Monday, December 27, 2004

Legal Travels #2: ...And Thru the Woods

On Dec. 23, I toured the new Barron County Justice Center, located in Barron County (Barron, Wis.), in the Northwestern part of the state. My tour was led by Judge Edward Brunner, whose name may sound familiar from a recent state Supreme Court campaign. I visited court offices, such as probate and judges offices, as well as courtrooms, the District Attorney's office, 911 Call Center, and parts of the jail. I met District Attorney Angela Holmstrom, Judge James Babler, and also viewed demonstrations of courtroom technology. While I was impressed with several features that are going to be useful for improving court efficiency, I agreed with Judge Brunner that the courtrooms were too small. The bench area was sufficient, but the gallery had limited seating for any cases that hold public interest. I was also disappointed that there was no area for the public to complete any legal research, not even a room with just the statutes. They had something for this purpose in the old courthouse. For information and photographs of this new facility, see

Legal Travels #1: Over the River...

On Dec. 11, I visited the San Diego County Public Law Library (main branch) in downtown San Diego. California has an interesting system of county law libraries throughout the state. Some are huge, multi-branched systems with numerous opportunities for public training in legal research, while others are small, one-room holes in the wall, circulating materials only to attorneys and judges. San Diego is on the larger end, with three branches, classes in legal research, and floors and floors of materials. The thing that impresses me most about other states' county law library systems is that certain states have placed importance on public access to and assistance with legal resources. States and counties have made access and assistance a priority through legislation or court rules that mandate the existence and funding (however small) of public law libraries. Similar measures in Wisconsin have failed in the past. For more information about the San Diego County Public Library, see and for more information about the system of County Law Libraries in California, see

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Links for Researching Pedestrian-Bicyclist Safety Issues

Two resources from the weekly list:
Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Research Page (from the Federal Highway Administration)
*Includes statistics and safety tips for pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as links to other transportation research websites.
Mean Streets 2004 (from the Surface Transportation Policy Project[STTP])
*Madison's Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) has increased nearly 50% since 1994-95, according to the STTP's Fact Sheets.

Article: WI State Journal on Blogs

Today's (Dec 9) WI State Journal has a front page article about Blogs. Several blogs published by the UW Law School are featured, including UW law librarian Bonnie Shucha's WisBlawg. You can read the article online at this page on

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Local Legal Resources Directory

Public Law Libraries in Madison:
WI State Law Library (608) 266-6316
UW Law Library (608) 262-1128
Dane Co Legal Resource Center (608) 266-6316

For Dane County Court Information:
Dane County Clerk of Courts: (608) 266-4311
Family Court Commissioner: (608) 266-4166
Family Court Counseling Service: (608) 266-4607
Child Support Agency: (608) 266-4031
Probate Office: (608) 266-4331
WI Court System:

For Local Legal Assistance:
Legal Assistance Programs, including lists of low-cost programs in Dane County:
Legal Assistance at the Courthouse:
Legal Action of Wisconsin: