Thursday, March 29, 2007

No Right of Access to Show-Cause Hearings

The SJC issued an opinion in Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company v. Clerk Magistrate of the Lawrence Division of the District Court Department  yesterday. In this case, the court held that a show-cause hearing need not be open to the public. The proceeding is held primarily for the benefit of the accused, and often serves as informal dispute resolution for minor crimes. In applying the two-part test of "experience" and "logic", the court held that " there is no tradition of public access to this type of proceeding," and "public access would not significantly aid their functioning."

More information on access to various court proceedings is available in Guidelines on the Public's Right of Access to Judicial Proceedings and Records, put out by the Supreme Judicial Court in 2000.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Smoking in Cars

Rep. Michael Costello of Newburyport has filed An Act to Reduce Children's Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke, H2070. This proposed legislation would provide fines of $25-$100 for an adult found smoking in a car with small children. This joins legal actions in the past year that have seen tenants evicted for smoking, and an employee fired for smoking off the job. More information on these proceedings and other issues surrounding smoking in Massachusetts is available at Law About Smoking.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

English Reports Online

The full text of the English Reports, Full Reprint is now available to our cardholders through Hein Online. According to Hein, "HeinOnline allows you to search or browse all 176 volumes of the English Reports, Full Reprint along with its "Index of Cases" and "Index Chart." This collection encompasses the decisions of the English Courts prior to the commencement of the Law Reports in 1865. It represents reprints of 275 separate series of reports, arranged by the English Courts: House of Lords, Chancery, Rolls Court, etc. The English Reports, Full Reprint contains over 100,000 cases reprinted verbatim and spans the years 1220 to 1867."

Getting a card is easy, and brings you many other databases including Nolo books from EBL, and Law Reviews, Treaties, Statutes at Large and much more from Hein Online. To get a card, bring your photo ID to the nearest law library and fill out a registration form. More information is available at our Borrower Card page.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Governor Restricts Use of Undocumented Workers

In Executive Order 481, signed on February 23, 2007, Governor Patrick imposed restrictions on the use of undocumented workers by state contractors. The order says, in part, "All Executive Branch contracts entered into after the effective date of this Order shall require contractors to certify, as a condition of receiving Commonwealth funds under the contract, that they shall not knowingly use undocumented workers in connection with the performance of the contract; that, pursuant to federal requirements, they shall verify the immigration status of all workers assigned to the contract without engaging in unlawful discrimination; and that they shall not knowingly or recklessly alter, falsify, or accept altered or falsified documents from any such worker." The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition issued a press release opposing the order, saying, in part, "we fear this executive order will lead to discrimination against all immigrant families regardless of status as an employer may not want to risk employing a person who likes or sounds like an immigrant." This and all other Massachusetts Executive Orders can be found in the Executive Orders section of our website.