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
Since most people go through most of their lives without interacting with the court system, it can be confusing when one is suddenly forced to interact with that system. Imagine that tomorrow you discover you have a legal problem. “Do I need a lawyer?” may well be your first reaction. The easy answer for any legal problem is yes, you should talk to a lawyer, even if the lawyer then says you don’t really need a lawyer. But you don’t know any lawyers – this being your first encounter with a legal problem – and lawyers cost money. Maybe you … Read More
It’s getting easier to conduct court business online. Court systems haven’t been as quick to set up online transactions as, say, banks or booksellers. Yet it’s not new; see our 2009 blog posts What is E-Filing and Paying Court Fines Online. And it’s getting better.
Take electronic filing of court documents: More and more court systems are adding this capability. New Jersey even has mandatory electronic filing for some types of cases. But court-run electronic filing is not expanding fast enough to satisfy the demand from law firms looking efficiency. In response, a number of private companies now offer … Read More
Are you experiencing legal trouble and unsure of how to proceed? Do you need a lawyer but think you cannot afford one? You might be surprised at the number of free or low-cost legal services available in your state and how easy it is to find them through CourtReference.
Legal aid and legal referral services may be offered by state government, county government, or private organizations. Some agencies offer general legal services, such as help with most non-criminal matters. Others offer specialized services for a group of people, such as senior citizens or victims of domestic violence, or a … Read More