A crack cocaine smoking judge who allegedly presided over his court while high? An attorney disbarred for abandoning his law practice and clients in the pursuit of the unlawful use of methamphetamine? These are only some of today's tintillating stories from official Utah judiciary sources that my news aggregator served me.
The Utah Administrative Office of the Courts and the Utah State Bar have been experimenting with the syndication of news and publications for quite some time. They've now published links to their first public syndicated feeds on their homepages.
Utah Courts offers an RSS feed for "Recent Court Opinions" that links to recently released and archived opinions of the Utah Supreme Court, Utah Court of Appeals, and Per Curiam decisions. If you'd rather get the same information by email, Steve Brown, Courts Webmaster, offers a notification subcription service.
The editors of the Utah Bar Journal with the assistance of Utah State Bar IT Director Lincoln Mead have imported the Journal into Movable Type. Recent past issues are also archived in PDF format.
This is a good trend because RSS syndicated legal information makes its delivery more timely and its content more findable and accessible.
While the Utah Administrative Office of the Courts has provided a mailing list to new Appellate decisions for quite a few months, we're still hoping to soon see syndicated decisions.
Rory Perry of the West Virginia Office of the Clerk used the Radio Userland weblogging tool to be the first to syndicate court opinions and in so doing build one of the very first practical applications using RSS in government. Rory offers the following feeds from the West Virgina Supreme Court:
His channels are nicely integrated into the court's website and he uses Radio's activeRenderer to create an expandable index to Term Opinion Summaries. You can also join his 3,000 subscribers who receive his RSS created opinion summaries by email. Courts interested in exploring the seemingly endless possibilities of RSS might want to start with Rory's "unrefined suggestions" that he posted to his personal weblog in February.
I've seen other court opinions surfacing informally in weblogs. Steven R. Minor, for example, reports summaries of decisions from the Virgian Court of Appeals in his SW Virginia Law Blog.
Taking up the challenge, Elmer's Weblog and others reported yesterday a posting to the Teknoids mailing list that Thomas R. Bruce, Co-Director of the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School has begun syndicating recent U.S. Supreme Court Opinions. These two channels, too, are created using Radio Userland and both are updated within minutes of decisions being handed down by the court: