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
Guns are in the news lately. The USA is a big country with a lot of guns, some of which are used to kill large numbers of people, generating news reports. Some are used in confrontations that become high-profile trials, generating more news reports.
From Newtown CT to Sanford FL, the headlines have driven debate about guns and gun violence. The debate in turn drives more headlines about guns – so guns are in the news. But in the USA, guns are always in the news. Although the Sandy Hook school shooting and the George Zimmerman trial make headlines, guns … 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
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
Problem-Solving Courts – also known as Accountability Courts – are programs developed by many court systems to impose treatment plans and other forms of rehabilitation on some criminal offenders who would otherwise face jail time and the stigma of a criminal record. They reduce the judicial system caseload and the prison population while helping offenders with drug, mental health, and similar problems. We covered Mental Health Courts in April 2008, Drug Courts in October 2008, and Veterans Courts in January 2011.
Family Dependency Treatment Courts are another type of Accountability Court, and they’re different in that their treatment plans include … Read More
Recognizing that the most influential people in a teenager’s life are often peers, Seattle is adding its first Youth Traffic Court, set to convene for the first time this month. The court will be staffed entirely by Garfield High School students, who will serve as judge, jury, attorneys, bailiffs and court clerks. The students have all received training in these positions from Seattle University law students.
Any Seattle driver younger than 18 who admits to the traffic violation he or she is accused of may appear in Seattle Youth Traffic Court. Following the philosophy of restorative justice, the teen … Read More
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
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
When we think about going to court, the first people that usually pop into our heads are the judge in a robe, the bailiff with a badge, an attorney arguing for each side, and maybe a sketch artist for dramatic, high-profile cases. People like the Court Clerk may seem foreign. Administrative officials, however, are often the first line of contact the public has with the courts, and can often provide information and assistance for free.
Whether you are looking for court records, want to file a new case, or need information on when a hearing will be or where to … Read More
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approximately 41% of all traffic deaths in the U.S. were alcohol related in 2006. Drunk driving is a major issue in our society, and many states have, and will continue to invest a lot in cracking down on drunk drivers. Further statistics show that in 2006, 1.46 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. As such, drunk-driving cases could compose a major portion of the court records in your state.
In the United States, every state has a statute, or law, that … Read More