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May 31, 2010

Wireless Password: olive

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of May 31, 2010 is olive.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

May 27, 2010

PACER Website Redesigned

PACERimage.JPG We recently blogged about changes to the fees for PACER, the federal court system's online records database. Now PACER's website has just been redesigned.

Frequently used links such as registering for a new account are accessible at multiple points on the home page. Answers to frequently asked questions and important news updates are now more prominently displayed. There are also helpful resources for PACER users, such as a guide to case type codes and a user manual.

One new feature announced recently by PACER is the availability of digital audio recordings online. These digital recordings are a fraction of the cost of obtaining a CD at a court clerk's office.

PACER is a subscription service, but you can use it for free at the Federal Clerk's Office of the U.S. District Court for the State of Utah at 350 South Main Street in Salt Lake City.

May 26, 2010

Library Closed on Memorial Day

2179841898_d33a2df4d5_t.jpgThe library and all Utah State Courts will be closed on Monday, May 31 in observance of Memorial Day.

According to Federal law, Memorial Day is a legal public holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday of May. See 5 U.S.C. Ā§ 6103. In 1950, Federal law changed the date of celebration from May 30 to the current date. However, some states continue to hold Memorial Day celebrations on May 30.

For more information about the origins of Memorial Day, check out the Department of Veterans Affairs' website and the Library of Congress' page called "Today in History: May 30."

May 24, 2010

Wireless Password: nutty

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of May 24, 2010 is nutty.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

May 21, 2010

June Classes

columnsHere is the list of free classes the Utah State Law Library is offering in June:

Small Claims Basics
Thursday June 3rd, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Collecting a Judgment Basics
Thursday June 10th, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Court Website & State Law Library Basics
Friday June 11th, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Guardianship of a Minor Basics
Thursday June 17th, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Landlord-Tenant Basics
Thursday June 24th, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

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

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

May 20, 2010

A New Supreme Court Nomination

supremecourt.jpgLast year we blogged about the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice John Paul Stevens has announced his retirement and President Obama has nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace him.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, which conducts the nomination hearing before the Senate confirmation, will be posting all nomination materials online.

Since the Senate Judiciary Committee also conducts hearings for Executive Branch nominations, you can also read all the nomination materials related to her 2009 confirmation as solicitor general. These include transcripts of speeches, interviews, and letters from various individuals and organizations supporting her solicitor general nomination.

Want to learn more about Elena Kagan? The Law Library of Congress has recently created a legal resource guide about Ms. Kagan, including links to law review articles she authored, transcripts of solicitor general arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, and links to C-SPAN videos.

May 19, 2010

United State Courts' Website Redesigned

fedct.jpgThe Federal Courts' website was recently redesigned to be more user friendly and to make it easier to find information about the courts. For example, now it's much easier to find out which states are included in what districts using the interactive court locator map. While the older version of the site hosted some video, now all multimedia is grouped together so you can easily locate photos, podcasts and video in one place.

New enhancements include easier ways to stay up-to-date with Federal Court information through RSS feeds and customizable email delivery service. The new website also includes links to easily research court rules and amendments.

What do you think of the new Federal Courts' site?

May 18, 2010

New Self-Help Resource: Parent Coordinator page

A new self-help resource page has been added to the Utah State Courts' website: the parent coordinator program is designed to assist parties who need need to resolve parenting issues, such as establishing a parent time plan or resolving conflicts not covered by the parent time plan.

The parent coordinator page describes the parent coordinator's duties, how to find a parent coordinator and how parent coordinators are paid. Also included are the forms to request and respond to a parent coordinator request and the forms that are completed by the parent coordinator. The parent coordinator is appointed by the court either on the court's own motion or by motion of either party (even if there is no stipulation for the appointment). The program is similar to mediation but the parent coordinator has special expertise. While this program is not mandatory, if there is a court order for the parents to work with a parent coordinator, then the parties should follow the order.

Parent coordinators are governed by the Rule of Judicial Administration 4-509.

May 17, 2010

Wireless Password: mango

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of May 17, 2010 is mango.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

May 14, 2010

New Book: Immigration Law: A Primer

As part of the Federal depository program, the Utah State Law Library recently received the new monograph Immigration Law: A Primer, published by the Federal Judicial Center. It provides an overview of immigration law, including lawful immigrant categories, admission procedures and the grounds for deportation. The primer also includes citations to pertinent case law. For example, in the asylum and refugee law section, the author cites cases that define "persecution," and cases that provide examples of how and when a foreign nation's actions did or did not constitute "persecution." The book also includes a glossary and table of cases.

This publication is also available as a free download through the Federal Judicial Center.

May 13, 2010

National Bike to Work Week


Do you own a bike? Have you ever thought about biking to work or to run errands near your home?

May 17-21 is National Bike to Work Week, designated to raise awareness of the benefits of biking for daily routines such as commuting to work.

Events are going to be held throughout the state, including Park City, Salt Lake City, Orem, and Provo.

Interested in learning more about biking? Visit Utah Government Publications Online to find hundreds of government and state agency resources about biking in Utah, including:

May 10, 2010

Wireless Password: leeks

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of May 10, 2010 is leeks.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

May 07, 2010

New Utah Laws Effective May 11, 2010

statecapitol.jpegHundreds of the state laws passed during the 2010 General Session go into effect May 11th. According to legislative rule JR4-1-203, all bills become law 60 days after the adjournment of the legislative session unless otherwise directed. Here is just a small sample:

  • HB 16 Parent-time AmendmentsĀ 
  • HB 21 Expungement revisions
  • HB 81 School Employee Criminal Background Check
  • HB 197 Custodial Interference Amendments
  • HB 202 Fireworks Amendments
  • HB 206 Ban on Sale of Smoking Paraphernalia to Minors
  • HB 364 Right of Identify Theft Victim to Civil Cause of Action.
  • SB 32 Rainwater Harvesting
  • SB 45 Utah Fit Premises Act Amendments
  • SB 145 Medical Malpractice Amendments
  • SB 278 Homeowners' Association Amendments

You can read all the new laws, and read laws passed since 1998, at the Utah State Legislature's Passed Bills page. Select a legislative year from the drop down menu to see bills passed that year.

May 06, 2010

New Book: Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court

smallclaims.gifThe Utah State Law Library recently received the newest edition of Nolo's Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court. This 13th edition has been updated to include the latest small claims procedures in each state and Washington, D.C. However, note that in the Utah section, the book incorrectly lists district court as the place where small claims cases must be filed. In Utah, you can also file a small claims case in justice court. To learn more about where to file a small claims case, visit the Utah State Courts' page on Small Claims.

As in previous editions, the book provides tips to help you decide if you have a good case, how to sue different types of defendants, getting ready for court, and collecting your judgment. Even more helpful are the sample letters and court pleadings, which include a demand letter, appeals statement and request for payment.

As always, no book can take the place of a lawyer, nor is it intended to provide legal advice. If you want to speak with a lawyer about your case, consider attending a free legal clinic.

May 04, 2010

New Book: The Complete QDRO Handbook

qdro.jpg The Utah State Law Library recently added The Complete QDRO Handbook: Dividing ERISA, Military, and Civil Service Pensions and Collecting Child Support from Employee Benefit Plans to its collection. This 2009 publication discusses how to draft Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO), a list of common mistakes, and tips to avoid them. This is a practical manual for attorneys, pension plan and child support agency administrators, as well as judges. It includes a sample letter to request disclosure of benefits information, a model document discovery request and model interrogatories and depositions.

Library books do not circulate* but you are welcome to read this book at the library. You'll find it in our treatise section. Can't make it into the library? You can order the book directly from the American Bar Association.

*Only court and state agency staff may check out materials from the law library.

May 03, 2010

Wireless Password: kebab

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of May 3, 2010 is kebab.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.