision involved state employee contact information. A case brought against the University of Michigan by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan for being refused access to certain employee information. In that … Read More