AACPLL Blog

Law Library News

Maryland Judiciary Data Dashboard

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 18, 2017

Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera and Pam Harris, State Court Administrator,  announced the launch of the Maryland Judiciary Data Dashboard on May 16, 2017.

The Dashboard “is an interactive compilation of trial and appellate courts caseload and performance data.  The Data Dashboard is a user-friendly site from which to access data about total incoming and outgoing cases, clearance rates, active caseload volumes, and case processing performance measures.  Data is available county-by-county and statewide.” 

Posted in lawlibrary, Legal Technology | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Ask A Lawyer In the Library – Wednesday Wrap-Up

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 14, 2017

Valadez

Mike Valadez

Wednesday, May 10, the law library hosted its weekly Ask A Lawyer In The Library program. Mike Valadez assisted seven people with such issues as landlord/tenant, guardianship, consumer protection, slander and disability, procedure, damage to vehicle caused by shop, and the renewal of a judgment.

The Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is a civil, non-family law, self-help program sponsored by The Anne Arundel Bar Association and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. Every Wednesday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., you can talk with a volunteer attorney for up to 20 minutes. No appointment is necessary, but sign-up is required at the law library’s information desk. Sign-up begins at 10:45 a.m., and time slots are determined by a lottery. In addition to the weekly program, the Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is held monthly at two Anne Arundel County Public Library branches: Glen Burnie Regional Library on the 3rd Wednesday and Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday. For more information, please see http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library.

Next Wednesday the program will be offered twice: at 11:00 a.m. in the law library and at 4:30 p.m. at the Glen Burnie Regional library.

Posted in lawlibrary, Pro Bono, Self Represented | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Equal Justice Conference 2017

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 10, 2017

EJC Collage

TOP: Jenny and Joanie with Steve Scudder MID: Sara, Joanie, Jenny and Marrette

The Equal Justice Conference joins all components of the civil legal aid community to discuss and address issues related to the delivery of legal services to low-income individuals in need of legal assistance.  EJC is co-sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and National Legal Aid & Defender Association.

The EJC is attended by legal service providers like Legal Aid and volunteer lawyer services as well as pro bono attorneys, court staff and judges. You will also find law librarians.  This year I was privileged to have been asked to present with Jenny Silbiger, the State Librarian of Hawaii.  With Sara Witman, a firm librarian with Gordon Feinblatt LLC, we sought to demonstrate:

— how partnering with libraries can effectively increase awareness of and participation in meaningful access to justice programming

— how to identify and use “big firm” resources, that is, know how to access sophisticated research tools for little or no cost

— that libraries are in a unique position to make the judicial system more user-friendly and accessible to self-represented litigants.

You can check it out – slides and handout – in the EJC Dropbox. (Our program can be found there under the title “At Your Service: Partnering with Libraries to Maximize Resources” but was in the program as “Check It Out: Partnering with Libraries to Maximize Resources.”)

We were excited to see the interest from courts and legal service programs in partnering with libraries to expand program reach.  (We were glad to meet Pennsylvania law librarian, Marrette Pearsall, too.)  In addition to learning about the advantages of partnering with libraries, attendees were also given the opportunity to see how law librarians support their work through legal research assistance.

When I first attended EJC, we would sometimes get a perplexed look and asked why we would be at the conference.  Now, when we get to know other attendees, we are  more likely to be told about a library program or asked if we know “their” law librarian.

The EJC  programming was great and I had no trouble finding sessions of interest to attend.  Topics included the use of data to improve and support programs, delivery of brief services, communication, mapping and the future of pro bono. Just as valuable is the opportunity to meet the many people from all over the country involved in providing access to justice. It is inspiring to see all that can be done.

Posted in Conferences, Equal Justice Conference, lawlibrary, Pro Bono | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Ask A Lawyer In The Library: Wednesday Wrap-Up

Posted by johnjeffreyross on May 5, 2017

The Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is a civil, non-family law, self-help program sponsored by The Anne Arundel Bar Association and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.  Every Wednesday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., you can talk with a volunteer attorney for up to 20 minutes.  No appointment is necessary, but sign-up is required at the law library’s information desk.  Sign-up begins at 10:45 a.m., and time slots are determined by a lottery.

On Wednesday, May 3, 2017, the Law Library hosted another successful Ask A Lawyer In The Library program.  Mike Ragland and Jack Paltell, both retired, were on hand to assist seven people who requested help with issues such as the recognition of a foreign judgment, employment law, concerns about illegal surveillance, identity theft, landlord/tenant – harassment, guardianship and consumer protection.jack-and-mike

The next program date is Wednesday, May 10, 2017. In addition, the Ask A Lawyer In the Library program is also hosted at two Anne Arundel County Public Library branches: the Glen Burnie Regional Library on the 3rd Wednesday of the month and the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday of every month. The programs at these public library branches are held from 4:30 to 6:30. Sign-up at both locations is at 4:15 p.m., and time slots are determined by lottery.

More information about the program is available at http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library.  The Ask A Lawyer In The Law Library program is a limited legal advice service.  The program is not a substitute for representation.

Do you have a family law matter?  Family Law matters are best addressed by the Family Law  Self-Help Center which is located in the back of the Law Library.  For more information: http://www.circuitcourt.org/legal-help/family-law

Do you have a criminal case?  The Office of the Public Defender provides legal services to eligible individuals.  Information about the Office fo the Public Defender is available at http://www.opd.state.md.us

Need help with the District Court matter such as landlord/tenant, small claims (less than $5,000), consumer matters, or return of property (replevin and detinue)?  The District Court Self-Help Resource Center provides limited legal services for people who are not represented by an attorney.  Services are provided in-person in Glen Burnie, Upper Marlboro and Salisbury. More information is available at http://www.courts.state.md.us/legalhelp/districtselfhelpctr.html

Help with family and civil questions is available by phone and online chat from the Maryland Courts Self Help Center, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.  More information and a link for chat can be found here: http://www.mdcourts.gov/selfhelp/index.html#maryland

Posted in lawlibrary, Pro Bono, Self Represented | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Law Day – 2017

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 1, 2017

law_day_2017_300x300On May 1st, we celebrate the rule of law and the role of the law and legal processes, including the court system, in promoting democracy and freedom through our celebration of Law Day. First envisioned by the American Bar Association’s then-president, Charles S. Rhyne, in 1957, National Law Day was established as a day of national dedication to the principles of government under law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, and May 1st was designated as the official date of celebration by a joint resolution of Congress in 1961.

The topic of this year’s Law Day is the Fourteenth Amendment.  Consisting of five sections, it is the following language from Section 1 which is a cornerstone of the Amendment’s extension of federal guarantees of equal protection and due process to all citizens:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Until the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868 there was no provision in the federal Constitution or federal law to prevent the States from enacting laws that “denied to their own citizens the equal protection of laws or deprived them of life, liberty, and property, without due process of law.”  Westel Woodbury Willoughby, The Constitutional Law of the United States at 177-78 (1910).

Representative John Bingham of Ohio played an important role both in drafting crucial language of the Amendment and ensuring its passage in Congress and ratification, was called by Justice Hugo Black “the Madison … of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

For a more detailed analysis please see the section on the 14th Amendment in Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation available at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/ – the Federal Digital System.

Posted in lawlibrary | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Maryland Judiciary Launches Comprehensive Attorney Information Database

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 24, 2017

Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera and Pam Harris, State Court Administrator,  announced the launch of the Attorney Information System (AIS):

AIS is a comprehensive database that brings together information about Maryland attorneys maintained by the court-related agencies that support the Court of Appeals in its role regulating the legal profession in Maryland.  AIS represents a significant investment by the Judiciary to improve the internal management of attorney records.  Beginning this month, each Maryland attorney will receive a letter from the Maryland Judiciary with information about AIS and how to activate his or her account.

More information about AIS be found in this press release dated March 23, 2017: http://www.mdcourts.gov/media/news/2017/pr20170323.html

Posted in lawlibrary | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Ask A Lawyer In the Library – Wednesday Wrap-Up

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 21, 2017

On Wednesday, April 19, the “Ask A Lawyer In The Library” program was held in both  the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library and the Glen Burnie Regional Library. 

Brian Lyman

Brian Lyman

Brian Lyman of Hillman, Brown and Darrow helped participants with getting a title for a trailer, garnishment and federal procedure in the morning. Cliff O’Connor and Katelyn Maloney of Holmes and  O’Connor helped  eight people with landlord/tenant, estates, bankruptcy, family and employment discrimination.  The next program dates are Tuesday, April 25 at the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library in the evening and Wednesday, April 26, in the Law Library during the day.

cliff-and-katelyn

Cliff O’Connor and Katelyn Maloney

It is helpful to prepare for your session with the attorney.  Here are some helpful tips:

  • Write a list of specific questions for the attorney.
  • Bring any paperwork and information related to the case.
  • Organize any paperwork from most recent on the top to oldest at the bottom.
  • Identify all deadlines.
  • Prepare a timeline of the legal issue.

If you would like to read up on your issue prior to your session with the attorney, please come find us at the Law Library’s information desk.  We are happy to assist you.

The Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is a civil, non-family law, self-help program sponsored by The Anne Arundel Bar Association and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. Every Wednesday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., you can talk with a volunteer attorney for up to 20 minutes. No appointment is necessary, but sign-up is required at the law library’s information desk. Sign-up begins at 10:45 a.m., and time slots are determined by a lottery. In addition to the weekly program, the Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is held monthly at two Anne Arundel County Public Library branches: Glen Burnie Regional Library on the 3rd Wednesday and Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday. For more information, please see http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library.

Do you know that legal help is available from the Maryland Courts Self Help Center from 8:30 am until 8:00 pm during the week, Monday through Friday? This is a virtual service via phone (410-260-1392) or online chat.

Posted in lawlibrary | Leave a Comment »

Expungement Clinic Wrap-Up

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 19, 2017

Monday night the law library partnered with the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) and the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library to provide assistance with expungement of criminal records.  Matthew Stubenberg, IT director for MVLS, brought IMG_1522in two volunteer attorneys,  Jennifer L. Wazenski and David Mitchell,  who were able to help 4 people to determine if their charges could be removed from their record and prepare the paperwork if they were. (A fifth person had a question about a Virginia criminal charge.  We were able to direct her to information for Virginia at VALegalAid.org.)

IMG_1523

Matthew Stubenberg, provided a training review in the use of the expungement app, MDexpungement.com, that he developed.  This app makes filling out the forms so much easier than filling them out by hand or typing in the required information, especially when there is more than one charge.  With the app the case number is entered and the program will report if the charge is expungeable.  If it is, the information will have been pulled from Maryland Case Search for review and edit.  It will then generate the form for filing.

This a valuable program as criminal record can be a barrier to employment and housing.  Having charges removed from a criminal record and case search can make a big difference in someone’s life.

For more information on expungement in Maryland please visit the law library’s wiki page @ http://aacpll.pbworks.com/w/page/40922164/Expungement  where you can also find links to other expungement clinics sponsored by MVLS and Legal Aid.   

Posted in lawlibrary, Pro Bono, Self Represented | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Reality Attorney Training

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 17, 2017

The MSBA Young Lawyers Section has a posted a number of virtual reality trainings for attorneys on YouTube @ https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpNB33ElBfOsECWfYdilf3PRr7Pa1Zav4.

The trainings were created for new attorneys but could be helpful for self-represented litigants as well.  They were shot with a 360 degree camera and should be viewed with virtual reality headset. According to a blog post at Technical.ly Baltimore the trainings are the work of Matthew Stubenberg of MVLS and William Buschur.

The videos available include:VR cardboard

Guardianship Hearing

Consumer Protection – Intention to Defend Debt Collection

Expungement – Determination of Marijuana Weight Hearing

Expungement – Good Cause Hearing

Business Record

Photo Evidence

Family Law Divorce Settlement

The videos can be viewed without a VR headset but then the viewer will not get the full courtroom experience.  There are many models for virtual reality headsets but the least expensive recommended was Google Cardboard.  (I once got one as part of the New York Times – I will bring it to the law library in case anyone would like to try out VR attorney training.)

Posted in lawlibrary, Legal Technology | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ask A Lawyer In the Library – Wednesday Wrap-Up

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 14, 2017

The Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is a civil, non-family law, self-help program sponsored by The Anne Arundel Bar Association and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. Every Wednesday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., you can talk with a volunteer attorney for up to 20 minutes. No appointment is necessary, but sign-up is required at the law library’s information desk. Sign-up begins at 10:45 a.m., and time slots are determined by a lottery. In addition to the weekly program, the Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is held monthly at two Anne Arundel County Public Library branches: Glen Burnie Regional Library on the 3rd Wednesday and Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday. For more information, please see http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library.

On Wednesday, April 12, the Law Library hosted another successful Ask A Lawyer In The

photo 1 (3)

Chris Boucher

Library program. Thank you, Chris Boucher, for volunteering and providing this service to the public. Six people took part in the program and were able to speak with the attorney to request assistance with issues such as access to medical recourds, bankruptcy, apeals and foreclosure. The next program date is Wednesday, April 19, 2017 – in the law library and at the Glen Burnie Regional Law Library.

There will be an Expungement Clinic sponsored by MVLS at the Eastport- Annapolis Neck Community Library next Monday, April 17 from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm. (More information on expungement can be found on the library’s FAQs wiki page under “expungement.” )

Posted in lawlibrary, Pro Bono, Self Represented | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »