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Friday, October 24, 2014

Tracking the Legislative History of Oregon State Constitutional Provisions

Many of our readers will be familiar with the annotations to the Oregon Revised Statutes. The note “Amended by 1969 c.179 §1” is familiar to many. It points to Chapter 179 Section 1 of the 1969 Oregon Laws and helps the reader track down the legislative history of the statute in question.

The Oregon Constitution has a similar notation that guides the user seeking the history of a particular constitutional section. The current Oregon Constitution is available on line at the Oregon legislature's website. Each Section of the constitution ends with a note that looks like this:

[Constitution of 1859; Amendment proposed by H.J.R. 11, 1955, and adopted by the people Nov. 6, 1956; Amendment proposed by H.J.R. 27, 1969, and adopted by the people Nov. 3, 1970; Amendment proposed by S.J.R. 17, 2001, and adopted by the people May 21, 2002]

This note, from Article XI Section 6, recounts the history of this section. In this case the section was enacted in the constitution of 1859 and then amended in 1956, 1970 and 2002. The last amendment to Article XI section 6 was proposed in the 17th Senate Joint Resolution from 2001.

You can find selected resolutions from 1999 on the Oregon Legislature's web page. A box in the lower right corner of the page contains the published resolutions. SJR 17 (2001) is located here

It is important to remember that the only resolutions recorded are ones deemed significant by the Oregon Legislative Counsel. If you are looking for a resolution and it is not listed on the legislature’s website you can contact the Oregon State Archives Reference Desk and view the resolution at the State Archives building. Feel free to contact us at the SOLL reference desk if you need help locating a document in the Archives. If you are looking for a resolution that is older than 1999 you can check a paper copy of the Oregon Laws from the appropriate year. The SOLL has a full collection of Oregon Laws available to the public.

Happy researching!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The first known attorney of Chinese descent admitted to practice in Oregon

On July 30 of 1907 the Morning Oregonian reported that a Mr. Seid Gein had been admitted to the bar in Oregon.

Admission to the Oregon Bar and the practice of law was a significant step into Oregon society. Before his admission Mr. Seid was already a respected member of the Portland community. Indeed only a few weeks earlier on July 14th the Oregonian reported that Mr. Sied had left a job with the U.S. immigration service upon being reassigned to St. Lewis. His status was such that A new position was created for him in the Immigration office after he was compelled to resign as interpreter.


At the State of Oregon Law Library we have in our collection two of the orginal Oregon Bar attorney rolls. These books contain the handwritten names of all attorneys admitted respectively from 1844 to 1848 and 1888 to 1974. You can see the line where Mr Seid was admitted on June 17, 1907.


Mr. Sied's stature only grew after his admission to the bar.


The early days of the Oregon bar are filled with firsts and interesting characters. The SOLL contains a wealth of resources to research the early days of the Oregon courts. Attorneys admitted during the year to the Oregon bar were listed in early editions of the Oregon Reporter. Stephen Armitage, a Supreme Court staff attorney, has written an article discussing the bar admission examination from 1865 into the 1900s. This is the same examination Mr. Seid would have undergone in 1907. Our collection includes a number of works dealing with Oregon's legal history including History of the Bench and Bar of Oregon and a collection of the excellent Oregon Historical Quarterly.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pacer Access Restoration Planned

On August 10th The Administrative Office of the US Courts abruptly announced that archives of older cases from a number of courts would be removed from PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). After being pressed by the media the AO explained, on August 26th that the removals were prompted by technical incompatibility with recent upgrades to the system.
The furor wasn’t quelled by the delayed explanation. On September 19th Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, the director of the AO, criticizing the move. The letter, acquired by the Washington Post, read in part:
Wholesale removal of thousands of cases from PACER, particularly from four of our federal courts of appeals, will severely limit access to information not only for legal practitioners, but also for legal scholars, historians, journalists, and private litigants for whom PACER has become the go-to source for most court filings
The PACER records effected and a tentative schedule for the restoration of the documents is available on the PACER website.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Notario Fraud

Notarios, Fraud and Immigration Law

            Notario fraud is a crime that victimizes vulnerable members of the immigrant community. The fraud exploits the differences between Latin-American and United States legal traditions to defraud persons seeking help navigating the U.S. immigration process.

In Oregon the problem of notario fraud has become serious enough to prompt general education of attorneys on the subject. The Oregon State Bar held a conference devoted to notario fraud on 9/24/2014. The Oregon Secretary of State, Kate Brown, gave a keynote address to the conference emphasizing the seriousness of the problem.

The notary is a common functionary in civil law legal systems. While they are called notario in Spanish they are also present in other civil law countries. They are called notaire in French speaking countries and symvoulogrpahos in Greek speaking countries. All share a common ancestor in the classical Roman tabelliones.

The tabelliones was a development of the early Roman Imperial era. Ulpian, a Roman jurist of the 3rd century, discusses the tabelliones as an established institution in the legal profession alongside lawyers, advocati, and students of law, iuris studiosi. They were responsible for recording legal documents in Latin and maintaining documents, especially wills.

 The modern civil law notary is a descendant of the Roman tabelliones. This official, particularly the Spanish speaking noratio, is a highly trained legal professional. The notario is a public official who represents a transaction rather than individuals. The notario is expected to impartially advise all parties to the transaction. Then, the notary is empowered to authenticate the finished document. This authentication is required in transfers of real property.

As a public official required by law to professionally and impartially prepare and advise on the preparation of documents, the notario is an important and trusted part of Latin American legal systems. Immigrants from Latin American countries are used to looking to notaries for legal advice. This trust is used against them in notario fraud. Some unscrupulous American notaries take advantage of the similar language to confuse persons seeking immigration advice. They provide untrained and often inadequate advice.

The remedy for this fraud is to educate the immigrant population about the common law legal system and to create a well-trained cadre of attorneys ready to take on or intelligently refer immigration cases.

The State of Oregon Law Library can help! We have reference books available at every skill level.

·      Weissbrodt, D., & Danielson, L. (2011) Immigration Law and Procedure. (6th ed.). West.

o   This is an introduction to the basic concepts in immigration law.

·      Bray, I. (2011) U.S. Immigration Made Easy. (15th ed.). NOLO.

o   This is a step by step approach to U.S. immigration law intended for an amateur audience.

o   Nolo also has a website dedicated to this topic here.

·      Steel, R.D. (2014) Steel on Immigration Law. Thompson Reuters.

o   This is a encyclopedia of rules, laws and concepts in immigration law aimed at legal professionals.

·      Frangomen, A.T. Jr., & Bell, S.C. (2014) Immigration Fundamentals: A guide to Law and Practice (4th ed.) New York: Practicing Law Institute.

o   This is a practice oriented reference work focusing on the practical practice of immigration law aimed at attorneys. 

Come to the Law Library, email, or call us and we will be happy to assist you.

Your Librarian,

Lewis Zimmerman

See Also

Gröschler, Peter. "Tabelliones." Brill’s New Pauly. Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider. Brill Online, 2014. Reference. 26 September 2014 http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/brill-s-new-pauly/tabelliones-e1127910

Malavet, P.A., (1996). Counsel for the situation: the Latin notary, a historical and comparative model. Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, 19, 389

Olsen, T.B., (2012). Combating “notario fraud” locally. Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, 22, 383

Rose, J., (1998). The legal profession in medieval England: a history of regulation. Syracuse Law Review, 48, 1

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lexis Advance: New Interface

On September 9th LexisNexis rolled out their new interface. Along with the new look Lexis has made new administrative code and constitutional content available to Lexis advance users.

Lexis has made a number of guides and videos available to explain the new interface here. The PDF before and after guide is particularly useful for users of the old interface.

The heart of Lexis Advance is the unified search box. You can run natural language searches across the entire Lexis database from this box. You can also limit your search to specific sources or jurisdictions. Inside the search box there is a button labeled “Filters”. This button opens the following menu:


Using this menu you can select a number of categories to include in your search. For example checking Oregon under the jurisdiction tab and Cases under the category tab will limit your search to cases out of Oregon. The filters you have applied will appear at the top of the filters window.


You can browse the database of sources from the front page as well. At the top of the home page there is a black bar that contains a button called "Browse." Clicking on it opens an interface that lets you sort through the Lexis sources by various categories. You can also search the available sources using a small search box.


One last interesting feature is the ability to change the font and text size of results across your Lexis session. If you click on the "More" button at the top of your Lexis home page you will get a list of options that includes an option for "Settings."

Once you are in the settings menu you will be presented with a number of interface options. This will include the ability to change the font and text size of displayed documents.

If you would like any further help with Lexis Advance please stop in at the State of Oregon Law Library. We are located inside the Supreme Court building in Salem. You can ask for yours truly, Lewis Zimmerman. I'd be happy to show you around the new Lexis.