Here at CourtReference, we’ve quite familiar with the court systems in every state. Unless you have business with courts in many different states, you may not be aware of how different court systems can be from state to state.
The basic structure is not so different; each state usually has a trial court in which the parties argue both the facts and the law in front of a judge or jury. The judge decides how to apply the law, and the judge or jury decides which facts are true and which are not – in other words, which party … Read More
We talked about about the different types of courts you might find in different states here, including the difficulty of figuring out which local court handles your type of case (and the fact that CourtReference helps you figure that out). If you know the name of each court in your area, you can go to CourtReference and see what types of cases that court handles.
But just knowing the name of a court may not always be enough, depending on where you live. For example, you would think that a “Municipal Court” would have jurisdiction over a particular municipality… Read More
We talk about lawyers a lot on this blog, including how to complain about your lawyer. What if you have a beef with the judge? That may seem like a stretch; sure, you can complain about the lawyer you hired, but you didn’t hire the judge. Even so, if a judge takes an action that could be considered to be unethical, misconduct, or evidence of mental or physical incapacity, there are ways to complain.
The American Bar Association (“ABA”) has adopted a Model Code of Judicial Conduct that establishes general rules for judges to follow. In a nutshell, … Read More
State trial court systems don’t change their structures often. Most are established by state constitutions, although some are established by acts of the state legislature. Some states have a mix of both; a prime example is Texas, which has both “Constitutional” County Courts (one in each county) and “Statutory” County Courts (commonly called Courts at Law; from none to many in each county, depending mainly on the county’s population). Given the difficulty of changing a state constitution, and the contentiousness present in most state legislative actions, it’s easy to see why court systems are generally left alone.
Texas actually … 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
If you are interested in researching your Arkansas family history, you will happy to learn that death records are now accessible online. In a press release submitted to Business Wire on December 3, 2012, the Arkansas Department of Health announced the launching of a brand new online death certificate search and ordering service. This new service makes genealogical research more convenient than ever. Previously, death certificates could only be obtained by requesting them in person at the Department of Health or by submitting a paper request form.
Death certificates from 1935 to 1961 are currently available, but in the … Read More
Do you have a loved one that is missing? Has your loved one recently gone missing or have they been missing for years? You may not be aware of the U.S. Department of Justice’s national centralized repository and resource center for missing persons known as “NamUs.” The “National Missing and Unidentified Persons System” is a free online website that can be searched by the medical field, law enforcement and the general public. The website includes three separate databases, which are described below.
The “Missing Persons” database contains information that can be entered by anyone and will … Read More
With the Trayvon Martin case, including the recent second degree murder charges against George Zimmerman making national news, violent crime is at the forefront of the nation’s consciousness. The Martin/Zimmerman case has raised questions about who the true victim really was. Although we may not know the answer to that question until the case has been resolved, unfortunately there are thousands of crimes committed every day, leaving victims to deal with the aftermath. Often there is so much focus on the perpetrators of crime that the victim gets somewhat left behind by court systems. However, more and more courts are … Read More
Marriage records are an important vital record which can provide a wealth of information regarding the bride and groom as well as their families. A marriage record contains information about the bride and groom; including the date of marriage, place of marriage, the names of the mothers and fathers, and sometimes even the people who witnessed the marriage. With the exception of a few states, marriage records are generally considered as public information. Marriage records can usually be obtained from a county clerk, auditor, health agency, or probate court. Some agencies allow for online searching of their marriage records.
The … Read More
Specialized courts, whether separate entities or divisions of other courts, handle specific types of cases. They are designed to dispense justice efficiently by maintaining expertise in a particular area, following a procedure tailored to their subject matter, collaborating with other government agencies, or a combination of these approaches.
Specialized courts may be set up not to simply to determine guilt and punishment, but to arrange and supervise treatment for people with mental health or substance abuse problems. Examples of these “accountability” or “collaborative” courts are Drug Courts, Mental Health Courts, and Veterans Courts.
Other specialized courts may … Read More