Category Archives: Washington

Washington

Juvenile Records – Sealing or Expungement

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In our July 2008 post about juvenile court records, we noted that most juvenile court records are confidential. This is done to protect the juvenile, on the theory that juveniles are more prone to bad decisions than adults (i.e., they do “dumb things”), but that they can be rehabilitated. Law enforcement agencies and the court system can see juvenile records, but the general public cannot.

Background checks for the purposes of employment and housing – and sometimes for college admission, financial aid, etc. – are the general public’s main interest in court records. Since most juveniles are not yet … Read More

Voter Information and Upcoming Elections

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With local and statewide elections coming up this month and in April, you may be wondering what is on the ballot, where to vote or how to register to vote . You can get answers to these questions and more by using our “Voter Records and Elections Information Resources” website.

On the main “Voter Records” webpage, click on the name of your state for statewide election information, voter registration, campaign finance, election results, and more. For information at the local level, you can scroll to your specific county, city or town. Some municipalities will have online information and … Read More

Fraud Alerts and Consumer Complaints

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Have you or someone you know been contacted by mail, email or phone with an offer that sounded too good to be true? Are you worried that a senior loved one might fall victim to a fraud or scam? Well, the Washington AARP recently unveiled a new scam notification system allowing people to sign up for AARP fraud alerts available by phone or email. According to an article in The Seattle Times, by Jack Broom, Seattle Times staff reporter, the service will be available to people of any age. AARP Washington worked in conjunction with law enforcement agencies to set … Read More

New Adoption Law in Washington State

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Good news for Washington State adoptees! The State of Washington’s new adoption law (SHB1525) became effective on July 28, 2013, changing the requirements for adoptees to obtain their original non-certified birth certificates.  The law also requires birth parents to notify the State Health Department before July 1, 2014, if they prefer to remain anonymous.

According to Washington State Dept. of Health’s website, beginning July 1, 2014, all adoptees 18 and older will have access to their original non-certified birth certificates unless the birth parent files a “Contact Preference Form” with the State’s Center for Health Statistics. Currently, original non-certified birth … Read More

City of Seattle Crime Statistics – Up or Down?

According to an article published in The Seattle Times, on Thursday, August 15, 2013, titled “Downtown getting safer? Not according to the numbers,” by Lynn Thompson and Justin Mayo, Seattle Times staff reporters, an analysis of the City of Seattle’s online Monthly Crime Statistics map was conducted by The Seattle Times. The crime rates in downtown Seattle have recently been the subject of discussion by the Mayor, downtown business owners and others. The City of Seattle’s crime statistics map displays major crime data by month, year and police beat. Depending on how the data is sorted, the results can vary. … Read More

St. Lucie County, Florida, Launches Permit Inspection Service

Just as new construction is picking up after the economic downtown during the last few years, St. Lucie County, Florida, has launched a new building permit inspection service. The building industry is experiencing growth this year so St. Lucie County’s new service comes at a perfect time. The new system allows residents and contractors to schedule building permit inspections and view inspection results online on its “Building Inspection System” page. Not only does the system make inspection requests easier but all building permit inspections requested prior to 9:00 pm will be scheduled for the next day. The County’s … Read More

How’s the traffic in your area?

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Does it seem that your commute to work has gotten longer? Did you hear about an accident on the radio and wish that you could check the traffic before leaving your home or the office? Using our “Traffic Cameras and Reports Resources” website, you can check your specific state and county for traffic camera websites for your area.

The Alabama Department of Transportation “traffic information and cameras” page includes traffic cameras, major construction projects, road conditions, rest areas, and congestion information. Using Alaska’s “Road Weather Information System” website, you can place your curser over … Read More

Teen Courts

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The American criminal justice system is not always all about determining guilt or innocence and then punishing the guilty. It recognizes that some “bad actors” can be deterred from embarking on a life of crime, and can be given a “second chance” through programs that don’t result in a criminal record. For examples, see our blog posts about Mental Illness Cases, Drug Courts, Veterans Courts, Family Dependency Treatment Courts, and Diversion. These “problem-solving” or “accountability” courts are not actual courts, but special programs that impose treatment, counseling, education, restitution, and community service in lieu of … Read More

Property Values on the Rise?

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Has the value of your property gone up in the last year? According to an article published in The Seattle Times on Friday, March 15, 2013, entitled “Look what’s back in your house now,” property values around the country are on the rise. Depending on where you live, the market value of your home may have risen enough in the last year that you now have positive or break-even equity.

As you know, many property values declined dramatically during the last 5 years. However, according to Federal Reserve data, net equity holdings in American homes have jumped since spring 2011. … 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