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The federal Judiciary has made major strides in the first year of a five-year campaign to reduce court building space by 3 percent.

A number of amendments to the Federal Rules of Practice and Procedure and official bankruptcy forms became effective December 1, 2014.

Take one international bank fraud scheme, 17 co-conspirators, 18,253 victims and over $3 million in restitution.  Add a dedicated district court staff and you have what is believed to be the largest single check disbursement made to date by any district court.

Nearly a year after Super Storm Sandy, New Jersey is seeing another wave. This time, it’s a surge in federal cases involving flood insurance carriers.

In a federal courtroom, a witness, who only speaks Foochow, provides testimony in a case where no one in the room speaks that language. In a preliminary hearing, a Spanish-speaking defendant responds to questions from the judge. In both instances, an interpreter bridging the language gap for the participants is miles away at the other end of a telephone.

When a state courthouse in Lexington, Ky., was shut down by a recent plumbing incident, a neighboring federal courthouse offered assistance in an unusual way.

The District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri hosted a “Cook-off for a Cause” this month, a fund-raising event to benefit the victims of the recent Typhoon Haiyan. The court’s connection to the disaster is personal—one of their law clerks is a first generation Filipino-American who has many close family members in the Philippines.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada will hold a CLE seminar on its new short trial pilot program on October 9. The pilot promises an expedited trial —both early and short—in civil cases. Short trial rules (pdf) control the length of the trial, including restrictions on discovery, the use of smaller juries, and time limits for presentation of evidence.

In late October and early November, courts in New York, New Jersey and other Eastern Seaboard states were shut down by Super Storm Sandy. This account, by Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska, describes the challenges faced by the Southern District of New York in putting its courts back in order.

Every four years, U.S. courts play a little-known role to help ensure that the Electoral College votes are received in Washington and properly counted.


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