It’s been a while since we’ve discussed electronic filing of court documents, so it’s time to note some recent “e-filing” developments. Our original 2009 post provides a good introduction to the process, and the reasons it’s being implemented. In a nutshell, filing court documents electronically saves time, money, and paper. Instead of typing up a form from scratch – or completing a fillable PDF document online and printing it out – all the work is done on your computer. Instead of then delivering that paper document to the court clerk, you simply transmit it from your computer. In addition to … Read More
Just a quick update on a new way courts are taking advantage of technology. One of the first and most widely used is online payment of traffic and parking tickets, which we covered here, here, and here. Next up were the ubiquitous red light camera tickets, which can also be paid online.
Since some people don’t want to pay their tickets without a fight, some courts allow tickets to be contested online without having to show up in court. We’ve even seen examples of courts allowing some hearings to be held by telephone or online instead … Read More
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
Businesses, organizations, units of government, even many individuals have websites. It’s no surprise that many courts also have websites. As with any other entity’s website, some court websites are better than others: easier to see what’s there, easier to navigate, with more content.
On some court websites, it’s obvious at first glance how to contact the court by mail and phone, how to search case records and court calendars, how to locate and download the forms you need, and how to pay fines online. An explanation of the court’s process; the types of cases the court handles; and links to … Read More
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
In our earlier post about court calendars, we discussed various types of court calendars and dockets. When using CourtReference to find court calendars and dockets, remember that these are are usually a detailed list of upcoming hearings, with information about the time and location of the hearing and the name of the case or parties; here’s an example from McLean County, IL. Dockets and calendars often include additional details about the case, such as this one from Dane County, WI with a link to each judge’s weekly calendar; each case on the calendar includes a linked case number … Read More
Crime is in the news lately. But as they say in the news business, “If it bleeds, it leads.” – so whether crime rates are up or down, crime is always in the news. Among the crime reports are those in which the accused is a minor, so the reports note whether the accused will be tried as an adult or a minor. But what does that question really mean?
If the minor is tried as an adult, the trial will be in a regular criminal court, and neither the process nor the result will take the accused’s age into … 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
We last discussed eviction procedures in our post about Landlord Tenant Laws back in April, 2008. Now for a brief update:
As noted in the original post, most eviction cases are heard by courts of general jurisdiction, such as Superior Courts or District Courts. Of course specific courts’ jurisdiction varies from state to state, depending on the structure of each state’s judicial system. In a few states, evictions may be handled by local courts of limited jurisdiction.
As if finding which court handles evictions in a given state weren’t difficult enough, the process of kicking out a tenant isn’t even … Read More