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June 30, 2009

July Holiday Hours: Independence Day

The Law Library, as well as all Utah State Courts, will be closed Friday, July 3 in honor of Independence Day.

The 4th of July became a designated Federal holiday in 1870. Today it is a legal public holiday that many State and private employers also recognize as paid vacations for employees.

To read about historical Independence Day celebrations, check out the Library of Congress' Today in History page.

June 29, 2009

July Classes

columnsOur July class list is here!

Small Claims Basics
Thursday, 7/9, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Topics include the small claims process, Rules of Small Claims Procedure, small claims forms, an overview of collecting a judgment and appealing a small claims case.

Resources for People Representing Themselves in Utah's State Courts
Friday, 7/10, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Introduces the resources available for people representing themselves in court, including how to find an attorney, legal clinics, forms, the Online Court Assistance Program and other resources. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Utah State Law Library introducing the print and electronic resources available.

Westlaw Basics
Tuesday, 7/14, Noon-1 p.m.
How to search for case law, statutes, and other information using specialized search techniques. You will also learn about the various options for printing and saving.

Guardianship of a Minor Basics
Thursday, 7/16, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Topics include who can be a guardian, why you might want a guardianship, the difference between a guardianship and conservatorship, the rights and responsibilities of a guardian, how to request a guardianship appointment, and how to terminate a guardianship appointment

Landlord-Tenant Basics
Thursday, 7/23, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Basic rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, as well as provide a description of the eviction process.

All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

To register for these free classes call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

Wireless Password: saber

The wireless password for the week of June 29, 2009 is saber.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

June 26, 2009

Advance Health Care Decision Making

Planning ahead for physical and mental incapacity is an important issue for all of us. Utah law provides suggested forms and instructions for advance health care directives and the appointment of an agent to make health care decisions for an adult who loses the capacity to communicate. You can link to Utah’s forms and more information at http://aging.utah.edu/utah_coa/directives/ , or directly from the court website at http://www.utcourts.gov/howto/seniors/#Advance.

The Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services provides information and forms about advance health care decision making including a very useful Tool Kit that helps people think through their wishes and how to express them in meaningful ways. Go to http://www.hsdaas.utah.gov/advance_directives.htm

Utah law also provides for a mental health directive to help people with mental illness plan ahead for such tough decisions as commitment to treatment and medications. Go to more information on the Nami Utah Web site at http://www.namiut.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=62&Itemid=52, or view Utah’s laws and sample Declaration for Mental Health Treatment form at Utah Code 62A-15-1001 to 1004, http://le.utah.gov/UtahCode/section.jsp?code=62A-15.

On the national front, the Secretary of Health and Human Services sent a comprehensive report to Congress this week entitled “Advance Directives and Advance Care Planning.” The report, requested by Congress in 2006, focuses on (1) the best ways to promote the use of advance directives and advance care planning among competent adults as a way to specify their wishes about end-of-life care; and (2) addressing the needs of persons with disabilities with respect to advance directives. You can link to the report at http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/2008/ADCongRpt.htm. It includes an excellent literature review on every aspect of advance care planning, analyses of key ethical and legal issues, and a discussion of opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of advance care planning and advance directives.
The report is particularly timely as health care reform is in the public policy forefront, and several bills are pending in Congress regarding advance care planning and improving care near the end of life.

Web 2.0 for Utah Lawyers

Utah Bar Journal coverThe May/June issue of the Utah Bar Journal has an article by our own Mari Cheney describing Web 2.0 tools for Utah attorneys.

Mari explains the difference between blogs, Twitter and other social networking tools, and provides links to resources. Read all about it!

June 24, 2009

New Book: The Employer's Legal Handbook

EMPL_icon.gifWe've just received the latest edition of The Employer's Legal Handbook.

This Nolo book covers topics including hiring, personnel practices, wages and hours, employee benefits, taxes, family and medical leave, health and safety, illegal discrimination, workers with disabilities, termination, employee privacy, independent contractors, and unions.

Our Law Books for Non-Lawyers handout lists other self-help books we have in the library.

Many public libraries carry Nolo titles - check your local library catalog.

June 23, 2009

The United States Code

US Code coverThe official U.S. Code is completely republished every 6 years, with annual supplement volumes published between editions. The complete 2006 edition is now available from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

The official U.S. Code is notoriously slow to be published, as you might have guessed from the news that the 2006 edtion has just been completed. As a Federal Depository Library we receive the paper copy of the U.S. Code, but our 2006 set is not yet complete.

Bluebook rules require citation to the offical U.S. Code whenever possible, but researchers rely on commercial annotated versions - U.S. Code Annotated (USCA) from West, or U.S. Code Service (USCS) from Lexis - for current federal law.

The U.S. Code is also available online from a variety of sources:

  • The official U.S. Code (1994-2006 editions) are available from the U.S. Government Printing Office website.
  • The U.S. House of Representative's Office of the Law Revision Counsel provides the official U.S. Code back to the 1988 edition.
  • Cornell University's Legal Information Institute website provides an unofficial version based on the U.S. House of Representative's website, and provides a "How Current is This?" feature which helps you figure out when the section you are looking at was last updated.

June 22, 2009

Wireless Password: radio

The wireless password for the week of June 22, 2009 is radio, which is the same password as last week.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

June 19, 2009

New Court of Appeals Briefs

We have received 30 new Court of Appeals briefs. The docket numbers range from 20060432-CA to 20080690-CA (list not inclusive).

If you're looking for a specific brief, contact the library by phone (801-238-7990) or email to make sure we have it. If you can't come in to make copies yourself, we offer a document delivery service for 25¢ per page and will scan and email the briefs to you.

Who Can I Represent?

You can represent yourself in court if you choose to but you cannot represent another person. For example, you can represent yourself in your own divorce but you cannot represent your friend in her divorce. Most businesses are legally "persons." Therefore, you cannot represent a corporation, partnership or other business entity. For example, the manager of an apartment building cannot represent the property owner in an eviction. That would be representing another person. If the property is owned by a business, then the business must be represented by a lawyer because the business itself is a "person." If the property is owned by a natural person, then the owner can represent herself or himself.

A parent or guardian can "appear" on behalf of a minor child or protected person, which means the parent takes the place of the child as the real party in interest, but usually a parent or guardian cannot "represent" a child or a protected person. In juvenile court, you can ask the judge for permission to represent a child or protected person. And in a petition for a child protective order any "interested" person may represent the child.

For the special rules about representing a party in a small claims case, see our webpage on Small Claims. For more information on what it means to practice law, see Rule 14-802. Authorization to practice law. And see our webpage on Self-Help Resources for more information and forms if you are interested in representing yourself.

The 2008 CIA World Factbook

2008-front.jpgDid you know that the Cayman Islands have an estimated 17,000 cellular phone lines in use? Or that Indonesia has 652 airports? You can learn these and other facts about each country in the 2008 CIA World Factbook, which we recently received in the law library.

The World Factbook has a fascinating history. It was first an annual supplement to the CIA's National Intelligence Survey. In 1962, the first classified Factbook was published, and the first unclassified version was published in 1972. It became available to the public in 1975.

The Factbook lists each country in alphabetical order, and each country's entry is divided into several sections including Geography, People, Government, and Economy.

You can browse the CIA World Factbook on the CIA's website.

June 17, 2009

Supreme Court Nominations

Front of Supreme Court BuildingPresident Obama recently nominated U.S. District Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Confirming a Supreme Court Justice is a historic event. Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constution states in part: "[The President] shall have power . . . by and with the advice and consent of the Senate . . . [to] appoint . . . judges of the Supreme Court . . . ."

It is U.S. Senate's responsibility to confirm Judge Sotomayor's nomination. Her nomination hearing starts July 13, and the hearings will be available via webcast.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has information about the nomination process, including its history. You can learn more about the nominee by reading the mandatory bipartisan Committee Questionnaire, which a nominee must answer and return to the Commitee before nomination hearings begin.

Want to get an idea of what may happen at a Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearing? GPOAccess has links to full text hearings from 1971-present.

Additional information about Judge Sotomayor and the confirmation process is available from the Law Library of Congress' website.

June 15, 2009

The 2009 First Special Session

On May 20, the Utah State Legislature met for a special legislative session and passed seven bills that same day. Governor Hunstman signed all seven bills into law the following day.

One bill directly related to the Courts was Senate Bill 1002, which amends Utah Code 45-1-101 to include publishing legal notices on a "website established by the collective efforts of Utah's newspapers." See S.B. 1002. Beginning January 1, 2010, if you are required to publish a legal notice, it must appear on the website created by Utah's newspapers. Currently, Utah Legal Notices, maintained by the Utah Press Association, pulls legal notices from many of the state's newspapers. Watch the site for updates and changes while the newspapers in Utah get ready for this publication requirement.

Wireless Password: radio

The wireless password for the week of June 15, 2009 is radio.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

June 12, 2009

New Forms: Waiver of Divorce Education Requirements

Utah law requires divorcing parents to attend a divorce orientation class and a divorce education class before the judge will sign a divorce decree.

Attendance of these classes can be waived by the judge in some circumstances. Information and all the forms needed to ask the judge to waive the required classes are now available on the court web page on divorce. The forms are also found in the online divorce program (OCAP).

New Forms: Waiving the 90-Day Waiting Period in Divorce Cases

Utah law requires that parties wait 90 days after filing a divorce petition before a divorce decree can be granted. This waiting period can be waived by the court for good cause. And, the waiting period does not apply to parents who attend the Divorce Education and Divorce Orientation classes.

The forms to ask the court to waive the waiting period are now available for easy download on the court web page on divorce. In addition, forms are now available to oppose the waiver of the waiting period. The waiver forms may also be found in the online divorce program (OCAP).

New Web Page and Forms: Filing Fees and Fee Waivers

clip_image002.jpgThere's a new web page explaining filing fees and fee waivers. All forms required for asking the court to waive filing fees are available on this page as well.

There are usually fees that you must pay whenever you start a lawsuit by filing a complaint or petition. You can ask the judge to waive the fees but you must prove to the judge that you cannot pay them.

You can also link to the fee waiver web page and forms by going to "Forms and Instructions" on the Self-Help Resources webpage.

June 08, 2009

Wireless Password: quite

The wireless password for the week of June 8, 2009 is quite.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

June 05, 2009

Getting to the Matheson Courthouse

Traveling to the Matheson Courthouse? Parking and travel information have recently been added to the Courts' website, including a virtual map: just enter your start address and you'll get driving directions.

If you're looking for directions to another courthouse, click on Court Contact Information and select the Court you want to visit. Under each Court address, you'll see a link to "View Map," which opens up a map with the location of each courthouse. At this screen, enter your start address to get driving directions.

June 02, 2009

New Book: Every Tenant's Legal Guide

We've just received the latest edition of Every Tenant''s Legal Guide.

This Nolo book provides an overview the rights and responsibilities of tenants.

Our Law Books for Non-Lawyers handout lists other self-help books we have in the library.

June Classes

Our June class list is here!

1) Small Claims Basics, Thursday, 6/11, 4:30-6 p.m.
2) Resources for People Representing Themselves in Utah's State Courts, Friday, 6/12, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
3) Guardianship of an Adult Basics, Thursday, 6/18, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
4) Landlord-Tenant Basics, Thursday, 6/25, 5:00-6:30 p.m.

All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in W-19.

To register for these free clasess call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

June 01, 2009

Wireless Password: perch

The wireless password for the week of June 1, 2009 is perch.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.