« November 2010 | Main | January 2011 »

December 29, 2010

Modifying Child Custody Orders

custody.bmpCustody of minor children is a major issue in many family law cases. Custody orders may be issued by the district or juvenile court. Custody may be established by the court as a separate action or as part of a number of different types of cases, including divorce, paternity, protective orders, or neglect and dependency.

Sometimes parents find it necessary to ask the court to modify an existing custody order. A custody order can be modified if the court determines that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the the controlling order was made and that the change in custody would be an improvement for and in the best interest of the minor child.

Information and forms for modification of child custody are now available on the court website.

New Book: The Citizen's Almanac

citizen'salmanac.jpgAs a Federal Depository Library, we receive many resources for new citizens. One book we've recently received is The Citizen's Almanac, which is presented to those who become U.S. citizens.

In it, you'll find summaries of key historic documents, quotes from U.S. Presidents about citizenship, and descriptions of famous U.S. Supreme Court decisions. One interesting section is about the history of patriotic anthems and symbols. The Pledge of Allegiance, for instance, was first recited by schoolchildren on October 12, 1892.

An earlier edition is available online. Or, visit the law library or a Federal Depository Library to read it in person.

December 27, 2010

Wireless Password: sprig

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of December 27, 2010 is sprig.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

December 22, 2010

2010 U.S. Census & Utah

1930census.jpgOn December 21, 2010, early 2010 census data, including population figures, was released and Utah's population has grown enough since the last census to gain an additional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, increasing that number to 4. The last time this happened was in 1980, when the number of representatives went from 2 to 3.

Now that Utah will have 4 members in the U.S. House of Representatives, it is up to the Utah State legislature to determine how Utah will be redistricted. A previous proposal for redistricting under a 4-person representative scheme is found on the legislatures' redistricting page.

Census data has been gathered every 10 years in the United States since 1790 under authority of the U.S. Congress. The 1790 Act authorized marshals and their assistants to take a census beginning the first Monday of August in 1790 and gave them 9 months to complete their task. The U.S. Census Bureau has information online about each decennial census taken since 1790 and 2010 census information is available here.

New United States Code Title

US Code coverThe United States Code, which has been codified and published into fifty titles since 1926, will soon see a change. H.R. 3237, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama this month, will add a new title to the U.S. Code: Title 51, National and Commercial Space Programs.

Prior to this law, laws about space programs appeared throughout the U.S. Code, such as in 15 U.S.C. §5801 et seq. (Commercial Space Competitiveness), and 49 U.S.C. §70101 et seq. (Commercial Space Transportation). Previous attempts at enacting this title were made by H.R. 4780 introduced in the House of Representatives on December 18, 2007, and H.R. 3039 introduced in the House on June 22, 2005.

To see a table showing which sections from the current U.S. Code are moving to the new Title 51, see the House Committee on the Judiciary's report on this bill.

December 20, 2010

December Holiday Hours

Poinsettia.jpg The Law Library, and all Utah State Courts, will be closed on Friday, December 24 and Friday, December 31. Regular court hours remain in place Monday through Thursday both of the last weeks of December from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wireless Password: reeds

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of December 20, 2010 is reeds.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

December 16, 2010

Court of Appeals Briefs

The library has received 28 Court of Appeals briefs. The docket numbers range from 20080956 to 20091011 (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 the briefs and email them to you.

Laws on Food Donations

fooddonations.jpgEach year around the holidays, many Utah residents donate food to organizations which collect food for needy families. Donations are generally accepted at food banks, local businesses and schools, or even online, as in the case of the Virtual Food Drive sponsored by the Community Action Food Bank (serving Utah, Wasatch, and Summit counties).

Laws about charitable food donations can be found at Title 4, Chapter 34 of the Utah Code. These laws authorize the donation and inspection of donated food, limit the liability of donors acting in good faith for injuries resulting from donated food, and prohibit the resale of donated food items.

Are you hoping to donate to a food bank in your area? Check out the Food Banks of Utah listing by county.

December 15, 2010

New Utah Judge Confirmed

ct mtns.jpgThe Utah State Senate yesterday voted to confirm Julie Lund (Third District Juvenile) to replace Judge Sharon McCully as a new Utah State Court judge.

For information about Judge Lund, check out Governor Herbert's news release announcing his nomination. After the governor makes his nomination, the Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee convenes to discuss the character and fitness of the nominees. The audio recordings, agenda and committee reports are available online. To find committee recordings and reports about Judge Lund, select the December 8, 2010 meeting date.

In this case, the committee gave a favorable report to the senate, so Judge Lund's name was forwarded to the entire senate, which met yesterday, December 14, in the 2010 13th Extraordinary Session to vote on the governor's nomination. The audio recording and related materials are also available online.

December 13, 2010

Wireless Password: quags

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of December 13, 2010 is quags.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

December 09, 2010

New Motion Forms

motions.jpgWe get a lot of requests for motion forms in the law library.

A motion is a mechanism for asking the court to order something. The requests range from asking for more time to dismissing the case, from waiving filing fees or the 90 day waiting period in a divorce to granting a default judgment ... and many other topics.

There aren't specific forms for every possible type of motion, but now there is a new Motions page on the Utah State Courts' website people can use as a guide to draft their request to the court.

The Motions page includes information about motion practice before Utah judges and commissioners, examples of types of motions, forms for filing and for responding to a motion, and links to other resources.

Power of Attorney: Take the Online Tour!

Do you have questions about delegation of parental rights? Or as a guardian, if you can delegate your authority of an incapacitated adult to someone else? The Courts' website on Delegation of a Parent's or Guardian's Authority has a lot of information about this type of power of attorney, and recently we added an online narrated tour that answers many questions about the process involved in delegating authority.

We will be adding more online narrated tours soon. If you haven't already seen it, we also recently updated the Finding Legal Help tour. This five minute audio tour shows you how to search for an attorney based on location, subject area specialty, and languages spoken. It also explains how to locate legal clinics in your area, and points out free or low-cost alternatives to retaining a lawyer.

To view either of the narrated tours, you'll need Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer. Download it here.

December 07, 2010

Airport body scanners

Airport_security_02.JPGNew airport security measures, such as the Advanced Imaging Technology body scanners, are making headlines everywhere, especially during this holiday travel season. Whether you support or disagree with the use of body scanners, airport security has an interesting legal history.

The Transportation Security Administration was created in 2001 after the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center as part of the Aviation and Security Transportation Act. It is a division of the Department of Homeland Security. The 9/11 Commission Report, published in 2004, recommended that the Congress and TSA improve passenger screening checkpoint security.

In the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, Congress implemented these regulations, authorizing a pilot program for advanced screening technology at a minimum of five airports by March, 2005, and established funding for this program (Section 4014).

The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 ordered additional funds for checkpoint screening establishing a Checkpoint Screening Security Fund (see 49 U.S.C. §44940(i)). The law also stated that the TSA should be screening 100% of all airline cargo should be screened no more than three years after enactment (see 49 U.S.C. §44901).

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorized $1 billion to the TSA for checkpoint screening technologies, $700 million of which was used for developing and implementing body-imaging scanners.

For more information on airport body scanning technology, see Changes in Airport Passenger Screening Technologies and Procedures: Frequently Asked Questions, a Congressional Research Service report on the topic.

To submit comments or complaints about the airport body scanning technology, you can submit them through the TSA Complaint Form.

December 06, 2010

Wireless Password: prune

keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of December 6, 2010 is prune.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

December 02, 2010

Utah Session Laws Now Available Through Pioneer

lawsofut.JPGPioneer, Utah's Online Library, now includes the complete collection of the Laws of Utah starting with the very first legislative session of the territorial legislature in 1851. The session laws are fully searchable and browseable.

If you have ever had to do Utah legislative history research you know what a huge addition this is to Utah's online legal research collection. See the Legislative History section of our Utah Legal Research page for more legislative history resources.

The session laws database is available thanks to the work of the Utah State Library and legal publisher W.S. Hein & Co.

Pioneer databases are only available to Utah residents, so you will need a Utah public library card number in order to access this database.

December 01, 2010

The End of Mailed Paper Tax Forms

taxforms.jpgThe IRS recently announced that it will no longer mail paper tax forms and instructions to individuals and businesses. This is being done because of the growth in electronic tax filing and to cut costs.

In the past we've told you about agencies that provide tax preparation assistance and where tax forms can be found online. If you do not have internet access at home, visit your local public library or visit us at the Utah State Law Library for help printing tax forms from the web.

Paper copies of tax forms will still be made available at some public libraries, IRS offices and post offices.