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A New Look for CourtReference.com

April 28th, 2016 · No Comments

We’ve made it easier for you to find the court-related information you need on CourtReference.com. When you search for your local court information on CourtReference.com, you will select a county; then CourtReference.com will display a page containing a list of all the courts in that county, along with contact information for each court.

Until our recent re-design, each court’s information was followed by three links: an “Online Resources” link, a “Map This Court” link, and a link containing the name of the court. If you didn’t know what those links meant – or didn’t realize they were links, even though they were bold and underlined – you might not click on them. By not clicking on them, you would miss out on a full page of links to resources related to that court (“Online Resources”), a map and directions to the court (“Map This Court”), and the court’s own website (the name of the court, bold and underlined).

Now those links are gone, and all you see is the name of each court followed by its contact information. But now the only instance of the court name is bold and underlined – the only obvious link for that particular court. When you click that link, CourtReference.com now displays a page containing the court contact information plus an obvious link to the court’s website (“Website”) if it has one, plus a map to the court, plus a link to “Directions” to the court if the map is not sufficient, plus all of the links to related resources on the same page.

An easy example is the first county in the first state, alphabetically: Autauga County, Alabama.

  • Start at www.courtreference.com
  • In the “Select a state below to get started” list, click “Alabama Courts” and you’ll be taken to our main Alabama page
  • In the “Directory of Alabama Courts by County” drop-down menu (or from the list of counties at the bottom of the page), select “Autauga” and you’ll be taken to our main Autauga County page

… and you will see all of the trial courts in Autauga County, along with their contact information. Interested in Prattville Municipal Court? Just click the bold/underlined Prattville Municipal Court link, and you’ll be taken to the Prattville Municipal Court page containing everything related to just that court: contact information, map and directions, and all related links.

We think this will make it easier to locate the information you need about each court. You won’t have to figure out what “Online Resources” means, or why the court name is displayed twice. Please note that some of our earlier blog posts, such as:

suggest clicking “Online Resources” to be taken to links to court records and other resources. Now you don’t have to do that; just click the court name and everything you ever wanted to know about that court is in one place.

→ No CommentsTags: Alabama · Courtreference.com · Finding Court Records · News

Legal Help for Seniors

January 29th, 2016 · No Comments

Many businesses and government agencies give special treatment to people over a certain age. That age limit is usually around 60, 65, or somewhere in between. If you’re a “senior”, an “elder”, or otherwise in that category, you can usually get discounts from private enterprise on things like meals, hotels, and movie tickets. From the government, you can get a lifetime pass to National Parks for only $10.

When it comes to the justice system, seniors don’t get any breaks. If you’re accused of a crime, or sued for damages, the law only cares about your age if you’re a minor. However, in keeping with the cultural propensity to give seniors a break, many public and private agencies have programs to help seniors navigate the justice system.

Lawyers themselves may specialize in cases affecting seniors; after all, many legal issues are especially relevant to seniors. Examples include wills and estates, elder abuse, age discrimination, health care, health insurance, and end-of-life issues. There is even a National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys that helps seniors find an attorney who specializes in one or more of these areas; it also provides information about various legal topics of interest to seniors.

For seniors who can’t afford a lawyer, public and private resources are available to help. Most legal aid agencies – these are private nonprofit organizations; see our blog posts here and here – provide legal assistance and information for seniors as part of their overall programs. Legal aid agencies may be found in every state and most counties. Just a few examples of those which specifically include senior issues are California’s Orange County Legal Aid SocietyOhio Legal Services,  and Berrien County Legal Services, serving Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties in Michigan.

Some areas even have a legal aid agency that specializes in senior issues. Some are regional, such as Maine’s Legal Services for the Elderly, Ohio’s Pro Seniors, Pennsylvania’s Senior Law Center, and West Virginia’s Senior Legal Aid.

Other specialized senior agencies are county-wide or regional, such as the Jewish Association Serving the Aging’s Legal Services for the Elderly in Queens, New York. California has its San Luis Obispo County Bar Association Senior Legal ServicesSanta Clara County Senior Adults Legal Assistance, Stanislaus County Senior Adovcacy Network, and Elder Law & Advocacy in San Diego and Imperial Counties. New Jersey has its Camden County Bar Association Legal Advice for Seniors program. In Texas, the Tarrant County Bar Association offers an Elder Law Handbook.

In the public sector, most state Attorney General offices and many local prosecutors’ offices provide information about senior issues, although they do not provide legal representation or advice. Some examples include the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, New Jersey’s Burlington County Senior Citizens Legal Services Program, Pennsylvania’s Delaware County District Attorney’s Office Senior Victim Services, the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, and the Washington Attorney General’s Office.

You can find the most up-to-date links to these and many other sources of legal help for seniors at CourtReference, in our “Self Help and Legal Research” or “Legal Aid and Lawyer Referral” categories.

→ No CommentsTags: California · Courtreference.com · Free Legal Help · Maine · Maryland · Michigan · New Jersey · New York · Ohio · Pennsylvania · South Dakota · Texas · Washington · West Virginia

More Court Tech: Skype Hearings

October 30th, 2015 · No Comments

At CourtReference, we’re always alert for advances in court technology. We don’t just mean finding court records; CourtReference has provided links to online court record resources, other court-related resources, and court websites for many years. We’re talking about interaction with the court by actual parties to the case.

Gone are the days when every interaction with the court took place in person. Payment of court fines online was one of the first methods of conducting court business electronically, and now it’s the most common; we covered it here, here, and here.

Once it became so easy to admit your guilt and pay your fine online, it was only a matter of time before some courts allowed you to fight your fine online; we covered an example of that here. Further expansion of online and e-mail options in Washington (arguably the high-tech capital of the world) included not only parking ticket cases, but also traffic tickets, other minor infractions, deferral and mitigation requests, anti-harassment orders, and even small claims case filing.

Filing of court papers by attorneys has been possible for years, but some courts now allow – some even require – electronic filing by parties without an attorney. We examined e-filing of court papers here and here.

Parties’ court appearances by telephone have been allowed by some courts in some cases for several years. But telephones are so “2000″ – now some courts allow video appearances. What could be next, after telephonic and video appearances? Hmmm … could it be SKYPE? Of course it could, at least if your appearance is in Missoula Municipal Court (click the “Preparing for Court” link on that website) in Montana, and your offense doesn’t potentially involve jail time. Skype appearances are also permitted in some juvenile dependency hearings in California’s Santa Clara Superior Court. That same court is about to also start permitting Skype hearings in some family law mediation proceedings.

What’s next? Court hearings by telepathy? Don’t laugh – technology happens fast. Keep checking CourtReference, and this blog, for new developments.

→ No CommentsTags: California · Court Systems · Courtreference.com · Montana · Technology · Washington