Category Archives: Montana

Montana

More Court Tech: Skype Hearings

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At CourtReference, we’re always alert for advances in court technology. We don’t just mean finding court records; CourtReference has provided links to online court record resources, other court-related resources, and court websites for many years. We’re talking about interaction with the court by actual parties to the case.

Gone are the days when every interaction with the court took place in person. Payment of court fines online was one of the first methods of conducting court business electronically, and now it’s the most common; we covered it here, here, and here.

Once it became so easy … Read More

How to Find Case Records: A Refresher

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Here at CourtReference, we get a lot of questions about court records. People want to know how to go about looking up a divorce record, doing a criminal background check, or looking up a will from the 1800’s.

Of course anyone can just Google “court records” to start the ball rolling. But if Google knows your location (and they do, they do!), the top search results will be for your area – and most of the rest will be for commercial websites that charge a fee to search. That’s why most of our questions are about how to find … Read More

Non-Lawyer Judges: Municipal Courts

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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

Non-Lawyer Judges: Justices and Magistrates

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“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

Bad Check Collection Help

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Bad checks are an expensive and frequent problem for merchants, and even for private individuals on occasion. If you accept a check from someone and it bounces, it may have been an honest mistake; if so, the check writer might re-imburse you as soon as you ask. But if that doesn’t happen, how do you get your money?

It may be difficult, even if you’ve taken the precaution of verifying the check-writer’s identification. You can sue, but that will take a while and cost you time and money in the meantime. To convict the check writer of a crime, the … Read More

What are the candidates spending on their campaigns?

As you well know, there are a number of candidates running for office this year with the presidential and other national races generating the most attention. Every few days there are stories or reports about candidates including campaign financing and spending.

The Seattle Times ran an article on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, entitled, “Ron Paul done spending on primaries,” by Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times. The article stated that Ron Paul had announced that he would stop spending money on the Republican party’s 11 remaining primaries, effectively ending his campaign. One day later, on Wednesday, May 16th, Ron Paul’s campaign … Read More

Services for Crime Victims

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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

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

A New Way to Use a Lawyer: Limited-Scope Representation

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For anyone facing involvement with the legal system for the first time, thoughts may immediately turn to lawyers. We’ve already addressed such questions as “Do I need a lawyer?” and “Can I get a lawyer for free?” and we covered lawyer referral services as well.

For those who don’t want to “go it alone” but don’t qualify for free services and can’t afford complete representation, there is another option. Limited-scope representation – also known as “unbundling” or “limited-assistance representation” – is growing in popularity. You and your lawyer agree to split up the tasks involved in … Read More

What is the “assessed value” of your home?

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As you know, real estate values have declined in recent years. Are you wondering about the value of the homes in your neighborhood? One way to check the value of your property or the property down the street is to review the “assessed value.”  Although the assessed value of property is not the same as the appraised value or market value, it can be useful for comparison purposes.

All states have a system for establishing the value of land and buildings referred to as the “assessed value.” The “assessed value” is used for the purpose of calculating property taxes. Property … Read More