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.
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.
The Western District of Washington hosted a multi-district, multi-agency emergency preparedness summit this summer, bringing together representatives from the federal courts, the Department of Justice, the U.S. Marshals Service, and other government agencies.
A new federal courthouse was dedicated last month in downtown Billings, Montana. The District of Montana’s court family, guests, and invited speaker, Administrative Office Director Judge Thomas Hogan officially opened the courthouse, which replaces an aging facility with significant security and asbestos problems.
Congress has passed and the President is expected to sign into law, H.R. 5512, the Divisional Realignment Act of 2012. The legislation, introduced in May, realigns divisions in the U.S. District Courts in the Eastern District of Missouri and the Northern District of Mississippi.