Access to Justice and Simplifying the Legal System

If Access to Justice (A2J) is to be something other than a catch-phrase or a pipe dream, lawyers, judges, court administrators, and law librarians need to think, plan, and act creatively on micro and macro initiatives.

Many ideas are already on drawing boards, in app programmer hands, and in pilot project status.  Court Simplification is another A2J Big Idea and here are some places to read about it:

1) You can Google the phrase “court simplification” for information.

2) Richard Zorza’s Drake Law Review paper on simplification: “Some First Thoughts on Court Simplification: The Key to Civil Access and Justice Transformation.” [Link directly to PDF.]

…. To summarize the approach proposed here: We must find ways to radically simplify the legal dispute resolution system so it becomes much more accessible and so the costs of accessing and operating the system dramatically decrease. Such an increase in access will lead to an improvement in the justness and fairness of outcomes….” [Link to full article.]

3) Related Zorza post on courts, budgets, and access to justice, June 17, 2013: “Professor in Nederlands On Strategies for Access Change,” notes from the International Legal Aid Group meeting in the Nederlands

Richard Zorza homepage.

Oregon Code Enforcement: Weeds, Noise, Parking, Unsafe Buildings, and other Complaints

If you want to report a local “code enforcement” problem or file a complaint, you need to figure out where to file the report.

This will depend on:
1) the type of complaint: private, public, noise, parking, etc. and
2) who has jurisdiction: that is, which government or private entity is responsible for the problem and which entity can help you fix the problem. Sometimes a problem needs both a private and a public solution.

For example, if the problem is in Washington County (Oregon), you can visit the county’s website, visit the Sheriff’s Code Enforcement website, or you can search online, e.g. sample search string: Washington county Oregon traffic signals complaints

In other cities and counties, start with your local government’s information office; they can direct you to the office that oversees the problem or direct to you to alternative dispute resolution resources.

How Do You Move a County Boundary in Oregon? Make a change in state law.

The Oregon legislature will consider a proposal this year to adjust the boundary between Multnomah and Washington counties so that approximately 160 acres, known as “Area 93,” would change jurisdiction.

Read about the Multnomah and Washington Counties plan at the Washington County Area 93 website and the Area 93 Updates page.

You can also follow 2013 House Bill 3067 from the Oregon Legislature’s website.

Photo Radar Speed Enforcement Biennial Reports to the Oregon Legislature

You can find links to Oregon cities’ biennial photo radar and red light reports from the Oregon State Library’s Reports to the Legislature website, including Beaverton, Sherwood, and many others.

Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 810.438 was amended in 2005 to require cities using photo radar equipment to conduct a process and outcome evaluation for the legislature once each biennium.

Oregon 2012 Voter Registration Deadline: OCTOBER 16

The Oregon voter registration deadline for the November 2012 election is: October 16, 2012

Visit the Oregon Secretary of State OregonVotes dot org website for links to online registration, registration sites, information about the November ballot, and much more.

Or, visit your county election office.

Oregon Legal Notices of Sales of Real & Personal Property on OSSA Website

Oregon State Sheriff’s Office Association (OSSA) (a tax-exempt nonprofit) website states:

“OSSA’s sole function in relation to Sheriffs’ Sales of real and personal property is to post legal notices as authorized by ORS 18.924.”

Link to ORS 18.924.

A Statesman Journal, June 13, 2012, article: “Website to list legal notices for sales.” [SJ website may force you to log-in, but you can link directly to the OSSA Sheriffs Sale website for the legal notices of sale.]

Excerpt: “The Oregon State Sheriff’s Office Association will begin hosting a website for legal notices of sale of real and personal property starting this Friday.

Once a judge orders a piece of property to be sold, the county sheriff’s offices assists in that sale by holding an auction. Up until last year, the agency would be required by law to post notices of those auctions in public places. For real estate, the agency was required to run a notice in the newspaper once a week for four consecutive weeks. For other types of property, a public notice was required to be posted in a public place between 10 and 20 days.

In 2011, legislators decided to allow the OSSA to host a website and post these notices on the Internet.…” [Read full story.  The SJ website may force you to log-in in order to read the June 13th, but you can link directly to the OSSA Sheriffs Sale website for the legal notices of sale.]

Is it always a crime to give a police officer a false name? Oregon Court of Appeals Speaks Out.

Oregon v. Moresco, Court of Appeals, A144016, filed June 13 2012.

Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for giving false information to a police officer, ORS 162.385(1)(b), arguing that the trial court erred in denying her motion for a judgment of acquittal because no rational trier of fact could have found that the officer to whom she lied about her identity had asked for her name for the purpose of arresting her on a warrant. We reverse. ….” [Read full case.]

Read 2011 ORS 162.385(1)(b):

162.385 Giving false information to peace officer for a citation or arrest on a warrant. (1) A person commits the crime of giving false information to a peace officer for issuance or service of a citation or for an arrest on a warrant if the person knowingly uses or gives a false or fictitious name, address or date of birth to any peace officer for the purpose of:

(a) The officer’s issuing or serving the person a citation under authority of ORS 133.055 to 133.076 or ORS chapter 153; or

(b) The officer’s arresting the person on a warrant.

(2) A person who violates this section commits a Class A misdemeanor. [1983 c.661 §11; 1999 c.1051 §70; 2003 c.777 §1; 2007 c.771 §1]

Note: 162.385 was added to and made a part of ORS chapter 133 by legislative action. It was not added to ORS chapter 162 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.”

Free Landlord Event: Rental Property Inspections (Washington Co, OR, May 23)

The Washington County (Oregon) Department of Housing Services is hosting a free event for landlords, property owners, and property managers to discuss the value of inspecting rental property on May 23, 2012 at the Shirley Huffman Auditorium in the Washington County Public Services Building, 155 N. 1st Avenue, Hillsboro, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

The 2 hour informational session will cover: reasons to inspect, key items to look for, who should perform inspections, and optimum inspection times. The evening will include information on the inspection process for properties rented through the Housing Choice Voucher program, but the main focus of the event will be discussing how landlords can boost their bottom line by implementing a solid inspection program….” [Link to website.]

Link to other OLR blog posts on Oregon landlord-tenant law.