Monthly Archives: January 2013

How’s the Air Quality in your State?

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Have you ever noticed a haze in your area and wondered if it’s just fog or unhealthy smog? Smog can be created by a weather condition known as a “temperature inversion,” where the cool air in a valley is trapped by a layer of warmer air above. Temperature inversions prevent the normal release of emissions into the atmosphere thus trapping pollutants at ground level. According to an article by Paul Foy, of The Associated Press, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found the greater Salt Lake City region as having the worst air in the nation during the month … Read More

Non-Lawyer Judges: Justices and Magistrates

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“Justice of the Peace” is an imposing title. Almost like Justice of the Supreme Court? Not quite; A Justice of the Peace presides over a court of limited territorial and subject-matter jurisdiction, and is addressed as “Judge” more often than “Justice”. Justices of the Peace were originally English quasi-judicial officers who volunteered to preserve the “king’s peace” in their local county or borough. Important qualifications for the position were land ownership and connections with the monarchy (and later, with the Lord Chancellor and Parliament).

American colonists brought the Justice of the Peace system with them, and it persisted throughout the … Read More

Can you fire your Public Defender or Court-Appointed Attorney?

If you have been charged with a crime that may result in incarceration and you cannot afford an attorney, the court will offer you legal representation.  Depending on the jurisdiction, a public defender or court-appointed attorney will be assigned to represent you.  Whether a public defender (a paid government lawyer who represents indigent defendants) or a court-appointed attorney (a private practice lawyer hired by the court to represent indigent defendants on an ad hoc basis), both are licensed practitioners in your state.  Regardless of the type of advocate appointed, the attorney will act as your legal counsel.  But what happens … Read More

Controversy over Published Gun Permit Records Continues

A newspaper in suburban New York has received nationwide attention and criticism after publishing an interactive map that lists the names and addresses of gun permit holders in Rockland and Westchester counties. The Journal News sought this information following the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and was obtained legally under New York’s Freedom of Information Law.

The release of these records has ignited heated debates all across the country. While some readers appreciated the information, others believe that it was an invasion of privacy and fear it could also endanger gun permit holders. In an article titled “The Journal … Read More