Updated: 11/10/05; 2:11:37 PM.

  Rory Perry's Weblog
Law, technology, and the courts

daily link  Thursday, May 9, 2002

CRIMINAL - EVIDENCE :: Reading absent witness testimony; Marital confidence privilege

STATE v. BOHON, No. 30014 (McGraw, J.)(Maynard, J., concurring)(May 8, 2002).

Reversing an order of the Circuit Court of Monongalia County in an appeal from a conditional guilty plea to second degree murder with a sentence of 40 years.  The Court agreed with the State's confession of error, under the confrontation clauses of the state and federal constitutions, that the trial court's in limine decision to allow prior testimony of an absent witness (who had been convicted for the same crime), to be read into the record without cross-examination, was erroneous.  Further reversing the trial court's decision to admit confidential remarks made by the appellant to his wife, holding that the martial confidence privilege applies to the communication at issue, and setting forth guidelines for applying the privilege in future cases.

  1:55:38 PM  [Permanent Link]     

Create custom experimental XML feeds

Radio's RSS writer is now user-extensible. The RSS writer in Radio is now officially user-extensible. "Before generating the RSS, we check user.radio.callbacks.writeRssFile," Dave writes today. Excellent. This will open the floodgates for all sorts of useful metadata experimentation. We'll see Radio UserLand sites emitting RSS 1.0, and others extending RSS .9x. It's not the format that matters to me, it's the experimentation. ... [Jon's Radio

This is brilliant news.  Ordinary Radio users like me can now experiment with tagging topical categories of posts related to "official" court filings (such as opinions), court rules, and FAQs.   Enabling an end user to sort, filter or interpret by topical content.

One Small Example:  A lawyer in New Orleans, is watching the progress of asbestos mass litigation in the courts of Louisiana, becomes aware that very similar issues involving medical monitoring and asbestos mass litigation are pending before the West Virginia Supreme Court.  If the WV court has an XML feed for recent opinions (which we do), the lawyer in New Orleans could subscribe to that feed and watch for orders and opinions regarding asbestos mass litigation.  Understandably, however, the lawyer in New Orleans may not want to read all of the posts about another jurisdiction's opinions - only those concerning limited issues.  With this new feature, the lawyer in New Orleans can target the request, saving bandwidth and precious screen time.  

  1:16:01 PM  [Permanent Link]     

Emerging judicial blogspace

Texas Judges corral some technology...
Judges in Collin County Texas have pooled their resources to buy a domain (texasjudge.com) where they can maintain Web pages for their individual courtrooms. [via Law.com] By the links on Judge Curt Henderson's site, it looks like eleven of them have taken the plunge.  Henderson's Web site, www.texasjudge.com/henderson, provides docket information in civil matters and allows lawyers to get settings in certain kinds of cases and set motions for summary judgment.  [Law.com] via [Denise] and [Ernie the Attorney].

Thanks to Denise and Ernie for this pointer.  Ernie is spot-on about the immediate practical value that weblog technology can bring to the administration of justice.

Clearly, there is useful information that trial judges could put out on a weblog that attorneys would crave.  And while a normal website is okay, it really needs to be a weblog.  And it needs to be XML or RSS.  Why?

If it's an XML document or an RSS feed, then I can subscribe to it and have it show up in my News Aggregator.  And then I can re-route that post to a category that I upstream into my lawfirm's internal web server. [Ernie the Attorney]

There is momentum here, an emerging judicial blogspace, in part because lawyers are naturals at a basic weblogging skill: taking an "information feed" and finding the category where that information will best fit.  I agree with Ernie, we need more courts and judges and public offices to deploy XML/RSS feeds.  We can do this right now, without waiting for interop standards to be fully baked, without adding to our workflow, and without busting the budget. 

  9:24:58 AM  [Permanent Link]     

A weblog about information issues in the courts, with occassional diversions, authored by the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
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 11/10/05; 1:44:01 PM.

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia was the first court in the country to post opinions, news, and docket information in a weblog format, complete with RSS feeds, as part of the Court's official Web site.
Click to see the XML version of this web page. Recent Opinions
Click to see the XML version of this web page. Civil Topics
Click to see the XML version of this web page. Criminal Topics
Click to see the XML version of this web page. Family Topics

Resources for implementing this solution in your jurisdiction

Utah Appellate Courts
Click to see the XML feed for Utah Appellate Court Opinions. Recent Opinions

From Cornell's LII: US Supreme Court
Click to see the XML feed for today's US Supreme Court opinions. Today's Opinions
Click to see the XML feed covering issues in recent US Supreme Court opinions. Recent Opinions

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Last update: 11/10/05; 2:11:37 PM.