Category Archives: Vermont

Vermont

How Many Courts?

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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

Court System Changes: Consolidation

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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

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

Another Specialized Court: Environmental Court

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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┬ámay 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┬ámay … Read More

The New Gun Debate

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This past week, there was a very sad story in the news about a deadly school shooting in Germany where over one dozen people were killed. Over the past few decades, America has had it’s own share of grief over fatal school shootings such as Columbine, Northern Illinois University, Virginia Tech, and many more. While many countries have used gun violence as a rational for tightening gun laws, for the most part, the debate in America continues. While many can hardly deny the validity of the rights given from the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution (the right to … Read More