Lately there have been a disturbing number of news reports about mentally-ill people being shot by police. The need for better training of police to deal with the mentally ill has been amply covered by other blogs. But mentally-ill people who survive their encounter with law enforcement have a chance for better treatment from the court system – and that’s where this blog comes in.
Back in 2008 we touched on two different aspects of court procedure involving people with mental health problems. A court system’s involvement with a mentally ill person may occur when the person is facing involuntary … Read More
Drug courts are specialized, court-administered programs designed to provide treatment options for addicted offenders in the criminal justice system. There are over 2800 drug courts operating in all 50 states and U.S. territories; more than half serve adults with substance addiction and dependency. Other drug courts treat juvenile, veteran, and tribal offenders (as well as other targeted populations), but for the purpose of this article we will focus on adult offenders.
The first drug court was established in 1989 in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Courts there and elsewhere determined that the era’s popular “war on drugs” policies were failing to impact … Read More
Last month we discussed judges (Justices of the Peace and Magistrates) who are not required to have law degrees, and whose courts have jurisdiction over areas larger than a city or town. Judges of city, town, village, and other municipal courts in many states are also not required to have law degrees or be practicing lawyers. These judges only have geographical jurisdiction over their own municipality, and in many states their subject-matter jurisdiction is limited to violations of the municipality’s ordinances.
We reviewed New York’s Town Courts and Village Courts in a 2010 post; with over 1200 such courts, … Read More
“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
Generally when we hear about state attorneys general in the news, it is because they are suing tobacco companies, or defending high-profile state laws in court. But state attorneys general (“SAGs”) can also be a good resource for guidance on everyday legal issues. SAGs are tasked with providing legal protection to their state’s residents, which means pursuing big lawsuits sometimes, but also providing guidance on issues such as consumer fraud, elder abuse, and victims’ rights.
The websites of various SAGs provide a variety of resources. The Arizona SAG site, has a section on what to do about annoying telemarketers … Read More
Courts designed to help non-violent offenders who have substance abuse or mental health problems have been around for several years. See our blog posts about Mental Illness Case Information from April 2008 and Drug Courts from October 2008. The idea behind these courts is that incarceration is not likely to fix substance abuse or mental illness, but that people with these problems can be successfully treated and kept out of the criminal justice system. Treatment is significantly cheaper than incarceration and has a better chance of reducing recidivism.
Aside from their special focus, these courts don’t use the same adversarial … Read More
The Superior Court in Maricopa County, Arizona has a feature available in it’s public access to court records called case notification. This feature allows a registered user to flag cases of interest such that when changes occur on the flagged case, the user will be notified via email that there has been an update to the case. The email will provide a link for the user to log in to view the recent changes. An individual must be registered to use this system and can flag up to 20 cases for tracking. Currently this system is only in place … Read More
If you are involved in a lawsuit, you (or your attorney) will likely need to file many documents with the court. This can include an initial summons and complaint as well as various motions and notices requesting actions from the court or opposing party. All these filed documents can add up to piles and piles of paper. Furthermore, whenever a paper is filed with a court, this requires the filer to go down to the courthouse in person to present the document to the clerk of court. Although this is a tradition that is mostly accepted as a part of … Read More
According to many sources, the divorce rate in America is approximately 50%. It is a staggering number, especially when you consider that many of these cases, there is often a correlated draining legal component. While the length of a divorce proceeding will vary from case to case and state-to-state, one constant nagging portion of the divorce procedure is the splitting of property. One of the most controversial property division laws occurs in community property states. States that follow these laws include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
Two important words to understand in the division … Read More
I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t turn the nose up at the thought of paying taxes. As we write out our checks to the taxman, it’s easy to feel a little frustrated. Taxes are just one of those necessary evils that we collectively love to hate. However, there are instances, when there is a need to fight against amount charged for taxes, or the penalties incurred for non-payment. For these types of situations, the United State federal government and many individual states provide Tax Courts.
State Tax Courts deal strictly with state and local tax issues, while the … Read More