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A2J = Access to Justice: Words and Names Matter

The Law Librarians at the State Of Wisconsin Law Library know that the difference between a Legal Resource Center or a Legal Information Center and a Law Library matters to Law Library patrons, whether they are lawyers or self-represented litigants. Read this article from their WSLL Newsletter, February 2016 issue:

Wisconsin State Law Library Year in Review – Julie Tessmer, State Law Librarian:

In 2015, the State Law Library embarked on a campaign to update our image in order to be more recognizable to all of our users. The first step in this process was to rename our branches located in the Dane and Milwaukee Courthouses from Legal Resource Centers to Law Libraries. We felt that “library” was a meaningful and clear-cut description for what we do. The name change has helped our users better understand all of our services, our staff’s expertise, and our many special collections….” [Link to full article.]

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This a joint initiative of the Minnesota State Law Library and the Appellate Practice Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

New self-help clinic helps Minnesotans navigate appeals process,” posted Monday, February 8, 2016, at the Minnesota Judicial Branch website:

A new self-help clinic at the Minnesota State Law Library provides free assistance to individuals seeking to file an appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals or the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The Appeals Self-Help Clinic began operating in mid-January, and will continue to be held monthly on a pilot basis at the State Law Library in St. Paul. The clinic offers self-represented litigants – those not represented by an attorney – an opportunity to have a brief meeting, at no cost, with a volunteer attorney to better understand the rules and procedures of Minnesota’s appellate courts. Volunteer attorneys are coordinated through the Appellate Practice Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)…” [Link to full media release at their website.]

Read more Access to Justice news at Richard Zorza’s Access to Justice Blog.

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The Oregonian has posted the Oregon  Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability report to the Oregon Supreme Court on Marion County Circuit Court Judge Vance Day.

You can find the report’s link at their 1/25/16 article:

“Judge Vance Day should be ousted from job, in part for refusing to marry gays, commission says,” by Aimee Green, Oregonian, January 25, 2016.

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The 2015 ORS are now online

View the online, almost official (i.e. prima facie evidence of the law), 2015 Oregon Revised Statutes at the Oregon Legislature’s website.

Note that any new laws passed in the 2016 and 2017 Oregon legislative sessions WILL NOT appear in codified format until the 2017 Oregon Revised Statutes are published in late 2017 or early 2018.

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The short session Oregon Legislative 2016 bills are now online.

As of this moment, however, the 2015 Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) are still NOT online, but if you’re very lucky you may click on that link one day, even one moment from now, and find yourself reading the 2015 ORS, which we hope to see shortly. (Call your legislator to ask where they (the ORS) are!)

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“Thinking About Designing Courthouses for Access to Justice,” posted on January 17, 2016
by Richard Zorza.

Courthouse construction is on the minds of all Oregonians. As long as the project managers, judges, courthouse employees, and other courthouse occupants and visitors don’t let the architects go all “let’s get an architecture prize!” on them, then taxpayers, judges, lawyers, and litigants may have a chance at getting the courthouses we need and want.

Courthouse design is a specialized field of study and experts read, practice, talk, build and learn to hone their craft.

If you’re getting a new or upgraded courthouse, even the “person on the street” will be consulted, either directly via surveys or indirectly when people “comment” on news stories about their local courthouses, but don’t forget that there are dozens of POVs (points of views) on exactly what the courthouse should look like or who it should serve over all others, so try to play nicely with others.

You can read a lot online about courthouse design, although you’ll also need to visit an architecture or engineering library to get the full picture – and talk and listen to the people who use, design, and furnish courthouses.


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Many new Oregon laws affecting sick leave, birth control, recreational marijuana, vaping, grandparents, bestiality, early termination fees when you die, and much more are effective January 1, 2016.

How do you find out what these new laws are?

Search online. Here are some keywords to search: new laws oregon 2015 2016 (limiting your results to the past year will get rid of a lot of the old stuff)

An Oregonian article, “Birth control, sick leave and pumping your own gas: Oregon’s new laws in 2016,” by Denis C. Theriault, posted December 31, 2015, includes a good list (and links to the bills).

Call your state legislator: Yes, they might be getting ready for the February 2016 short session, but they and their staff members probably have this information at their fingertips, if not already posted to their websites.

(The Find Your Legislator link is at the Oregon Legislature’s homepage.)

Note: As of now, the 2015 ORS is still not online, but it will, we hope, show up before the start of the 2016 short session. The print, official, ORS may already be in your local libraries.

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The online 2015 ORS will appear shortly, at least we hope before the official start of the 2016 Legislative Session.

The official PRINT ORS is available at law and public libraries around Oregon. (But call first to make sure your library has it in print. Not all libraries get the official print version.)

Note that any legislation passed in the 2016 and 2017 Oregon legislative sessions WILL NOT appear in codified format until the 2017 Oregon Revised Statutes are published in late 2017 or early 2018.

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Short of performing a bundy-ectomy (formerly reserved for Al or Ted), let’s get another view of this particular cathedral. Here is an old Law Librarian’s take on protest and occupation:

Read a Book, Read the Law:

The history of protest goes back to the beginning of human time (check out the Flintstones if you doubt me).

So, if you plan to protest, march, occupy or maybe sit-in (and I highly recommend someplace with a cafeteria, a library, public computers, showers, and good wifi), expect a lot of time on your hands. Here’s a reading list to help you while away those hours – and you’ll be a lot smarter and maybe even wiser in the end. (Remember this excellent short story? “A General in the library,” by Italo Calvino, which you can find, among other places, in this collection: “In the stacks: short stories about libraries and librarians,” edited by Michael Cart. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2002.)

Some useful background reading to start you off:

Then, how about a little History of the United States (and I recently read this riveting book, by Peter Stark: “Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival”) about truly fearless explorers who wanted to make the United States bigger and better.

You might also want to read about armed conflicts that lasted decades, centuries, and ended only with negotiated agreements, and the literature on terrorism and diplomacy. Remember, greater minds than yours (way, way, way greater) have struggled with this for eons, so listen up, read, and learn about: Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and many other armed conflicts that used to look the way current ones still do.

Perhaps you can start with the bibliography in this book, “How Terrorism Ends” or read and listen to Lawrence Wright, another highly readable war and peace scholar whose book and article bibliographies should remind you just how little you know now about what you think you know.

Now let’s move on to the literature of protest and law:

In addition to the usual suspects, Alinsky, Thoreau, and other memorable and creative practitioners of Civil Disobedience

  • FBI Crisis Intervention and Response LibGuide: Books, and a few other research tools, pertaining to all aspects of crisis intervention.
  • Burns Paiute Tribe: You need to know who really has a claim on the ground beneath you
  • Civil Disobedience and Protest literature. Search online: civil disobedience activism protest revolts civil rights, anarchy, revolution, etc.
  • Read federal and Oregon law, including statutes, cases, and regulations. (I recommend asking a law librarian for a tutorial if you’re not an experience legal researcher.)
  • The U.S. Constitution and constitutional law treatises. The Library of Congress has an annotated version, which will save you a lot of time.
  • Oregon and U.S. history, including pre-statehood materials. The State of Oregon Law Library is a good place to begin, but remember that not everything you need is online.
  • U.S. Supreme Court cases on the constitution and federal and states’ rights. Back to the Law Library since the U.S. S.Ct. doesn’t have a searchable database, at least not for the public.
  • Native American law and legal treatises. And again, back to the Law Library and professional Law Librarians. You can search for guides, like this one at Georgetown Law Library.
  • Sentencing law, especially the history and practice of sentencing guidelines. Learn how and who makes laws, especially, who wrote the sentencing guidelines. Guess what, it’s back to the Law Library.
  • Local government law, especially on sources of state and local government authority, including what home rule means. Back to the Law Library (there are some excellent treatises, not online of course, at least not unless you have a lot of money). For example, here’s a research guide from USC.
  • Local and national newspapers are running lots of interesting and informative articles about all of the above, written by people who did their homework and didn’t just make stuff up. You can go online for these, unless you need to do a thorough search, in which case you need a newspaper database. Start with the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Oregonian.
  • Some radio programs have interviews with experts, e.g. Jefferson Smith’s X-ray program on January 8, 2016, had an interesting interview with Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director with Audubon Society and Michael Blumm, Professor, Lewis & Clark Law School, during the 7:30-8 a.m. segment. And here’s a lecture given in Salem on the Willamette campus not long ago: 2015 Salem Peace Lecture, by Erica Chenoweth, on Nonviolent Resistance, who has also given a TED talk
  • Sorry, but we have to get back to The Law: Don’t forget tax law. If they don’t get you on the other stuff, when all else fails, there’s always those darn taxes, unless of course you are rich enough to hire the best tax lawyers in the country in which case you just pay them.
  • Let’s not leave out an entire body of federal criminal law, maybe also starting with the Oregon’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is where the Hammond re-sentencing appeal decision originated, under the mysteriously vanished and now vanquished former Oregon U.S. Attorney, Amanda Marshall.

Did I leave out anything? Huge amounts (did anyone say Legal Research is Easy?), but in the meantime settle in with these research, reading, and learning tips, grab a snack, and start taking notes. And don’t forget to call home once in a while in addition to keeping up with current international news. Lots of protesters, many of them children, in other countries are also on the march. It never hurts to put all humankind’s trials and tribulations into perspective.

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The Oregon Innocence Project is presenting this CLE, scheduled for Feb. 5, 2016:

Continuing Debate Over the Sequential Lineup

Presented by Oregon Innocence Project and featuring Professor Daniel Reisberg.

Scientific research has prompted numerous reforms in how police collect eyewitness identification evidence and how courts evaluate this evidence. Some prosecutors and some in the scientific community have begun to voice challenges to this research and the reforms that flow from it. Daniel Reisberg, Patricia & Clifford Lunneborg Professor of Psychology at Reed College, will discuss this ongoing debate, with a specific focus on the “sequential lineup”. Dr. Reisberg will also consider the broader issue of how, in general, science can guide the justice system and how attorneys might address these points.

Lunch will be provided. 1.5 CLEs will be earned by attendees.

Date: February 5, 2016
Time: 12pm – 1.30pm
Location: Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, PacWest Center, 1211 SW 5th Ave., Ste. #1900, Portland, OR 97204.

Tickets cost $30 (including lunch) and are available through Eventbrite.” [Link to event website.]