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January 29, 2010

Going to Court

The Utah State Courts offers a new webpage to help you prepare for your day in court and to present your claim or defense if you are representing yourself. You will find information about preparing for a hearing, presenting your evidence, and writing up an order for the judge to sign. There are helpful tips about how to find the courtroom, where to stand, how to speak to the judge and others in the courtroom, and how to arrange for disability accommodations or interpreters. And, there are links to other useful resources that can help you be confident about going to court on your own.

January 28, 2010

2010 Legislative Session

capitol winter.jpg The 2010 General Legislative Session began on Monday, January 25. The legislature is in session for 45 days - the last day falls on Thursday, March 11. There are a number of ways you can stay up to date with what's happening during the legislative session.

First, you can listen or watch live to the daily House and Senate floor debates. For live recordings, visit the legislature's home page. Archived recordings are available online for both the House (1990-present) and Senate (1998-present).

Second, you can listen to committee meetings and review committee agendas and related material. Use the main committee page to find the meeting you're interested in following. You can also track upcoming agendas.

Third, use the 2010 General Session page to follow bills, reading calendars and weekly schedules. From the General Session page, you can also read proposed bills from both the House and Senate, read House and Senate Journals, and set up bill tracking.

Photo Credit: Utah State Senate

January 27, 2010

State of...

Two important Utah "State of..." addresses have already been delivered during this first week of the legislative session. Tonight, President Obama delivers the State of the Union address to the nation.

If you missed either Utah "State of..." speeches, you can read them in their entirety online. On Tuesday night, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert delivered the State of the State address to the Utah legislature. Read the text of his speech here. Governor Herbert is required by the Utah Constitution to make an annual report to the legislature about the condition of the state.

justice durham.JPGOn Monday, during the opening day of the legislature, Chief Justice Durham presented the State of the Judiciary address, which is also now available online. The State of the Judiciary address has been presented to the legislature since 1976, the first speech given by Chief Justice Swan. Court rule gives the duty of presenting the State of the Judicary address to the presiding officer of the Judicial Council, who is the Chief Justice, unless she is unable to perform her duties.

Tonight, you can live stream President Obama's State of the Union address or read the full-text version online after the speech. The President is required by the U.S. Constitution to give a report to Congress about the State of the Union - the fact that it happens every year is tradition and not mandated by law. Check out this New York Time's article for a brief history of the State of the Union.

January 26, 2010

National Archives Prohibits Public Photography

nophotography.PNGSome of the most popular tourist attractions in Washington D.C. are the original documents that led to the creation of the United States, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, located at the National Archives. The National Archives and Records Administration will ban personal photography and filming in exhibit areas of the National Archives beginning February 24, 2010. This new rule was announced in the January 25, 2010 edition of the Federal Register.

NARA wants to protect these rare documents from the effects of photographic flash. It is also prohibiting personal filming in response to written visitor logs that demanded it be eliminated. This is in contrast to only three opposing comments from citizens received during the 60 day comment period after the initial announcement of the proposed rule.

In case you can't visit the National Archives before February 24th with your camera, you can always avoid the crowds and view founding documents online at the National Archive's website and learn more about them through their online exhibits.

January 25, 2010

2010 State of the Judiciary

capitol with flowers.jpegToday at 2:15 pm, Chief Justice Christine Durham will present the State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the Utah House and Senate on this opening day of the State legislature.

Listen or watch live; after the speech, you can also read a transcript of the address.

Wireless Password: wraps

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of January 25, 2010 is wraps.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

January 22, 2010

Immigration Law Resources

liberty.jpgThe Federal Justice Center, the research agency of the federal court system, has recently published a new book called Immigration Law: A Primer. In this detailed book you can learn about:

  • the history of U.S. immigration laws
  • how federal courts have determined jurisdiction of immigration cases
  • the different categories noncitizens could be assigned for admission to the United States
  • grounds for deportation
There are 54 immigration courts in the U.S., one of which is in Salt Lake City. If you're interested in learning more about immigration courts, check out information on preparing for hearings before immigration court and appealing cases to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

January 19, 2010

Februrary Classes

columnsOur February class list is here!

Small Claims Basics
Thursday, 2/4, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Topics include the small claims process, Rules of Small Claims Procedure, small claims forms, and an overview of appealing a small claims case.

Collecting a Judgment Basics
Thursday, 2/11, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Topics include identifying a debtor's property, writs of garnishment and execution, exemptions and satisfaction of judgment in civil and criminal cases.

Resources for People Representing Themselves in Utah's State Courts
Friday, 2/12, 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.

Guardianship of a Minor Basics
Thursday, 2/18, 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, 2/25, 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.

January 18, 2010

Wireless Password: video

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of January 18, 2010 is video.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

January 15, 2010

January Holiday Hours: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

mlk.gifThe Law Library, and all Utah State Courts, will be closed on Monday, January 18 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Regular library hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) resume on Tuesday, January 19.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights leader in the 1950s and 1960s. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and was influential in the peaceful protest movement to abolish segregation. To read more about this civil rights leader, check out the Library of Congress' page Today in History: January 15. The federal government also has a site dedicated to MLK Day as a day of service that includes a longer biography.

January 14, 2010

Beware of Haiti Charity Scams

haiti relief.jpgYou have most likely heard about the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed at least tens of thousands of people. Many organizations are soliciting monetary donations to support the relief effort. The Red Cross has already solicited over $3 million through a simple donation method: texting. However, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection has urged Utah residents to beware of unregistered charities that are soliciting donations.

The Division of Consumer Protection reminds Utahns to beware of charity scams by taking the following preventions:

  • Do not reply to unsolicited e‐mail (SPAM) messages and do not click on any links within unknown emails.
  • Be wary of people claiming to be officials who are asking for e‐mail donations.
  • Only open email attachments from people you know. Attachments may contain viruses that can impair your computer.
  • Never give out personal or financial information over the phone or through an email which could result in identity theft.

To ensure you're donating to a registered charity, check out the list of registered and exempt charities available on the Division of Consumer Protection's site.

For continued information on the relief efforts in Haiti, visit the U.S. Department of State or the Center for International Disaster Information.

Photo Credit:

New Book: Children & the Law

children&law.jpg We've added a three-volume treatise to our collection called Children & the Law: Rights and Obligations. These volumes include information on termination of parental rights, adoption, the Indian Child Welfare Act, guardianship, delinquency, education, health care and an appendix of all 50 states' laws regarding the rights and obligations of children.

The treatise also provides an overview of juvenile justice in the United States and a discussion about the judicial process, including voluntary and involuntary removal of children and the state foster system.

Interested in this title? Come to the law library to take a look or contact the law library for a document delivery request.

January 13, 2010

The 2010 Census

census.gifThe new year is a time for many people to make New Years' resolutions. Make it one of your resolutions to get counted in the 2010 Census.

The decennial, or every ten year, census is the official count of all U.S. residents. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. The first census was conducted in 1790. Information collected by the census helps determine how federal funding is distributed for infrastructure and services. Census participation is required under Title 13, Section 221 of the United States Code.

Census questionnaires will be sent to all residences by March 2010, and should be mailed back by April 1st. You can preview the form here.

Census information isn't just important for counting today's population. It can be useful to anyone conducting family history research. Some historic Census records can be found at the Utah State Archives and the Utah State History Research Center. Also, the Utah State Library's Pioneer databases offers Utah library cardholders and residents access to Heritage Quest Online, a database where you can search federal census records from 1790 to 1930.

January 12, 2010

Copy Services for Prisoners

prison.jpg If someone you know is incarcerated and needs law library resources, let them know that the Utah State Law Library provides copy services for prisoners. Our brochure on services for prisoners provides information about copy and mail fees and the type of services we provide. Note that we do cannot do legal research on the prisoner's behalf. If a prisoner is incarcerated at either the Draper or Gunnison prison, we do not charge to mail the request. The only charges incurred are the 25¢/page copying fee.

Our services for prisoners are not limited to Utah. We accept requests from prisoners anywhere.

Be aware that we cannot process requests until the prisoner has enough money in his or her account to cover the costs of copying, and when necessary, mailing costs. We accept payment from prisoners by check. Friends and family may add money to the prisoner's account with cash, credit card, or check. Checks should be made out to the Utah State Law Library.

If you have any questions about this service, contact the law library.

January 11, 2010

Wireless Password: ultra

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of January 11, 2010 is ultra.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

January 08, 2010

This week in Utah history

STATEHOOD0001.JPGOn Saturday, January 4, 1896, U.S. President Grover Cleveland officially signed a Joint Resolution, at 29 Stat. 461 (pictured), announcing Utah as the 45th state. The official inauguration of state officials occurred two days later.

There are several educational websites about Utah's earliest days. One is Utah's Road to Statehood, created by the Utah State Archives. Here you'll read about the earliest political parties formed, learn about the 1895 Constitutional Convention, and see scanned historical documents from the Statehood celebration, including pictures of letters sent to the new Utah Governor Heber Wells.

Another great resource is Utah History to Go, created by the Utah State Historical Society. This encyclopedia of all things Utah has articles on Utah's struggle for statehood and early statehood life.

Historic newspapers provide a unique view of events from the time they occurred. The University of Utah's Digital Newspapers database lets you search a variety of Utah newspapers and date ranges. You can also narrow your search to a specific newspaper. The Library of Congress' free Chronicling America database lets you search and view articles from several newspapers in Utah and other states.

January 06, 2010

New Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill

Would you know how to handle your legal and financial matters if you, or a loved one, became seriously ill or injured? Planning ahead and understanding what steps to take to get your affairs in order are important issues for all of us. An extremely useful and informative free guide is now available.

The Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill explains seven key steps in a brief, clear way while offering additional tips and resources for readers looking for more detailed information and guidance. The Guide is a project by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging commissioned by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

The newly released guide is a valuable resource providing critical tools that help readers understand their options, make informed decisions, and find resources concerning paying for health care, long term care, patient rights, benefits, property ownership, legal tools such as powers of attorney, wills, trusts, and more.

The free guide is available online.

January 05, 2010

Texting & Driving Illegal in Utah

texting.jpg Utah is one of 19 states that has banned texting while driving. Utah's law was only recently enacted during the 2009 legislative session and is found in the Utah Code at 41-6a-1716. At this time, Utah has not banned the use of all hand-held devices, so unlike at least six other states, talking on your cell phone is still permitted while driving in Utah.

Text messaging is defined in Utah law as "a communication in the form of electronic text or one or more electronic images sent by the actor from a telephone or computer to another person's telephone or computer by addressing the communication to the person's telephone number." Utah Code 76-4-401. In some narrow instances, texting while driving is permitted, such as during a medical emergency.

To read statistics associated with texting while driving, and other state laws, check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website Distraction.gov.

January 04, 2010

Wireless password: theme

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of January 4 is theme.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.