Monday, November 21, 2005

New Resource: Wex

Legal Information Institute has released a new resource called "Wex" and describes it as:
" ambitious effort to construct a collaboratively-created, public-access law dictionary and encyclopedia." Check it out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

New Look for Dane County Home Page!

"Like a moth cocooned
Our home page has been transformed"

So say the web designers in Dane County Info Management. Check out their new home page:

One neat feature are links under "Public Safety, Courts, and the Law" that connect users right to the internal pages on the COC pages. The list of county departments is now right on the front page and a list of "most viewed" pages has been aded to the top left. Looks very colorful too! Check it out!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Stump the Law Librarian

Q: I heard that I'll need to show a passport when I go to Canada or Mexico. Is that true?

A: From the US Dept. of State's Travel pages:
"The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 requires that by January 1, 2008, travelers to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada have a passport or other secure, accepted document to enter or re-enter the United States. In order to facilitate the implementation of this requirement, the Administration is proposing to complete it in phases following a proposed timeline, which will be published in the Federal Register in the near future.

This is a change from prior travel requirements and will affect all United States citizens entering the United States from countries within the Western Hemisphere who do not currently possess valid passports. This new requirement will also affect certain foreign nationals who currently are not required to present a passport to travel to the United States. Most Canadian citizens, citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, and to a lesser degree, Mexican citizens will be affected by the implementation of this requirement. "

Read more, including FAQ, on the page.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New Look for RSB Home

The Revisor of Statute Bureau's website has debuted a new look! Check it out:

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Internet Tips 22

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

Beginner's Tip: Those three little buttons
Those three little buttons on the upper right-hand corner of an open window are the Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons.
The "X" closes the window.
The "Box" maximizes the program, making it full screen. If it's already maximized, it looks like a box on top of another box. If you click it in that state, it will make your window smaller.
Finally, the little "_" is the minimize button. It reduces the current window to a Taskbar button. Clicking the button on the Taskbar restores the window to its former state.

Advanced Tip: Resizing Scrollbars
Want to change the size of the scrollbars so they're easier to use?
1. Right-click your desktop and select Properties
2. Select the Appearance tab .
3. The second drop down box should be labeled "item" select "Scrollbar"
4. You'll be able to increase or decrease the size of your scrollbars by using the little box to the right of the drop down box (it's labeled "size").

Thanks again to WorldStart for these tips!

Useful Internet Link: ResourceShelf
Information and news about new resources and documents.

New Dane Co Family Law Resource Guide

A new Dane Co Family Law Resource Guide, highlighting the resources available at DCLRC, is now available on the DCLRC Website.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Stump the Law Librarian

Q: What can you tell me about tests for drunk driving? For example, when they make you follow a penlight with your eyes, is there a certain distance they're supposed to stand away from you?

A: The test you're referring to is called "horizontal gaze nystagmus." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a resource guide just on this test. In addition, the Wisconsin State Patrol's training manual answers the distance question: the object that the suspect is following with his or her eyes should be 12 to 15 inches in front of the eyes for ease of focus and held above eye level so the eyes are wide open when the suspect looks directly at it. You can also find information about breath tests for intoxication in the WI Statutes sections 343.303-343.305 and other resources on the WI State Law Library's website.

New "Crime and Arrests in Wisconsin" Report Issued

Paul Guequierre
Office of Justice Assistance


Violent Crime in Wisconsin Decreased by 2.2 Percent and Property Crime Decreased by 5.2 percent in 2004. Wisconsin’s Crime Rate Is Considerably Less than Both the Midwest and National Average.

Reported Index crime decreased by 5 percent in 2004, including a 11.5 percent decrease in murder, according to the “Crime and Arrests in Wisconsin - 2004 Report” issued today. The report was prepared by the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance and is based upon monthly reports submitted by more than 370 law enforcement agencies within the State.

The Property Crime Index decreased by 5.2 percent while the Violent Crime Index decreased by 2.2 percent. There was a 22.8 percent decrease in arson after a 6.4 percent increase last year. The overall decrease in crime was due to individual decreases in seven of the eight Index Crime categories. The only category showing an increase was aggravated assault which increased by 0.2 percent. Index Crime, established by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a basis for nationwide crime data collection through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, is the sum of the number of reported crimes for eight serious offense types including the four Violent Crimes of murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, together with the four Property Crimes of burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.

The 2004 Crime and Arrests Report indicates that total adult arrests increased by 5.2 percent from 2003 to 2004, while total juvenile arrests decreased by 3.1 percent.

The percentage of Index Crimes cleared by law enforcement agencies improved somewhat, from 52.0 percent for violent crimes and 22.3 for property crimes in 2003 to 55.1 percent for violent crimes and 23.4 percent for property crimes during 2004. Last year’s clearance rate is much greater than the national clearance rate (47 percent for violent crimes and 16 percent for property crimes in 2003).

In addition, the report contains ten-year trends on offense and arrest patterns for reported Index Crime. For example, total Index Crime in Wisconsin decreased by 27.2 percent from 1994 to 2004. While total Violent Crime declined by 22.4 percent during the decade, total Property Crime decreased by 27.6 percent. From 1994 to 2004, adult arrests for Index Crimes declined by 7.4 percent. During the same period, juvenile arrests for Index Crimes decreased by 38.8 percent.

The total amount of property stolen decreased by 5 percent in 2004 when compared to 2003, and the recovery rate decreased from 42 percent in 2003 to 41 percent in 2004.

Wisconsin’s 2004 Violent Crime rate was more than 47 percent less than the 2003 Midwest rate and nearly 56 percent less than the 2003 rate in the United States. The Property Crime rate in Wisconsin was 20 percent less than the 2003 Midwest rate and nearly 25 percent less than the 2003 rate in the United States. Further, the odds of a Wisconsin resident being victimized by Violent Crime declined from 1994 to 2004. The likelihood of being a Violent Crime victim in Wisconsin decreased from 1 in 369 during 1994 to 1 in 475 in 2004.

Two Wisconsin law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty during 2004. There were 901 assaults on Wisconsin law enforcement officers reported during 2004, 17 percent more than the 767 assaults reported during 2003.

* * * *

The Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance is the state agency specifically charged with juvenile/criminal justice planning in Wisconsin and for administering funds made available to the state under provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, and other Federal programs. The agency also operates the Statistical Analysis Center, which is responsible for the state's Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

2 new Wis Sup Ct Orders

Two new Supreme Court orders were issued Oct 28, 2005:

04-09 Amendment of the Rules of Evidence: Wis. Stat. ss 908.03(6), 909.02(12) & 909.02(13) (Effective January 1, 2006) 04-09 amends the statutes dealing with records investigation, to conform with the 2000 amendments of the Federal Rules of Evidence.

04-11 Amendment of Wis. Stat. RULE 809.19 (Briefs and appendix) relating to the certification of compliance with Wis. Stat. RULE 809.19(2) (Effective January 1, 2006)

From Angela S., WI Collections Librarian at WI State Law Library

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Stump the Law Librarian

Q: I am a landlord of a building with a "no-pets" policy. Do I need to allow service animals?

A: You will find the answers in the following Federal laws:
According to 42 USC 3604(f)(3)B, the US Code section on discrimination in the sale or rental of housing and other prohibited practices, discrimination includes a "refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling."

In additon, according to 24 CFR 100.204, the Code of Federal Regulations section on the Fair Housing Act:
"Reasonable accommodations. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a handicapped person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit, including public and common use areas.

(b) The application of this section may be illustrated by the following examples:
Example (1): A blind applicant for rental housing wants live in a dwelling unit with a seeing eye dog. The building has a no pets policy. It is a violation of Sec. 100.204 for the owner or manager of the apartment complex to refuse to permit the applicant to live in the apartment with a seeing eye dog because, without the seeing eye dog, the blind person will not have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

New from the LRB: Forms and Function of Local Gov't

New from the LRB's series "Governing Wisconsin":
"Counties, Cities, Villages, Towns: Forms of Local Government and their Functions" A 2-page research report on the differences between state and local governments and their functions.

From the report, I learned that county government is the oldest form of local government in the state. "Local government is important in Wisconsin because it is closest to us and impacts our lives most directly. It gives us an excellent opportunity to view government close up, and maybe even to get involved." Read more...