Flinging open a digital doorway to the courthouse

first_img March 15, 2017 Jan Pudlow Senior Editor Regular News Flinging open a digital doorway to the courthouse Flinging open a digital doorway to the courthouse Senior Editor Creating a “digital doorway to the courthouse.” Figuratively changing the Latin words at the top of the courthouse to “Welcome! How Can We Help?” That’s how Jim Kowalski, managing partner at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc., described the idea behind the Florida Legal Access Gateway (FLAG), as he recently gave a status report of a pilot project in Clay County to the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice. Chief Justice Jorge Labarga called it “one of the most promising initiatives to come from the commission’s work, the concept of a statewide triage gateway to guide litigants through the legal process.” And former Bar President Greg Coleman, serving as chair of the Executive Committee, called it the commission’s “primary accomplishment” so far — a collaboration between Kowalski; Dominic “Donny” MacKenzie, immediate past president of The Florida Bar Foundation; William Van Nortwick, and Florida Justice Technology Center Director Joyce Raby, and many others.FLAG Pilot “You will learn how significant this portal is going to be, I would suggest not just for the citizens of Clay County and the state of Florida, but ultimately, I think this is going to act as a national model that is going to be adopted and help hundreds of millions of Americans,” Coleman predicted. But right now, not so much. The pilot in one county needs more time for a useful evaluation before expanding statewide. The FLAG pilot — currently only dealing with evictions and simplified divorce cases — was extended another six months until June because, “we do not yet have sufficient data to support a comprehensive evaluation,” according to the FLAG evaluation report. One of the big lessons learned is people may find forms on a computer, but they still need to talk to a real person to help fill them out. “We have realized that the obstacles facing self-represented litigants are perhaps even more daunting than initially perceived,” Kowalski, MacKenzie, and Van Nortwick wrote in a January 31 letter to Chief Justice Labarga. “We applaud your decision to include self-represented litigants as an initial focus area for the permanent commission.” On February 3, at the commission’s meeting in Tallahassee, MacKenzie and Kowalski gave a demonstration of the pilot project, showing how a person can use the system anonymously and how there is a clearly marked notice to get immediate help if it’s an emergency, such as domestic violence. Because the goal of the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice is to not only bridge the justice gap for the poor but the working poor and middle class, MacKenzie explained the economic threshold to qualify for FLAG is 400 percent of federal poverty guidelines ($24,300 for a family of four) — or $97,200 for a family of four.Key Findings Among the key findings for the initial testing period from October 11, 2016, to November 30, 2016: • Out of all FLAG users, no one filed paperwork with the court. Not one FLAG user moved forward with litigation. • FLAG referred only one user to Jacksonville Legal Aid, but was from Duval County and could not be counted as a user within pilot parameters. • FLAG has made no referrals to Jacksonville Bar Lawyer Referral service. • FloridaLawhelp.org, started by the Foundation and now run by the FJTC, received 135 users/visits from FLAG. • When FLAG directs users to DIY Forms, a document assembly, forms-builder program created in collaboration between the clerks and the Office of the State Courts Administrator, the “landing page” is too complicated and family law forms contain a notary jurat that deems the form not immediately e-file-able (the user must download the form, find a notary, have the form notarized, scan the form back into the system, and then e-file the form). “It’s almost as if. . . experienced lawyers are writing for a law student, and we’re not writing them for the firefighter and schoolteacher who need to get a divorce,” Kowalski said of complicated DIY forms. “I do think, as we move forward, we appreciate. . . the opportunity to take a step back and collaborate and look at whether these systems are duplicative. Are they complicated? How do we get the landing to be inviting and comforting?”Triage Interviews In the first six weeks of the pilot program, there were 1,262 triage interview sessions, an average of 25 a day, Kowalski said. About 20 percent of those triage interview sessions were referred to four “help destinations”: • FloridaLawhelp.org and the DIY Forms program, self-help forms that sit on the E-filing Authority page, because they are intended to be immediately e-file-able once the forms are completed. • The clerk’s “low bono program,” offering face-to-face legal help for $1 a minute. • Three Rivers Legal Services, a Legal Services Corp.-funded entity; Jacksonville Legal Aid.$1 a minute One of the most exciting findings, Kowalski said, was the popularity of the low bono program hosted by Clay County Clerk of Court Tara Green, where lawyers from the Clay County Bar Association, primarily practicing in family law, give legal help for $1 a minute. “It worked as we expected. In large part, folks came in with forms partially completed, or in some cases all completed, or in some cases not completed, from the family law Supreme Court approved forms website,” Kowalski sad. “They needed the assistance of the lawyer to gain an understanding of whether they were completing the correct forms and whether, through that process, they were prepared to go to court to resolve their dissolution family law case.. . . “One of the major pieces that we heard over and over again from the user is they needed someone to talk to,” Kowalski said. “I think all of us who were involved in this project were significantly impressed with how hard it is to represent yourself in court and how much of an opportunity we have creating a digital doorway to the courthouse.” Clerk Green was summoned to the podium to answer a few questions. “What we have noticed from staff is that there is that gap when people come in and need another resource. We were very surprised at the success of low bono,” Green said. “I think one of our biggest hurdles that we are going to have to go over, and I think it’s one we can go over, is communicating this resource, that the FLAG system is out there and how to get it. Once we effectively do that, and we make it known as a resource, it will definitely get utilized. People will go that route.” Kowalski said he was struck with how hard it is to be a citizen with a legal problem trying to handle it without a lawyer, and that the commission needs a “strong focus on self-represented litigants as we move forward.” “How many times folks needing to file a family law case simply come to the clerk’s front window asking the most basic questions. And then they don’t file. They go back home, and they try to find something else about what they do next. And then they come back and ask a couple more questions of the clerk. And then they go home. And then they try to find what to do next,” Kowalski said. Pointing out the filing fee for a divorce is $400, MacKenzie said, “If you think the filing fee is intimidating, the paperwork you encounter when you step up to the counter at the clerk’s office is even more intimidating. What we found is. . . people simply turn away. It’s one thing to not be able to afford a filing fee. It’s another thing to not understand or try to fathom the paperwork. Then what people do is they go to the internet, and we’re hoping by going to the internet, they will find this FLAG triage, and it will be a little less daunting and a lot more accessible.” Lee County Clerk of Court Linda Doggett, who serves on the commission, said, “Clerks are not surprised at what you’ve learned. We’re very excited to have others learn what we have experienced every day, with both coming to the counter and not getting enough assistance to figure out how to represent themselves or how to move forward on a case. I think the idea is not to make decisions on their behalf but to just point them in the right direction so they can get where they need to be.”Self-Help Centers Calling the FLAG pilot “very exciting,” Doggett asked about the strategy going forward and whether they will consider other counties that already have low bono, self-help attorney consulting. “I mean, that’s the goal,” Kowalski said. “The goal is we’ve seen what are generally referred to as courthouse-based self-help centers.. . . In many states, those are structured through the court. In Florida, they are structured strongly through the clerks. That is absolutely a solution. Combining self-help centers with the build-out of the Florida Bar Referral Service, which obviously will be hugely informed by all the work here. Those two seem to be a strong component, along with taking that united step back and rethinking our forms process would be the three pieces to move forward on.” MacKenzie added: “We intend and hope to expand the subject matter well beyond the two subject matters. And we also hope that we expand statewide. In essence, what our plan is, this pilot has been extended until June, because we want to collect more data. Between now and June and next fall, we are going to be working internally on an RFP [request for proposals] for statewide application, so that should this thing be approved for statewide application, there will not be a lag or delay.. . . We’re going to assume we’re going to go statewide. One day we hope this will have hundreds of subject matters that people can get help for.” “We’ve already taken an exciting project that was birthed in another state [New Mexico],” Kowalski said. “We took their dream components and combined it with the clerks of court, and made it the example for the country. And we hope to continue to build.”last_img read more

Reduce emissions with the CGON ezero1

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

Big Second Half Helps No. 14 Argos Blow By Delta State

first_img Preview PENSACOLA,  Fla. – No. 14 West Florida (14-1, 6-1 GSC) earned a key GSC home win vs. Delta State (7-9, 5-3 GSC) in runaway fashion Tuesday evening. The Argos turned a 35-31 halftime advantage into a 71-54 win. Darryl Tucker scored a game-high 23 points (8-12 FG, 1-1 3-PT FG, 6-7 FT) while grabbing six rebounds, dishing two assists and registering one block. The 54 points allowed were the fewest the Argos have surrendered to an opponent this year.”I thought this was a great win for us,” said UWF head coach Jeff Burkhamer. “We played hard on both ends of the floor for both halves. We knew this was a grind-out type game. When you play Delta, I told our guys it’s kind of like going to the dentist and getting a root canal. It’s just painful, but you have to work your way through it, and you’ll be okay. And that’s how it was.”UWF built a 7-4 lead in the game’s first 2:30 before Delta State reeled off a 6-0 run to take the lead. Marvin Jones knocked down two three-pointers in the game’s first seven minutes. After falling behind briefly later in the half, an and-one finish by Tucker reclaimed the Argo lead at 22-21. The finish and free throw were part of an 8-0 run for the Argos.West Florida built the late first half lead to as large as seven and went to the locker room with a 35-31 lead. Tucker notched ten points and two rebounds in the first. Jones finished with eight points, one block, and one steal. Moter Deng had seven points, two boards and two assists. DJ Thorpe scored four and posted two blocks and two assists. Bryan Chalifoux scored three points and grabbed three rebounds.The Statesmen cut the lead to 37-36 early in the second, but a key three and then a slam by Thorpe helped the Argos extend the lead back to 42-36. Delta fought back to make it 48-47 before Tucker personally reeled off seven straight points, a dominant stretch that featured another and-one finish and a thunderous dunk.With the Argos up 55-50, Deng and Jones hit back-to-back threes to increase the lead to double figures with just under six minutes to play. Jones knocked down a three from the corner at the 3:54 mark through a foul. He proceeded to hit the free throw and put the contest out of reach at 67-52. The Argos closed the game on 23-7 run.”Before the game, coach told us it was going to be a grind-out game,” Tucker said. “Delta is a really good team. They have really good guards, so before we came, we just knew this was going to be a hard-fought game.”We really tried hard to extend the lead, especially when I threw it off the backboard,” he said, referring to a spectacular jam he threw down with less than five minutes to play, in which he faked a defender by throwing the ball off the backboard to himself for a slam.Tucker finished with 23 points and six rebounds. Jones netted 15 points plus a season-best four blocks. Thorpe finished the evening with 11 points, a season-high three blocks, three steals and three assists. Deng had 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and one block while playing all 40 minutes for the first time this year. Rashaan Benson played 38 minutes and registered five points and three steals.The Argos held DSU to 9 of 25 shooting from the field in the second and 21 of 48 shooting overall. UWF shot 27 of 48 from the field in the game. The team sank 9 of 16 three-pointers and 8 of 10 free throws.UWF hits the road this weekend, heading to Union (8-7, 2-5 GSC) for a 4:00 p.m. matchup on Saturday and No. 18 Christian Brothers (13-2, 5-2 GSC) for a 7:00 p.m. Monday contest. Follow along with the action through goargos.com and on Twitter @UWFMensBBall.#ARGOS#Print Friendly Version Live Stats Watch Live Next Game: Full Schedule Roster at Union 1/13/2018 – 7:00 PMlast_img read more

Free race night for City Foundation members

first_imgThe celebration will be held in the Lansdown Restaurant on Monday, April 16th, with doors opening at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.The evening will be hosted by one of the Moonlighting Groups’ compères and will incorporate six quality English races, ensuring it’s engaging for guests of all ages. Minimum bets start at £1, horses can be purchased for £10 and there will also be a tricast sweepstake for each race.In addition to the entertainment, a finger buffet will be provided and the bar will be open throughout, enabling guests to purchase drinks.  To conclude the event, a raffle will be held and the much-anticipated End of Season Jackpot finalists will be revealed.The evening is free for all City Foundation members, with guest passes available at a nominal charge of £10 per person.Individuals are urged to book their place as soon as possible due to the event being capped at 100 guests.To reserve your place, contact City Foundation on 0117 963 0636.For more information on the club’s lottery scheme, click here.last_img read more

Sarri on his substitutions, Jorginho, changing system – and negative Wolves tactics

first_img“Jorginho, if the other players do not move without the ball, is in trouble, because he is really very able to play with one touch.“Of course if you want to play with one touch you need movements with the other players.“Then in the last 20 minutes, Jorginho is not suitable for 4-2-3-1, so it (taking him off) was only a consequence of the change of system, not the performance.“I know him very well. He can go in trouble if all the rest of the team is not moving.”On fans jeering Jorginho“He is a very strong character and he is a professional player, so he has to play in every condition.” “We started (the substitutions) Loftus-Cheek because in my opinion we needed more of a physical impact in the opposition box.“Then Odoi because it was impossible to change our match in that moment so it was really very important to have a player very able one-against-one.“Then, for the first time this season, we changed the system and we played the last 20 minutes with 4-2-3-1.“It wasn’t easy because the problem wasn’t the system but our way of playing – we need to move the ball faster.”On why he changed the system“Because for the first time we were playing against a team who didn’t want to play. They didn’t counter-attack in the last 20 minutes, so we had to try.”On more criticism of JorginhoEmbed from Getty Images Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri spoke about a number of issues at a media conference after the draw against Wolves. Here’s some of what the Italian had to say. AdChoices广告On the match“We made a lot of mistakes but we deserved to win. We were unlucky because we conceded a goal in the first situation inside our box – the first and the last in all the 90 minutes.“We were unlucky on that, but on the other hand we need to improve in attack against teams who defend in the last 20 metres with 11 players.“We needed to move faster and needed more movement without the ball.“Today we played with five touches and if there is no space it is very difficult to score if you play with five or six touches.“We need to improve in this kind of situation. We can’t keep taking five or six touches. We need to improve in this kind of situation.“Hazard is a great player, he can solve this situation, but during the match was like the other players. He needs more movement without the ball.”Embed from Getty Imagescenter_img On whether it was a missed opportunity“When you have to play only 10 matches, every match you are unable to win is a missed opportunity of course.“Today was a great opportunity to gain three points. We were not able to, but in the last six matches we won four and drew the other two, so there is a little bit of consistency in this moment.“We have to think only of the next match. We have to recover two points immediately.”On whether he is confident Chelsea will make the top four“Yes of course. We are in a moment of consistency. We have only to continue.“We are confident of course. We have one match (in hand) on the others (vying for the top four). So we have to be confident.”On his substitutionsEmbed from Getty Images Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Sylvester Provencio pleads guilty to aggravated indecent solicitation felony charge in rape case; sentencing in March

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Sylvester Provencio, 22, of Caldwell has pled guilty to “aggravated indecent solicitation of a child,” a level 5 felony.The plea bargain was reached on Friday with the Sumner County Attorney’s office. Provencio is scheduled to be sentenced for the felony on Thursday, March 9 at 1:30 p.m. in Sumner County District Court.The other five counts including the off-grid felony of rape and four misdemeanor counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor has been dismissed by the court.Provencio is currently serving a 31-month prison sentence for reckless aggravated battery for an unrelated crime involving an attack of two Caldwell men in August, 2015.Provencio was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl during a New Year’s Eve Party on Jan. 1, 2016 at the home of his parents. He originally pled not guilty during an arraignment in March.Since that point Sumner County Attorney Kerwin Spencer filed an additional aggravated indecent solicitation of a child felony charge in an amended complaint which was not part of the original charges filed in January. Provencio had asked for a mental competency test at Sumner Mental Health Center in December which was granted by the court.The defendant was found to be competent to stand trial on Feb. 10. A plea bargain was made the same day.Follow us on Facebook.Follow us on Twitter.last_img read more