The New Hampshire Judicial Branch will begin pilot programs to push small claims courts toward going paperless. Officials say small claims courts in Concord and Plymouth will switch to electronic filing and processing July 30. The goal is to have all 32 small claims courts statewide go paperless by the end of the year. Judicial officials say more than 13,000 new small claims actions were filed in 2013 and nearly 9,000 were reopened. Small claims are filed in cases involving damages or debts of $7,500 or less. That sum will increase to $10,000 next year. The project has been in the works for 2-1/2 years and is part of the larger New Hampshire e-Court project.
In a new book, veteran Washington Correspondent Marcia Coyle explores the inner workings of the Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts. Coyle examines how the Roberts Court has dealt with some of the most incendiary issues of the day – including gay marriage, health care, second amendment rights, and campaign finance reform.
About 80% of the people behind bars in New Hampshire have substance abuse issues. It’s a growing problem and one way the justice system is trying to address the problem is with drug courts—where nonviolent offenders have their sentences suspended if they take part in treatment. Five counties now operate drug courts and efforts are underway to start two more in Manchester and Nashua. The program could help reduce recidivism rates.
After years of a so-called “lawyer bubble”, with firms expanding rapidly – these days, many new graduates struggle to get a job in the legal profession. In response, law school enrollment numbers are plummeting, leading some to scale back their operations and many to re-think the best way to deliver that juris doctorate.
It’s important to note, firstly, that the cost of incarcerating someone in state prison is about $32k and in county jails about $35k. Experts say that ideally, drug courts operate on a budget that has a per capita cost of about $8-12k. Any less than that and participants may not be getting enough supervision or critical aid in education, transportation, medication etc. Any more than that and it’s probably time to bring more participants into the program. The challenge many drug courts face is funding.