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Law Library News

Ask a Lawyer in the Library: May Wrap-Up

Posted by Joan Bellistri on June 15, 2018

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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.

Please note that the Glen Burnie program is not held in June or July and the Eastport program will not be held in June.

 

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Law Library and Court Closed for the Memorial Day Holiday

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 28, 2018

The Law Library is closed today, May 28, 2018 for the Memorial Day  holiday.  The Law Library will reopen tomorrow, Tuesday, May 29, 2018  A list of Court Holidays is available on the Circuit Court’s website’s list of Court Holidays. Except on Court Holidays, the Library is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Interested in the history of this holiday? Please see the following provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/

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Security Planner for Online Safety

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 24, 2018

computerSecurity Planner by Citizen Lab is an online tool that provides information on improving online security.  It is described on the site’s “about” page like this:

Security Planner is an easy-to-use guide with expert-reviewed advice for staying safer online. It provides recommendations on implementing basic online practices, like enabling two-factor authentication on important accounts, making sure software stays updated, and using encrypted chats to protect private communications. More advanced users can receive advice on where to go for more help.

Security Planner is a project of the Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary group based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. It was incubated by Jigsaw (then known as Google Ideas) and handed off to the Citizen Lab in December 2015.

Security Planner recommendations are made by a committee of experts in digital security and have gone through a rigorous peer review evaluation, led by the Citizen Lab. We’re supported by a community of organizations, including non-profits, educational institutions, and foundations, and never accept funds or services in exchange for making a recommendation.

The Law Librarians Working Group of the Self Represented Litigation Network recently had the opportunity to hear about this service on a recent conference call meeting.  As a result we will be doing what we can to get the word out about this tool.  Please share with those who might benefit.

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New Laws in Maryland – The 90 Day Report: A Review of the 2018 Legislative Session

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 11, 2018

The 90 Day Report is published each year at the conclusion of the legislative session. The 2018 report was issued on April 13, 2018, less than a week after the last day of the session.  Seems pretty amazing since the report is more than 400 pages. It begins with a list of the major issues and where to find the information in the report. The major issues are identified as budget, business, education, consumer protection, health, public safety (which includes the courts), state government and transportation.

The bulk of the report is divided into 12 parts labeled A through L with a Part M being a list of bills.  Issues of interest to the legal community can be found in Part E “Crimes, Corrections, and Public Safety” and Part F “Courts and Civil Proceedings.”

Future blog posts will dig deeper into the 2018 Session by reviewing this report.

 

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United States Code and editorial changes to the SCRA

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 4, 2018

I recently had an attorney looking for a section of the Service Members Civil Relief Act in the United States Code on Westlaw.  The citation was for 50 U.S.C. App. §521 and the results indicated that the section had a new spot in the U.S.C. at 50 U.S.C. 3931.  When this change took place is not included in the history of the section, but there is a note indicating that the “section was formerly classified to section 521 of the Appendix to Title 50.”

The Justice Department sheds some light on the date of the change on their information page on the Service Members Civil Relief Act:

The location of the SCRA within the United States Code changed in late 2015.  Previously found at (codified and cited as) 50 U.S.C. App. §§ 501-597b, there was an editorial reclassification of the SCRA by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives that became effective on December 1, 2015.  The SCRA is now found at (codified as) 50 U.S.C. §§ 3901-4043.

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel’s page on Editorial Reclassification explains the process of reclassification:

In order to maintain and improve the United States Code, the Office of the Law Revision Counsel must occasionally undertake editorial reclassification projects to reorganize areas of law that have outgrown their original boundaries, or to eliminate organizational units that are no longer efficient. No statutory text is altered by such editorial reclassification projects, other than necessary updates to references to reflect the reorganization. Relevant provisions are merely transferred from one place to another in the Code.

This page includes links to information about recent editorial reclassification projects. The link to Title 50 Appendix indicates that  “the reorganization occurred on December 1, 2015, after which the new Code citations were effective.” 

These reclassifications only move the sections and do not result in changes to the law other than references to the revised sections.  Still, it is nice to know when the change took place.

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Law Day 2018

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 1, 2018

law-day-2018-300-by-300-transparent-rgbOn 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.

This year marks the 60th anniversary with the theme, Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom. The ABA’s explanation follows:

The U.S. Constitution sets out a system of government with distinct and independent branches—Congress, the Presidency, and a Supreme Court. It also defines legislative, executive, and judicial powers and outlines how they interact. These three separate branches share power, and each branch serves as a check on the power of the others. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” James Madison explained in Federalist 51. Why? Madison believed that the Constitution’s principles of separation of powers and checks and balances preserve political liberty. They provide a framework for freedom. Yet, this framework is not self-executing. We the people must continually act to ensure that our constitutional democracy endures, preserving our liberties and advancing our rights. The Law Day 2018 theme enables us to reflect on the separation of powers as fundamental to our constitutional purpose and to consider how our governmental system is working for ourselves and our posterity.

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HeinOnline Adds New Database: Gun Regulation and Legislation in America

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 27, 2018

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HeinOnline is the “World’s Largest Image-Based Legal Research Database” and “is a premier online database containing more than 155 million pages and 200,000 titles of legal history and government documents in a fully searchable, image-based format. HeinOnline bridges the gap in historical research by providing comprehensive coverage from inception of more than 2,500 law-related periodicals.”  HeinOnline is available on all court computers @ heinonline.org. (Click on the Login button in the upper right corner.)

Read more about this new database here. But don’t forget about all of the other resources on Hein such as access to journals, law reviews, early American case law and English reports.

 

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Ask a Lawyer in the Library: Wrap-up for April

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 25, 2018

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Susan Mays, Dana Paul, Katelyn Maloney, Carole Brown, Brian Lyman, Cliff O’Connor, Frank Lozupone, Mike Ragland, and Jack Paltell were the Lawyers in the Library for April. The program was held each Wednesday in the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library and at the Glen Burnie Regional Library on the third Wednesday and at the Eastport Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday.

These volunteer attorneys provided 14 hours of free legal advice to 25 people on issues such as wills, contracts, landlord/tenant, foreclosure and employment.

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 at least 20 minutes. No appointment is necessary, but sign-up is required in the library. Sign-up begins 15 minutes before the program start time. 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.

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Thanks and Farewell to Lawyer in the Library: Mike Valadez

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 24, 2018

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Mike Valadez

Mike Valadez has been with the Lawyer in the Library program since the beginning.  Mike has been the Lawyer in the Library on the second Wednesday of the odd months since 2010.  He has consistently been in the running for the lawyer with the most hours each year.  His easygoing personality was much appreciated by those he helped.  So we are really sorry that he is “retiring” from the program but understand. He will be missed. When Mike broke the news to me the other day and I mentioned all he had helped, he added that he learned so much about people talking to those who needed his legal advice. We wish Mike the best and look forward to seeing him in the law library.

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Legal Self Help Videos for Maryland

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 18, 2018

movie cameraRepresenting yourself in a civil case or just interested in learning about the law and Maryland courts?

The Access to Justice Department of the Maryland Judiciary has created a library of videos for the self-represented: My Laws, My Courts, My Maryland: A video series for the self-represented.

Family Law videos include three videos on guardianship. The Getting Started videos cover topics such as how to find legal help, legal research, deciding to represent yourself and how to work with a lawyer.  A number of topics are covered under Law Topics including expungement, rent court, foreclosure and small claims. In Court Basics learn about filing fees, getting ready for court and interpreter services.

 

For every video there are:

  • Transcripts in English and Spanish
  • A printable tip sheet summarizing the video
  • Links to resources, fors, and court services

To see all the topics covered see the full listing of videos.

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