Nominate Gavel to Gavel for ABA Journal’s Top 100 law blogs of 2014; deadline 8/8/14!

July 9th, 2014 by Bill Raftery

Thanks to your support Gavel to Gavel the blog has been named one of the ABA Journal Top 100 Blawgs (law blogs) two years in a row.

The ABA Journal is seeking nominations again this year starting today and running through August 8, 2014.

If you enjoy Gavel to Gavel and would like to show your support, visit the ABA Journal Law Blog Amici page and suggest Gavel to Gavel.

Thank you!

Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Part 7

July 23rd, 2014 by Bill Raftery

This seventh and final installment looks at efforts to change state constitutional grants of rulemaking authority to courts of last resort, typically called the “supreme court”, or judicial councils.

My colleagues here at the National Center have a listing of all such provisions here.

South Dakota to Wyoming below the fold.

» Read more: Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Part 7

Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Pennsylvania

July 22nd, 2014 by Bill Raftery

Pennsylvania, like New Hampshire, has had several legislative efforts in recent years to change the rulemaking authority of the state’s Supreme Court, resulting in one change.

The Supreme Court shall have the power to prescribe general rules governing practice, procedure and the conduct of all courts, justices of the peace and all officers serving process or enforcing orders, judgments or decrees of any court or justice of the peace, including the power to provide for assignment and reassignment of classes of actions or classes of appeals among the several courts as the needs of justice shall require, and for admission to the bar and to practice law, and the administration of all courts and supervision of all officers of the Judicial Branch, if such rules are consistent with this Constitution and neither abridge, enlarge nor modify the substantive rights of any litigant, nor affect the right of the General Assembly to determine the jurisdiction of any court or justice of the peace, nor suspend nor alter any statute of limitation or repose. All laws shall be suspended to the extent that they are inconsistent with rules prescribed under these provisions. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the General Assembly may by statute provide for the manner of testimony of child victims or child material witnesses in criminal proceedings, including the use of videotaped depositions or testimony by closed-circuit television. (Art. V, Sec. 10(c))

Details below the fold. Highlighted portions indicate legislative approval.

» Read more: Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Pennsylvania

Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Part 5

July 22nd, 2014 by Bill Raftery

This fifth installment looks at efforts to change state constitutional grants of rulemaking authority to courts of last resort, typically called the “supreme court”, or judicial councils.

My colleagues here at the National Center have a listing of all such provisions here.

New Mexico to South Carolina below the fold.

» Read more: Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Part 5

Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – New Hampshire

July 21st, 2014 by Bill Raftery

Of all the states in the U.S., none has had quite the legislative history when it comes to supreme court rulemaking as New Hampshire. The state’s current constitutional provision reads:

The chief justice of the supreme court shall be the administrative head of all the courts. He shall, with the concurrence of a majority of the supreme court justices, make rules governing the administration of all courts in the state and the practice and procedure to be followed in all such courts. The rules so promulgated shall have the force and effect of law. (Art. 73-a)

Concern over 73-a stems from the legislature’s displeasure with certain court decisions in interpreting 73-a. There is also the belief that the language put on the ballot after the state’s 1974 constitutional convention, in particular the last sentence (“The rules so promulgated shall have the force and effect of law.”) was not included on the ballot title/summary. Opponents claim that made the provision improperly approved by voters.

As a result the issue has been on the ballot 3 times in the past 20 years. Details below the fold. Highlighted portions indicate legislative approval.

» Read more: Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – New Hampshire

Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Part 3

July 21st, 2014 by Bill Raftery

This third installment looks at efforts to change state constitutional grants of rulemaking authority to courts of last resort, typically called the “supreme court”, or judicial councils.

My colleagues here at the National Center have a listing of all such provisions here.

Hawaii to Maryland below the fold.

» Read more: Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Part 3

Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Part 2

July 18th, 2014 by Bill Raftery

This second installment looks at efforts to change state constitutional grants of rulemaking authority to courts of last resort, typically called the “supreme court”, or judicial councils.

My colleagues here at the National Center have a listing of all such provisions here.

Hawaii to Maryland below the fold.
» Read more: Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Part 2

Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Part 1

July 17th, 2014 by Bill Raftery

Most state constitutions grant their court of last resort, typically called the “supreme court”, or their judicial council some degree of rulemaking authority. My colleagues here at the National Center have a listing of all such provisions here. In the last several years, however, legislatures have made efforts to amend or alter those provisions. This series will examine all such efforts and how they have fared.

Alabama to Georgia below the fold.

» Read more: Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Part 1

Look back: Debate over whether to allow AZ judges to carry guns into their courthouses

July 15th, 2014 by Bill Raftery

During the 2014 session the Arizona legislature considered SB 1266, a bill to allow “judicial officers” in the state to carry firearms into their courthouses, subject to rules set by the local Superior Court’s presiding judge. Testimony during the Senate and House Judiciary Committee hearings focused on justices of the peace working in rural parts of the state where no court security was provided. An amendment required that judges also demonstrate “competence” through a firearms safety course or similar training.

SB 1266 as amended was signed into law in April 2014.

NC: House wants to study limiting online information about nonelected judicial officers & prosecutors

July 7th, 2014 by Bill Raftery

The question of whether cities and counties should publish information about judges, law enforcement, and others may be the subject of a study under a bill passed by the North Carolina House last week. Under SB 78 as amended the North Carolina Courts Commission would study the development of a process to remove personal information of nonelected officials from records available on sites maintained by cities and counties. According to news reports the online information being targeted includes local tax payments, property deeds and other records accessible to the public online. The bill stems from a recent incident where a local prosecutor was targeted for kidnapping due to her work; the kidnappers took her father instead.

In conducting the study, the Courts Commission would be required to consider:

  1. The nonelected officials, including law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and judicial officers, who may request removal of their personal information.
  2. The city and county Web sites from which nonelected officials may request removal of their personal information.
  3. The information subject to removal from Web sites.
  4. The process for removal of personal information from Web sites.
  5. Under what circumstances the information removed from Web sites is subject to disclosure as a public record.
  6. The costs of such a process to cities and counties.
  7. Any other matters that the Courts Commission deems relevant.