JULY  2015


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New Media & the Courts Resources


Michigan court clerk comes up with ‘Uber’ offer for jurors

If you’re a juror in Macomb County, Michigan, you’re in luck! Through August 15, jurors will be able to catch a free ride to and from court under a unique program with Uber, an app-based transportation service. Jurors can receive a code good for a $20 ride each way to and from the courthouse. Jurors can schedule their ride on their smartphone. The program between the Macomb County Court Clerk and Uber was created to help jurors who worried about finding parking or driving in bad weather. Court Clerk Carmella Sabaugh hopes it encourages civic participation. “The right to a jury of your peers is fundamental to our democracy, and Uber is helping Macomb County put innovation into the justice system to safeguard this right,” Sabaugh said. Once the pilot program is complete, it will be reviewed for possible continuation.

Federal judge suspends blog after court employees consider it ‘embarrassing’

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf recently posted a blog article “Senator Ted Cruz is not fit to be President,” responding to the senator’s proposal that the U.S. Supreme Court justices be subject to judicial retention elections.  At first, Kopf claimed he did not violate the judge’s code of conduct because he was writing about the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice. However, he later admitted that he crossed the line. He pulled the plug on the blog because, during a court employee retreat, when the Chief Judge asked how many of the employees felt the blog had become an embarrassment to the Court, “the great majority raised their hands…There is nothing more important to me than the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska,” Kopf wrote. Judge Kopf says he made the decision to shut down the blog on his own and wasn't asked by a higher authority.

Kansas Court of Appeals mulls case of expelled University of Kansas student


The case of the University of Kansas (KU) and Navid Yeasin is now in the hands of the Kansas Court of Appeals. Yeasin was expelled and banned from the KU campus in November 2013 for violating an order to not contact an ex-girlfriend by tweeting a series of derogatory and threatening comments about her. Yeasin filed a lawsuit against KU challenging his expulsion in 2014. KU defended its action against Yeasin citing its Student Code of Conduct, which states students can be punished for policy violations that occur “while on university premises or at university sponsored or supervised events.” Last fall, Douglas County District Judge Robert Fairchild ruled KU did not have the jurisdiction to expel Yeasin due to the lack of evidence that the incidents that led to his expulsion occurred on campus. KU appealed the ruling and Yeasin remains expelled while the appeal is being heard. The Kansas Court of Appeals heard oral arguments this month, but issued no decision. A decision is expected later this summer.

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