Category Archives: California

California

Looking for a Map?

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Do you need a map of the State, County or City where you live? Are you looking for a current map or a historic one of your area? You may be surprised by the number and types of maps available online. Most States offer standard maps such as road maps, crime maps, legislative district maps, and others. However, many States offer other useful maps including historic maps.

For instance, Utah’s “Geologic Survey Maps,” include geologic maps, geologic hazard maps, ground water maps and topographic maps. Alabama’s “Air Photo Maps” available by County includes views by location … Read More

Missing Persons

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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

Court Rules

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Every court has specific rules that must be followed by all parties. Lawyers who regularly practice in a given court are very familiar with the rules of that court. They often know the rules so well that they don’t have to look them up. But you have to look them up. Even if  you are representing yourself in court – known as appearing pro se (Latin for “for oneself”) – you will be expected to follow those rules. That means you’ll first have to find them. Fortunately, most court rules can be found online.

State court systems have statewide rules … Read More

Subpoenas: Compelling Your Appearance

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We all know that you have to show up in court if you are a party to a case being tried – i.e, if you are the defendant in a criminal case, or the plaintiff or defendant in a civil lawsuit. But if you are just a witness, do you also have to show up in court?

The answer is yes, if the judge or one of the attorneys thinks your testimony is important. The court will issue a subpoena, which is a document commanding your appearance in court to testify as a witness. In some cases, the … Read More

Does the City of Sacramento Owe You Money?

Did you know that the City of Sacramento is currently holding nearly $2 million in unclaimed property? These unclaimed funds consist of uncashed vendor checks that had not been cashed in three or more years, as well as utility billing account balances that were not requested to be refunded when a customer closed their account. Maybe you or someone you know could be owed a share of this money. But, under California Government Code Section 50050-50056, the city will get to keep this unclaimed money if the rightful owners do not make their claim soon.

In an article titled “Sacramento … Read More

What Is A Conflict Defender?

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Few people have ever heard the term “conflict defender” and fewer still could guess what it means. But it can be an important term for some criminal defendants who cannot afford a lawyer.

Last month we discussed Public Defenders, who provide criminal defense services to indigent defendants. Anyone facing possible loss of liberty is entitled to a free court-appointed lawyer if he or she can’t afford to hire one. A Public Defender’s Office is often the source of the court-appointed lawyer. However, the Public Defender’s Office may not be able to take the case if it presents a conflict … Read More

Seattle Adds Youth Traffic Court

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Recognizing that the most influential people in a teenager’s life are often peers, Seattle is adding its first Youth Traffic Court, set to convene for the first time this month. The court will be staffed entirely by Garfield High School students, who will serve as judge, jury, attorneys, bailiffs and court clerks. The students have all received training in these positions from Seattle University law students.

Any Seattle driver younger than 18 who admits to the traffic violation he or she is accused of may appear in Seattle Youth Traffic Court. Following the philosophy of restorative justice, the teen … Read More

Public Defenders, Assigned Counsel, and Other Ways Indigent Defendants Get A Lawyer

If you’ve watched more than a handful of crime dramas on TV, you’re familiar with the Miranda warning given when someone is arrested. The exact words may vary a little from state to state, but it’s usually very close to this:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in court. You have the right to an attorney, and if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights guarantees (among other things) that no person may be compelled … Read More

Law Librarians Are There For You

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So you need to do some legal research for a court case in which you’re representing yourself, or you want to look up a particular local statute, or you simply want to read the court’s opinion for the interesting case you just heard about on the news? Now that you know about the existence of your local public law libraries to meet these needs, how do you get started? It can be intimidating to walk into a law library is you are not a law student or a member of the legal profession.

This is where law librarians come in. … Read More

Access to Marriage Records

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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