Report me and my cause aright
Hamlet, Act V, Scene 2

  The Catchline


Volume XXVI, No. 3 May 2007


Dear ARJD Members,

Excitement abounds regarding plans for our 26th Annual ARJD meeting in Anchorage, AK. Our Kenya delegation of four have already applied for their exit visas and are planning their long journey now. Do consider, when making plans for your attendance that you take into account the time zone difference, and airport arrival/security times which may affect your travel dates (i.e., if you usually travel on Wednesday you will most likely need to travel to AK on Tuesday and depart the next Tuesday.) We want you to arrive and be comfortable and not exhausted. Registration opens on Wednesday at 5 p.m. -- our ARJD arrival dinner is planned for 7 p.m. that evening at Josephine's in the Sheraton Hotel. Vice-President Edith Lavin has been diligently working on that event and has scored a hit with an all-inclusive price for entrée choice plus all meal accompaniments, a glass of wine, tax and gratuities included.

Several committees have been actively working on related meeting tasks, including Cliff Allen of the Education Committee who has an outstanding education and speaker program lined up. Our New Member Committee, with Leah Walker at the helm, has authored a Welcome Letter for newcomers and compiled a package of ARJD information to accompany it. We do have a change at the helm of our Membership Committee due to the pending retirement of Kathryn Bann from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. In behalf of our membership I wish to thank Kathryn for her many years of dedicated service to the ARJD. Happy to report she advises that she'll stay involved. Member Billee Cauley of the Alabama Appellate Courts will take over Kathryn's duties.

The Electronic Publishing Committee, co-chaired by Frank Wagner and Ralph Preston have posted their final position paper on our website -- it is titled: Statement of Principles: AOfficial@ On-Line Documents. Ralph recently attended the American Association of Law Librarians' meeting in Chicago and addressed that conference regarding the ARJD position paper. I'm happy to report he will moderate a roundtable discussion on AAuthentication of Legal Documents@ at this meeting. The committee has proposed a position paper on Athe relegation of all citations to footnotes in opinion writing.@ Bryan Garner, editor of Black's Law Dictionary had a related article featured in the ABA's AThe Student Lawyer@ indicating this would be the next development in legal writing. Ed Jessen has been actively involved in expressing reporters' unique perspective on this topic and Claude Marquis has been hailed as a valuable contributor so we have expertise to count on.

The Honors Committee chair Richard Ross is seeking nominations for the Henry Lind Award -- these must be made at one annual meeting for recognition at the next. Frank Wagner and Lloyd Hysan took on the task of wording and getting vendor award plaques. Nominations Committee chair, Shauna Thomas, is seeking a member willing to be nominated as the ARJD's next Secretary. Vice-President Edith Lavin has advised that she will not seek the ARJD presidency next year -- she will remain very involved in the AK meeting. It has been agreed that Wilma Grant would accept the nomination to continue as President for an additional year, Secretary Kevin Loftus will accept nomination to Vice President, Barbara Kincaid will remain as past president.

Please contact Shauna if interested in the Secretary position. (Note: usually Secretary moves to Vice-President, then President role). We are still seeking a Parliamentarian/ByLaws Chair and an Archivist to document the history of our organization.

The Web Committee, with Andy Ashe at the helm, received praise from the board for the behind-the-scenes constant support. Site Selection chair duties have moved under Janette Bloom, however Kevin Loftus will make the Halifax, Nova Scotia, site selection visit to check out properties there. Ed Jessen and Cliff Allen continue their work on AThe Catchline@ newsletter, the member directory, and annual meeting plans.

All committees are working to their potential. Your ARJD Executive Board met in Washington, D.C., on April 6 and addressed financial concerns/budget issues regarding the annual meetings, bylaws issue regarding applications for membership, Scribes membership for all members (now approved), awards for support vendors, and other business . . . some to be addressed at our annual meeting. One newly-forming committee will be known as the Annual Meeting Committee and will include Site Selection and Education chairs, Exhibitor/Sponsor coordinator, and other individuals who will share in the meeting organization tasks. Anyone interested, or with recommendations -- contact me.

I look forward to seeing every member and their guest(s) in Alaska -- it promises to be an outstanding event. Register by June 15 to be entered in the Early Bird Drawing or at the latest, by July 9 -- hotel room rates increase after that date. Please complete your meeting and event registration documents at your earliest convenience.

Sincere Regards,

Wilma M. Grant, ARJD President 2006-2008

AALL National Summit
on Digital Legal Information

Ralph Preston and Ed Jessen recently served as delegates to a National Summit on Authentication of Digital Legal Information organized by the American Association of Law Libraries ("AALL"). Approximately 50 delegates from the judiciary, the legal community, state governments, and other interested organizations, including the ARJD, all of whom share AALL's concern about ensuring the authenticity of digital legal information, met in Chicago on April 20-21, 2007, to explore legal and technological solutions to ensure that state online legal resources are authenticated and trustworthy. The focus of the summit was the 300-page State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources published in late March, 2007 by AALL.

The ARJD's Statement of Principles: "Official" On-line Documents, developed by the electronic publishing committee following the Kansas City meeting last year and approved by the executive board in February, was included with the materials given to the delegates. The first official speaker at the summit, Professor Robert Berring of Cal-Berkeley's law school, called attention to the ARJD Statement in very positive terms, saying that the ARJD "got it right". The ARJD certainly should be proud that its position paper received that kind of recognition.

As co-chair of the electronic publishing committee, Ralph was asked to serve on a panel on the second day of the summit that reacted to speakers who addressed the concepts of official status and authenticity of online legal resources and the interrelation of the two and possible actions to incorporate these concepts into legislation. Ralph spent most of his allotted time discussing the ARJD Statement of Principles.

There was general agreement that the delegates should meet again in about 18 months to assess what progress has been made in achieving reform to ensure the authentication and trustworthiness of online legal resources at both the state and federal level. The AALL will be creating a website about the summit, where summaries of the sessions, the presentations, and other related documents will be posted.

Commas Matter!

Grammarians all over Canada are saying AI told you so! Grammar is important.@ A lot of money is riding on the position of a comma in a contract between two telecommunications companies. Rogers Communications Inc. and Aliant Telecom Inc. entered into a Support Structure Agreement (SSA) to permit Rogers to string cable along Aliant's poles in New Brunswick. The SSA contains a clause that says

"Subject to the termination provisions of [the SSA], [the SSA] shall be effective from the date it is made and shall continue in force for a period of five (5) years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five (5) year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party."

The agreement was signed in 2002. On January 31, 2005, Aliant gave notice of termination to take effect on February 1, 2006.

Rogers disputed Aliant's right to terminate within the first five years of the SSA. Aliant, basing its arguments on rules of punctuation, submitted that this clause gives either party the right to terminate on one year's notice given at any time during the contract. Rogers had to rely on standard legal arguments -- words of the contract are to be given their plain and ordinary meaning unless this would result in an absurdity or ambiguity; the decision maker must interpret the contract by looking at the intent of the parties; etc. Rogers lost.

The Canadian Radio and Telecom-munications Commission (CRTC), in whose lap this dispute landed, applied the rules of grammar and determined that the clause was clear and unambiguous. Aliant was allowed to give notice of termination at any point during the life of the agreement:

"Based on the rules of punctuation, the comma placed before the phrase "unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party" means that that phrase qualifies both the phrases "[the SSA] shall be effective from the date it is made and shall continue in force for a period of five (5) years from the date it is made" and the phrase "and thereafter for successive five (5) year terms".

The full text of the Commission's decision can be found at:

Barbara Kincaid

Henry C. Lind Award

The ARJD bestows the Henry C. Lind Award upon individuals who have made a significant contribution to the improved reporting of judicial decisions or the preservation of historic court records. The award is named after the Association's founder and first president, Henry C. Lind, Reporter of Decisions, United States Supreme Court from 1979 to 1987. Nominees for the award are screened by the Honors Committee; members who submit nominations must include supporting information demonstrating why that nominee meets the criteria to receive the award. If the committee determines an individual meets the qualifications for the award, it will make a formal presentation at the next annual meeting; if more than one nominee meets the criteria, the committee will select the person whom it feels is most deserving. If the nominee receives a majority vote from the members present at the annual meeting (Anchorage, AK), the nominee will be invited to the next conference (2008 Pittsburgh, PA) to receive the award in person (with travel expenses paid by the Association). There are currently no nominations for this prestigious award to be considered at the Alaska Conference. Time is of the essence for members to present nominees to the committee. Please send nominations and supporting documentation to: Richard Ross, Honors Chairman, 301 W. 10th St., Topeka, KS 66612.

Henry C. Lind Award recipients include:
Hon. Harry A. Blackmun 1989
Edgar Bellefontaine 1991
Bryan A. Garner 1994
Hon. Abner J. Mikva 1999
Hon. Alex Kozinski 2004

Access to Supreme Court
of Canada Court Records

The Supreme Court of Canada provides public access to its case files, with the exception of sealed documents, documents in restricted or sealed files and records that relate to in camera proceedings. These records have been made available under the common law open court principle. The SCC has never had a written policy that deals with the access to court records, but the Court is considering establishing a formal policy following the Canadian Judicial Council initiative to establish a model policy for access to court records.

The Supreme Court of Canada has been a leader in providing access to electronic records. Electronic versions of SCC decisions have been available since the mid-1980s, when the Court entered into an arrangement with QuickLaw (now part of LexisNexis). At this point, through its website, the Court provides remote access to a great deal of information from its automated case management system, as well as links to its judgments and Bulletin of Proceedings through the University of Montreal/LexUM site.

The Court is now looking at providing remote access on the SCC website to the digital version of factums, audio recordings of proceedings and pod-casts of hearings. Concerns about privacy issues would be addressed by requiring that parties file redacted or public versions of factums that do not contain personal information. Where this is not feasible, the factum would not be posted. Similarly, recordings and pod-casts of proceedings where sensitive information is discussed would not be made available; this would be consistent with the Court's policy for broadcasting of proceedings. The draft policy acknowledges that there are limitations on the public access rights.

The SCC website is

Barbara Kincaid

Education Program in Anchorage

The education program at our annual meeting in Anchorage will bring together a diverse group of speakers and topics. There will be five outside speakers and three roundtable discussions.

On Thursday, we will welcome three speakers, beginning with Judge David Mannheimer who was appointed to the Alaska Court of Appeals in 1990. Judge Mannheimer was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. He received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University and his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, Judge Mannheimer served as an assistant district attorney in Fairbanks (1974-76), as an assistant attorney general in Fairbanks (1976-78), and as an assistant attorney general in the statewide Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, located in Anchorage (1978-1990). He was the chief of that office from 1985 until his appointment to the bench.

Judge Mannheimer has served on the Alaska Supreme Court's committee on the Code of Judicial Conduct, on the Alaska Bar Association's Committee of Bar Examiners, and on the Alaska Court System's committee on computer policy. He currently serves on the Alaska Supreme Court's committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure and on the Alaska Bar Association's committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Judge Mannheimer plays fiddle and guitar in a bluegrass band, and in that capacity he has traveled to Russia, Ireland, Australia, and the Netherlands. He and his wife have been married for thirty-one years, and they have three grown daughters.

Judge Mannheimer will give us an appellate justice's perspective on legal writing.

The second speaker on Thursday will be Anna Bradley, chief executive officer of Criterion 508 Solutions. Ms. Bradley is a technology speaker and educator. According to the company's Web site, Ms. Bradley founded the company in 2001 for the dual purposes of providing government agencies and corporations with expert Section 508 compliance solutions and of creating job opportunities for people with disabilities. Previously, she spent more than 10 years as an executive e-commerce management consultant to many Fortune 500 corporations. She is a graduate of Drake University where she earned both Masters and specialist graduate degrees and completed Drake University's Doctoral program in educational leadership.

Ms. Bradley's presentation will focus on Section 508, the Americans with Disabilities Act, as it applies to Web site accessibility needs of blind/color blind and the deaf/hearing impaired.

The third speaker on Thursday will be the Reverend Dr. Michael Oleksa. Father Oleksa was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but has spent the last 35 years in Alaska, serving as village priest, university professor, consultant on intercultural relations and communications, and authoring several books on Alaska Native cultures and history. A 1969 graduate of Georgetown University and of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Father Oleksa earned his doctoral degree in Presov, Slovakia, in 1988. His four-part PBS television series, Communicating Across Cultures, has been widely acclaimed.

He will speak on cross-cultural communication issues. He was very well received at the annual meeting of the Clerks of Courts that was held in Anchorage several years ago.

On Friday, Senator Lesil McGuire, who grew up in District N in Southwest Anchorage, the district she now represents, will be our speaker. Senator McGuire was formerly Counsel to the Alaska House Judiciary Committee and later Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Presently, she serves as the Chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee and the Administrative Regulation Review Committee, and is a member of the Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Resources Committee. She also is actively involved in a number of national legislative leadership organizations.

Senator McGuire graduated from Willamette University with an undergraduate degree in Speech Communication and Political Science. Following her undergraduate studies, she worked in Washington D.C. for two years as a legislative and press aide for United States Senator Ted Stevens. Senator McGuire subsequently obtained her Juris Doctorate from Willamette University College of Law while clerking in the United States Attorney's Office in Oregon. After graduation she returned to Alaska and worked for the firm of Birch, Horton, Bittner & Cherot.

Senator McGuire will speak about the Alaska Legislature and Alaska legislative matters.

On Saturday morning, we will have a return visit from Katherine D. Clarke (Casey), who spoke to us in Kansas City. Casey began her career at the Government Printing Office. She is now GPO's National Account Manager for the Federal Court System, State Department, General Services Administration, Veterans Administration, Congress, and 20 other smaller Federal agencies.

Casey graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in graphic communications and minors in Business Administration and Business Management. She will speak on authentication and verification of documents.

On Friday and Monday mornings there will be roundtable discussions focused on ARJD's new members, authenticity of digital legal information, and miscellaneous topics.

Roundtable Discussions in Anchorage

There will be three separate roundtable discussions at the ARJD annual meeting this summer in Anchorage. Although the topics for two of the discussions are set, a third roundtable is in need of input from the membership.

The first roundtable discussion, scheduled for Friday, August 3, will be led by Leah Walker, Technical Assistant, from the United States Supreme Court. Leah is also chairperson of the ARJD's New Members Committee. This roundtable will center on the committee, issues that are important to new members, and the future of the ARJD from the perspective of new members.

The second roundtable discussion will also be held on Friday and it will focus on the official status and authenticity of online legal resources. This discussion will be led by Ralph Preston, who is co-chairperson of the Electronic Publishing Committee. The committee has recently published its Statement of Principles on Official On-Line Documents, which was approved by the Executive Board on February 12 and posted on the ARJD Web site ten days later. Ralph recently attended a national meeting on authentication of on-line legal resources sponsored by the American Association of Law Libraries in Chicago and presented the ARJD's position paper.

Finally, a third roundtable discussion will be held on Monday, August 6. Miscellaneous topics will be discussed. Please contact Cliff Allen at with suggestions for discussion.

Condolences to Yvette Vandersluis

Yvette Vandersluis' husband Bob (Robert) died suddenly in April. Yvette was formerly the assistant reporter of decisions for the Supreme Court of Michigan and the president of the ARJD from 1997 to 1998. Cards and thoughts would be appreciated.

Reporter of Decisions Emeritus

On August 23, 2006, former Tax Court Reporter of Decisions, Ella Cooper Thomas, 91, passed away in Florida, where she had resided after retiring from the court on August 1, 1975. Mrs. Thomas, a law librarian and 1940 graduate of George Washington University Law School, came to the court on January 8, 1953, as an attorney editor and assistant reporter. She was appointed the next year to Reporter of Decisions and served for 21 years, which is the longest that anyone has held that position. She was succeeded as Reporter by Mary T. Pittman. Mrs. Thomas was responsible for the publication of volumes 19 through 64 of the U.S. Tax Court Reports, 53 volumes in all. One of those volumes, 54 T.C., has 1,830 pages and covers 9 months in 1970., a busy time at the court following the passage of the 1969 Tax Reform Act. Mrs. Thomas is survived by her son, two grandchildren, and several siblings.

Future Meetings

Reminder: The site of the 2008 annual meeting will be Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from August 7-11 at the Omni William Penn Hotel. The room rate will be $135 plus tax, and reservations must be made by July 7, 2008, at 800-843-6664.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, is the site of the August, 2009, annual meeting. The meeting dates will be August 6-10.

Volunteers Wanted: Archivist and Parliamentarian

There is still a need for a volunteer to act as the ARJD's Archivist. Also, a volunteer is needed to act as ARJD Parliamentarian to research and handle issues involving association procedures and bylaws. If you are interested in volunteering for any of these positions please contact Wilma Grant (202-479-3455).

2006-2007 Officers

President: Wilma M. Grant, Supreme Court of the United States

Vice President: Edith Lavin, Supreme Court of California

Secretary: Kevin Loftus, Supreme Court of Connecticut

Treasurer: Tim Fuller, Supreme Court of Washington

Past President: Barbara Kincaid, Supreme Court of Canada

2006-2007 Committee Chairpersons

Education/Newsletter Editor: C. Clifford Allen, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Newsletter Publisher: Edward Jessen, Supreme Court of California

Electronic Publishing: Frank Wagner, Supreme Court of the United States,
Ralph W. Preston, Supreme Court of Ohio

Honors: Richard D. Ross, Kansas Supreme Court and Appeals Court

Membership: Bilee Cauley, Alabama Supreme Court

Nominating Committee: Shauna Thomas, Supreme Court of Montana

Site Selection Committee: Janette Bloom, Supreme Court of Nevada

Website Committee: Charles A. Ashe, New York State Reporting Bureau

Association of Reporters of Judicial Decisions

President: Wilma Grant, Manager, Publications Unit, Ofc. of Data Systems
Supreme Court of the United States

Vice-President: Edith Lavin, Supreme Court Attorney
Supreme Court of California

Secretary: Kevin Loftus, Reporter of Decisions
Supreme Court of Connecticut

Treasurer: Truman S. Fuller, Reporter of Decisions
Supreme Court of Washington

The Catchline

Editor: C. Clifford Allen, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Publisher: Edward W. Jessen, Supreme Court of California

Layout: Denise Lynch, Supreme Court of California

Volume XXVI, No. 3, May 2007

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