Thursday, June 30, 2005

WI Public Law Libs Directory updated

The directory of WI Law Libraries Open to the Public has been updated with three additional pages listing all WI Courthouse libraries that are open to the public, their hours, locations, and features.

In the News: Resources on Eminent Domain

In the news recently has been the topic of eminent domain, defined as: "The power of the federal or state government to take private property for a public purpose, even if the property owner objects." (More definition by Here are a few resources to help homeowners understand the basics of this topic.

Resources from the WI State Law Library: Legal Topic Eminent Domain
*Includes links to the WI Constitution and statutes, especially chapter 32 "Eminent Domain," as well as resources from WI State Agencies

Resource from FindLaw: Eminent Domain: Taking Property for Public Use
*Includes a substantial review of the topic, including its history and process

Resources from JURIST-Paper Chase: Eminent domain ruling
*Includes links to the recent US Supreme Court case, as well as reactions and reports

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

WI Professional/Business License Database

From WisBlawg:
"The Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing offers a free license lookup database for Wisconsin health professionals, business professionals, business entities, and charitable organizations.

With the database, you can see the license number, location, profession, status of license, whether any disciplinary action has been taken, and more.

Additional information might also include officers & partners, employees/contractors, firearms permits, etc. "

Implicated Execs in U.S. Corporate Scandals

Yahoo Asia News offers this Reuters report of the list of convicted US executives in high-profile corporate scandals, including:

"John Rigas, founder of cable operator Adelphia Communications Corp. , was sentenced on June 20 to 15 years in federal prison for concealing loans and stealing money. His son, Timothy Rigas, Adelphia's former finance chief, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. "


Motorcycle Crash & Theft Statistics

The Insurance Journal reports findings on a study showing which brands of motorcycles are most likely to be stolen or crashed. Surprisingly (or not?) it's the same brand topping the list as most crashed AND stolen: Suzuki GSX-R Series. Read more...

Friday, June 24, 2005

Resource: DOJ Public Integrity Complaint Form

From the DOJ's website:
In August, 2003, Attorney General Lautenschlager formed the Public Integrity Unit at the Wisconsin Department of Justice. It is composed of attorneys from the Division of Legal Services and criminal investigators from the Division of Criminal Investigation. Unit team members dedicate their time to reviewing potential civil and criminal violations of our state laws that regulate the conduct of elected or appointed public officials and public employees.
Most of the cases investigated by the Public Integrity Unit are initiated at the request of a district attorney, an elected official or a law enforcement agency. The public is also invited to file complaints. View the form. More info...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Smoking at home can be "legal nuisance"

From the 6/22/05 CS Monitor:
Even home isn't haven for smokers By Deborah Lynn Blumberg
What if a smoking habit meant not only going outside on work breaks, but getting kicked out of your home? Wednesday, 06/22/05 CS Monitor

That's what happened to Erin Carey and Ted Baar, a couple evicted from their Boston condo after neighbors complained that excessive cigarette smoke was seeping into their apartments. In what experts are calling one of the first cases of its kind in the United States, a Boston housing court jury upheld the eviction, even though their lease did not prohibit smoking. Ms. Carey and Mr. Baar's heavy smoking - one pack a day each - was a nuisance to neighbors, much like excessive noise, the jury found. Read more...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Resource: GuideStar

GuideStar is a database that provides information about the operations and finances of more than one million non-profit organizations around the country.

Legal Research Tip 16: Eviction Joinder Conferences

Welcome to the next issue of the DCLRC E-Newsletter "Legal Research Tips"! You can view back issues of these tips through other posts in this blawg. Enjoy!

If your landlord files for eviction against you, you will receive a Summons and Complaint. this Summons and Complaint will list a date and time for your to appear at Small Claims Court. This appearance is not a trial. It is called a "Joinder Conference."

At this conference, a Small Claims Court Commissioner, the landlord and/or the landlord's attorney, the tenant(s), and the tenant's attorney, if he or she has one, will be present. Sometimes a mediator from the Tenant Resource Center is also present.

The conference is a meeting in Small Claims Court with a commissioner to discuss the eviction. At the meeting, the parties will either reach an agreement (usually regarding a payment schedule for back rent or an agreed move-out date), or set a date for an eviction trial. If you reach an agreement, it will be written down on a court form and everyone will get a copy to take with them.

The conferences are held in the City-County Building (Dane Co Courthouse), 210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, downtown Madison, on Tuesdays. Report to room GR-10 to check in. There will likely be several cases scheduled for the same time as yours and the Commissioner takes them in order. Be prepared to wait.

Tips for Tenants:
1. Don't skip the conference. If you don't show up, the landlord will most likely get a default judgment for eviction against you.
2. Tell the Commissioner if you have an issue you want heard at trial. If you have a defense, tell the Commissioner and bring receipts or other documents. Also tell the Commissioner if you never received notice to vacate your apartment. If you are given a trial date, it will be for either the upcoming Friday or Friday after next.
3. Don't be afraid to negotiate. Speak up for what you want.
4. Don't sign anything you don't understand.
5. If you reach an agreement, follow through on it.
More tips and information can be found in the pamphlet "Eviction: What is an Eviction Joinder Conference" produced by the Neighborhood Law Project.

Most of the information for this tip comes from the Neighborhood Law Project, a clinical law program from the UW Law School. You can contact them at the link above, or at 260-8221.

Internet Tips 16

Welcome to the next issue of "Internet Tips"! There are three sections to this email: a beginner's tip, an advanced tip, and a useful internet link. Enjoy!

Beginner's Tip: Turning off the "are you sure" message
Every time you send something to the Recycle Bin you always get an "Are you sure" message. This message can easily be turned off. To do this:

  • Right-mouse clicking the Recycle Bin
  • Choose Properties.
  • Deselect the "Display conformation dialog" box.

Advanced Tip: Getting Help in Internet Explorer

If you are having problems using Microsoft Internet Explorer or you simply want some more information on I.E., you can look in Help. To open Help you simply have to push the F1 key.

  • Clicking the Contents tab will help you learn about Internet Explorer.
  • Clicking the Index tab will allow you search by a topic.
  • Clicking the Find tab will let you search for specific words or phrases.

This month's tips are from

Useful Internet Link: Popular Timelines

Monday, June 20, 2005

States with tougher child support laws have fewer unwed births

From Kansas Family & Divorce Lawyer blog comes this notice:
A new study says states with tougher child support laws have fewer unwed births. The study, which has not yet been published, shows that states with the most stringent laws and strictest enforcement have up to 20 percent fewer out-of-wedlock births.

Friday, June 17, 2005

10 Things Your Lawyer Won't Tell You

10 Things Your Lawyer Won't Tell You
From comes this 2003 article filled with cautionary tales and good tips.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Pictures of new library!

Recently, Deputy State Law Librarian Julie Tessmer and I were able to take another tour of the future home of DCLRC in the new courthouse. Walls have been filled in and countertops are being built. There are pictures from our visit on the DCLRC website under "News."

LDAP Update: New Index Available!

The Local Decision Access Project's donated decisions have been indexed by statute, administrative code, Constitution (WI and US), local ordinance, WI Supreme Court Rule, US Code, and Code of Federal Regulations. The index is available on the DCLRC web page under "Print Resources" and will be updated as new decisions are donated and indexed.

Happy Birthday, SCAP!

The Small Claims Assistance Program has been up and running for one year now! Here’s a run-down of all we’ve accomplished:

Total Participants: over 250 (High-11, Low-1, Average-5 people per week)

Top areas people ask SCAP volunteers questions about:
Damages or Collections
General small claims filing/procedural/form completion questions
Consumer, medical, employment/wage complaints

An attractive brochure was recently produced by DCBA to advertise and inform the public about the program.

A sign holder was purchased with funding through DCBA’s Grants for Worthy Causes program.

Volunteer list: 40 attorneys, paralegals, and others.

Are you a lawyer, paralegal, or other legal staff interested in volunteering with the program? Call 266-6316 for more information.

More information about this and other legal assistance programs is on the Clerk of Courts website.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

DCAP changes name, expands assistance

The Divorce Court Assistance Project is now known as the Family Court Assistance Project. The change in name reflects an expansion in the assistance offered by the project. Staffed by UW-Law School students, under the supervision of clinical law faculty, FCAP will now offer assistance with a wider variety of family court forms and procedures, including help with temporary restraining orders and post-judgment motions (such as the Motion to Change Court-Ordered Child Support).

FCAP is offered Tuesday & Thursday 9-noon, Wednesday 11:30-3 in the Courthouse, as well as other hours at the Villager Mall (2300 Park St, Suite #3) or by appointment. Call 262-2301 for more information.

Resources: Legal Glossaries

There are plenty of glossaries of legal terms out there. Here are a few new and relevant ones that you might find useful:

Glossary for Legal Research Basics
The Glossary is extracted from Fundamentals of Legal Research and Legal Research Illustrated, 8th Edition by Mersky and Dunn, and published by Foundation Press. This glossary was prepared by Fred R. Shapiro of Yale Law School.

Glossary from "Introduction to Legal Materials: A Manual for Non-law Librarians in Wisconsin"
This glosssary is produced by the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin and uses terms as they would apply to Wisconsin law.

Everybody's Legal Glossary
From comes this glossary that explains terms in jargon-free language.

Glossary of Common Legal Terms Used in Dane County Circuit Court
From the Clerk of Court's website, these terms are specifically listed for Dane County litigants.

Glossary from "The Criminal Court Process"
From the Dane County District Attorney's website, these terms are related to the criminal court process (page down for glossary once you're on the web page).

English-Spanish Glossary of Federal Agencies, Officials and Laws
From the US Department of Justice

Glossary of English/Spanish Court Terms

GHSA Report on Speeding

From the Governors Highway Safety Association:
"The most recent Survey of the States report,"Speeding," details efforts to control speeding by motorists. The report comes ten years after Congress repealed the National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL), which had required states to keep speed limits at a maximum of 65 miles per hour in rural areas and 55 mph in urban areas. This most recent Survey of the States report summarizes efforts to reduce speeding-related fatalities and also provides a snapshot of individual state countermeasures. Of the 50 GHSA jurisdictions that responded, 38 indicated a speed limit increase since 1994. In releasing the report, GHSA notes that states should have experienced a significant decline in speeding-related fatalities given the tremendous gains in safety belt use coupled with the increasingly safe design of vehicles. However, statistics indicate speeding-related fatalities have remained fairly level since NMSL was repealed, which would indicate the safety benefits have been minimized by increasing speeds. A total of 47 states, one territory, the Indian Nations and the District of Columbia contributed data and information for the report." Read more... especially the Wisconsin section of the report.

Monday, June 06, 2005

What's this new Bankruptcy Law all about?

Here are a few resources to help explain the recent and upcoming changes in bankruptcy laws, BANKRUPTCY ABUSE PREVENTION AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT OF 2005

What does your state rep like to read?

From the Legislative Reference Bureau comes this cool annotated list of books and websites that WI Legislators and legislative staff suggest you take a look at when deciding what to read next.

Speedy Trial: Q&A with Dane Co's Legal Community

This feature introduces a member of Dane County's legal community as they answer five questions posed to them by DCLRCBlawg.

Meet Andra Nollendorfs, staff attorney for Dane County Circuit Court

1. What's the favorite part of your job?
  • I really enjoy interacting with judges and discussing legal issues that arise in the context of litigation.

2. What's the greatest challenge facing Dane Co. courts or legal professionals today?
  • Keeping on top of the ever-increasing workload.
3. What's the one thing that has changed the most since you took your job?
  • I am lucky enough to have a job where I get to see something new every day. My job is accordingly always changing, but in a way that allows me to get excited by my work.
4. You would describe your legal research style as:

A: Legal Research...what's that?
B: Thank Goodness for staff attorneys and office staff!
C: Mostly at home, mostly as needed
D: All research, all the time. Oh, and of course, "thank goodness for staff attorneys and office staff!"

5. What three pieces of advice would you give to someone new to your line of work?

  • Stay on task and on schedule.
  • Pay attention--you will learn a lot through osmosis, whether you intend to or not!
  • Love what you do. Or at least, learn to.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

New Minimum Wage Law

From the WI State Journal article, "...With the stroke of a pen, Doyle wiped out local minimum wage ordinances passed in Madison, Milwaukee, Eau Claire and La Crosse, and prevented municipalities from ever again going beyond the statewide level...." Read the new law

Two New Resources

From Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Library comes this handy guide to Abbreviations and Acronyms of the US Government. Older abbreviations/acronyms that have been replaced by newer ones are also noted.

Interested in the facts behind the headlines? Go right to the source! New Mexico State Library has produced "New Mexico News Plus" which links to documents and press releases that fuel the headlines and articles in newspapers. While many of these stories will be most relevant for New Mexico residents, there are several news stories that are of interest to people across the nation, with links to US government reports and documents.