Articles Posted in The Judiciary

Judge Wesley E. Brown, is a spry, active 103 year old Federal District Court judge in Kansas. He still hears a full complement of criminal cases, but warns lawyers preparing for lengthly court cases that “he may not live to see cases to completion….” adding “At this age I’m not even buying green bananas.”

For more, see the September 16 New York times article: At 103, a Judge Has One Caveat, No Lengthly Trials by A. G. Sulzberger
For more information about Judge Brown go to Wesley E. Brown Inn of Court. This source includes both biographical information and a videw, made when Judge Brown was just 22 years old!

In his August 31, 2010 New York Law Journal article, Court Rule Altered to Buttress E-Discovery; I-Filing Advances, Joel Stashenko discusses the amended Uniform Rules of Trial Courts of the State of New York as an effort to insure that lawyers keep “up to speed” regarding their clients’ records at the early stages of discovery. The amended rules were published August 18 and went into effect immediately, having been approved beforehand by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and the presiding justices of the four appellate division departments.

Much of this activity has been influenced by a New York court system report, Electronic Discovery in the State of New York, published in February 2010. The key recommendations of that Report includes: establishing an e-discovery work group; improving the preliminary conference; more e-discovery programs in Education and Training; more court attorney referees serving as e-discovery specialists, establishing an institutional presence at the Sedona Conference; and working harder to improve the quality of E-Discovery practice.

On the second front mentioned in Mr. Stashenko’s article, electronic filing of litigant papers is said to be proceeding in New York at a deliberative pace. While more than10,000 lawyers registered for New York’s electronic filing system in 2009, compared to only 300 in 2002, there is , as Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau has observed, “there is a long way to go: before e-filing and E-Discovery are required in all New York Courts. After 11 years of experimentation with electronic filing, New York has accorded permanent status to the effort and is now beginning to institute mandatory e-filing in limited areas.

A new study of judicial independence from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School

Authored by James Sample, Adam Skaggs, Jonathan Blitzer, Linda Casey Edited by Charles Hall

Foreword by Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

Robert Richards, Editor in Chief of the VoxPopuLII Blog at the Legal Information Institute at Cornell has just announced an important and helpful posting “IT and the Access to Justice Crisis” by Judge Dory Reiling, Vice President of the Amsterdam District Court on that blog.

Mr. Richards writes: “Judge Dory Reiling, mag. iur., Ph.D., Vice President of the Amsterdam District Court, has posted ‘IT and the Access to Justice Crisis,’ http://j.mp/cKmHz5 , on the VoxPopuLII Blog, http://blog.law.cornell.edu/voxpop/ , published by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School.

In her post — which is based on a chapter in her recent book entitled Technology for Justice: How Information Technology Can Support Judicial Reform, http://j.mp/cpG7OY — Judge Reiling discusses what we currently know about citizens’ information needs and behavior respecting access to civil justice. Judge Reiling describes the information that citizens need to resolve disputes outside of the legal system — whether without a third party or via alternative dispute resolution (ADR) — as well as the information they need in order to proceed pro se via the civil justice system. Judge Reiling then discusses how technology can be used to encourage dispute resolution outside of formal legal proceedings, as well as to improve outcomes for self-represented litigants in the civil justice system.

NOTE: This posting includes Professor Little’s perspective on City of Ontario v. Quon, the cfase whch includes interesting discussion about whether public employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding text messages went on government owned equipment during working hours.

A Service from the ABA Criminal Justice Section, http://www.abanet.org/crimjust

This summary has been created by Professor Rory K. Little (littler@uchastings.edu), U.C. Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, who has long presented “Annual Review of the Supreme Court’s Term” program at the ABA’s Annual Meetings. It represents his personal, unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.

American Bar Association Judicial Division

Can judges give testimony before a legislative body? Is it permissible for judge to participate in a family business as the company’s lawyer? Can a judge charge for giving a speech to a civic organization? What role can judges play in supporting and participating in activities that promote a culture of pro bono and access to justice within the legal profession?

Off the Bench: The Ethics of Engaging in Extrajudicial Activity While Advancing Pro Bono

In an earlier posting on this blog we reported that on February 23, 2010 a divided Panel of the Appellate Division, First Department, New York Supreme Court ruled in People v. Correa (2010 NY Slip Op. 01533) that the 2004 merger of the criminal courts in the Bronx into a single court with jurisdiction to handle both felonies and misdemeanors is unconstitutional. That Appellate Division ruling has now been overturned by the New York Court of Appeals in a single 6-0 opinion on June 3, 2010 that decided three cases–People v. Correa, People v. Fernandez, and People v. Mack, upholding administrative experiments that have New York State Supreme Court judges presiding over misdemeanor cases as well as felonies within a merged Bronx Supreme Court Criminal Division and an Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Court in Brooklyn.

The high court’s ruling regarding IDV Courts also applies to 44 other IDV Courts throught the State of New York. that centralizes the handling of all aspects of domestic disputes, including criminal charges, in one court. The judges noted that neither the New York Constitution nor its statutes call into question the legality of either court addressed in this opinion.

See also the following articles which discuss this New York Court of Appeals opinion and its implications:

Selections from the Fair Courts e-lert May 28, 2010, published by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

State Judicial Elections

1. Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor continues to advocate for states to replace contested judicial elections with merit selection systems. In an op-ed appearing in the New York Times, O’Connor urges individuals to pay attention to the selection of state court judges because “In too many states, citizens are being shortchanged by the way [state court judges] are chosen . . . . When you enter one of these courtrooms, the last thing you want to worry about is whether the judge is more accountable to a campaign contributor or an ideological group than to the law.”

TITLE: THE SUPREME COURT SUBTITLE: A C-SPAN Book Featuring the Justices in Their Own Words EDITORS: Brian Lamb, Susan Swain, and Mark Farkas PUBLICATION DATE: May 4, 2010

PUBLISHER: Perseus Books PAGE COUNT: 372 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-38648-835-2

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