Monday, July 27, 2009

Update to our Scooter post

We alerted you to new registration requirements for scooters last week. The Registry has released information on the various new types of registrations. In addition to the Limited Use scooters that can travel faster than 30 mph, but less than 40 mph, there is another new category called Low Speed vehicles. They include those funny looking 4 wheeled tourist-mobiles. So you will be seeing new plates with LS or LU to indicate these new categories. So we all have to play nice on the roads. And don't forget about the bicycles too!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How are we doing?

Libraries love statistics. We look on them as a measure of our success. We are in the business of providing information and resources, and we like to know how we are doing. We count lots of things, and we count the different ways we do them. As public libraries, we lend books, disks and other materials. We also answer questions (did you know we do live chat reference?), and have a document delivery service. So, here are a few numbers from our brick and mortar locations.

304,444 people visited our 17 locations in FY09.
48,044 questions were answered.
47,168 items were borrowed.
22,573 documents were delivered.
2578 chat sessions took place.

Later, we will report on our web page statistics. I'm sure you'll agree we are doing quite well, thank you very much.
So if you are one of the people who helped us get to those totals, thanks for using our services. We enjoyed providing them.

Pro Se, in and out of the courtroom

Pro se in the legal sense, refers to someone representing themselves in court. The Latin term means "for oneself." In an episode from This American Life, Ira Glass brings us some stories from inside and outside the courtroom. We hear of a teenager that convinced the courts he was mentally ill, and now cannot get out of Broadmoor. Was he faking it, or is he a dangerous psychopath? In the second segment, we hear from a losing prosecuting attorney in NY, when a criminal defendant wins his drug case. What are the challenges from the other side of the fence when facing someone untrained in the law? But the show takes us beyond the courtroom, to situations where people addressed their problems on their own, using their own resources and creativity. Justice in these stories can be quite amusing.
Don't forget to look at our Self Represented Litigants. It may not be as entertaining, but it does have lots of information.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Scooters must register as MVs

If you drive one of those cool new scooters, you won't be able to pull up on the sidewalk and park it as of July 31. You will have to register, and follow the rules of the road just like any other vehicle. A new law, chapter 523 of the acts of 2008 changes the rules in several ways. It creates a new category of limited use vehicles which can travel more than 30 mph but not exceed 40mph.
The Globe's article outlines may of the details, including ordinance variations in some cities. We have not found any related regulations from the Registry yet. The page they have on scooters and motorcycles is out of date. We'll update as regulations become available.

Monday, July 20, 2009

SJC announces new Interim Guidelines to prevent identity theft

Effective September 1, 2009 the Massachusetts courts will be implementing Interim Guidelines for certain court documents aimed at protecting the court filers personal identifying data (PID) in Massachusetts' publicly-accessible court documents. These guidelines are nonbinding. A Summary of Interim Guidelines is available at clerk's offices. For further details, see the SJC's public announcement.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Same-Sex Marriage News

Same-sex marriage made news in three jurisdictions this week.

In the District of Columbia, the Jury and Marriage Amendment Act of 2009 (JMA) took effect on July 7, 2009, recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

In Maine, opponents of same-sex marriages reported yesterday that they had enough signatures to delay the implementation of their same-sex marriage law and put the issue on the November ballot.

And here in Massachusetts, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced that she had filed a suit in US District Court challenging the constitutionality of section 3 of the Federal "Defense of Marriage" Act (DOMA), which added 1 USC sec.7: Definition of Marriage and Spouse.

Details and more resources are available at Law About Same-Sex Marriage.