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August 2012

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The federal courts continue to improve their juror utilization rates, which in turn has led to savings for the Judiciary of nearly $300,000.

UPDATED: August 30, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. – In the Southern District of Alabama, the federal courthouse will be closed Wednesday, August 29, 2012, due to the effects from Tropical Storm Isaac. Normal operations will resume on Thursday, August 30, 2012.

A 2011 statistical report on debtors with primarily consumer debt filing for bankruptcy shows an 11 percent drop in case filings, a 23 percent drop in filer assets, 25 percent drop in filer liabilities and a 28 percent incidence of repeat filers.

A Judicial Conference Committee has updated the model set of jury instructions federal judges use to deter jurors from using social media to research or communicate about cases on which they serve.

The public comment period has opened for several proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Practice and Procedure, which govern litigation in the federal courts. The comment period closes February 15, 2013.

Law schools are looking ahead to another law clerk hiring season. Just in time, a series of informational webinars hosted by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts are bringing them up to speed on the federal Judiciary’s Online System for Clerkship Application and Review, or OSCAR.

The Frank Carlson Federal Building and Courthouse in Topeka, Kansas is in an energy race with seven other finalists nationwide. The contestants—federal buildings that include a military exchange, a research facility and an office building—vie to consume the least amount of energy this fiscal year and win the Better Buildings Federal Award.

In July, the District of Maryland was the first court to throw away the paper in processing petty offenses, linking their Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system with the Central Violations Bureau (CVB), the national center charged with processing citations issued and payments received for petty offenses committed on federal property.

Bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2012, totaled 1,311,602 petitions, 14 percent less than the 1,529,560 filed in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2011, according to statistics released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Arthur Votolato is a record-setter. He was the first bankruptcy judge to sit in Rhode Island, and for 44 years, he was the only U.S. bankruptcy judge to serve the state. He also enjoyed the distinction of being the longest continuously serving active bankruptcy judge in U.S. history.