Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Std-Ex Editorial: Keep Legal Notices Circulating

For the publication of legal notices, newspapers remain the best way to go

We'd like to make brief note of another excellent editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, wherein the Std-Ex editorial board take strong exception to a bill now pending in legislature (SB 208), which would take paid legal notices out of newspapers of general circulation, and require their publication on a centralized Utah Government website:
Our View: Keep legal notices circulating
The Std-Ex presents several well reasoned arguments for keeping the current requirement that paid legal notices be published in newspapers; and we'll throw in a couple more of our own:

1) If you want a job done competently and efficiently, government seldom compares favorably with the private sector. If you want a project completely screwed up, enlist the help of government. The foregoing falls into the category that we'd label "common knowldge." Steve Urquhart is a Utah Republican; and we believe he should already understand these bedrock principles. Yet here we have a member of the party that's supposed to champion private solutions; and in this instance he pushes for big government intervention in a traditionally private matter, in a circumstance where the private sector is already doing a pretty danged good job. Sorry, but we're experiencing a bit of cognitive dissonance here. Sadly, we experience that a lot in our frequent dealings with elected Utah Republicans. Lately, central government databases seem to have become a big hit with state legislators of the Utah GOP persuasion.

2) Many legal notices are spotted by readers randomly as they peruse newspapers. Ask yourself how many times you have stumbled upon your name, or the name of someone you know while browsing a legal notice in your newspaper? Then ask yourself these questions: When was the last time this happened as you randomly browsed a government website? When was the last time you randomly browsed (or even visited) a government website?

Uh-huh. See what we mean? Rejection of this knuckle-headed bill is ought to be a "no-brainer," as the Standard-Examiner cogently suggests. Assuming that the purpose of laws requiring publication of legal notices is to provide actual notice of pending actions which would affect lumpencitizens' legal interests (rather than to serve as a mere perfunctory legal charade,) newspapers remain the best way to go.

For the convenience of those readers who'd like to register their opinions to their own legislators, we once again provide these handy Utah legislative contact Links:
House contact information
Senate contact information
Have at it, O gentle Ones.


Ernie the Attorney said...

There are many things a good website can do to convey information to web surfers. Here are a few examples, among others:


There are also a few things that websites don't do very well at all.

Such as Legal Notices, for example. Here's a link to Utah's most prominent existing legal notices website. Try it out for yourself:

Utah legal Notices

Dismal, isn't it?

Is there anyone in their right mind who thinks a government legal notices site would be any better than the one linked above? Is there anyone who believes that a government site would be even half as useful?

Rudi is right: "For the publication of legal notices, newspapers remain the best way to go"

Write your legislators. Imagine how you would feel if a legal notice affecting your own legal rights let you lose those rights, because notice was published on an obscure and user unfriendly Utah government site.

The chief argument for Senator Urquhart's bill is that it would be "cheaper" than the current system.

Cheaper isn't always better, especially when it affects legal rights.

Curmudgeon said...

Not to mention that there are many people who do not have computer access in their homes. The elederly often do not. Nor do the poor or those living close to the edge, pay check to pay check.

Legislators with even a modicum of understanding of the public trust placed in them, would conclude I think that legal notices ought to be made as widely available to the public as possible. That should mean (a) newspaper publication and (b) posting on a state-run website. Those two options are not mutually exclusive.

The possibilities provided by new technologies ought to be tapped to increase public access to things like legal notices, not to decrease it by exclusive reliance on a new technology access to which is often beyond the easy economic reach of many citizens.

Dr. Opposite said...

If you've ever been burned in Utah by "gutter process service," where a process server says he served you with legal notice, (like I have) and both you and he knows he's lying, Urqhart's bill is just another step in the long process to turn the citizens of Utah into "serfs of The True Church" and its associated corrupt corporate apparatus.

ozboy said...

I think this is a lot to do about nothing. Does anyone know of anyone who reads the legal notices in the paper? The only people I know of who reads them are lawyers and real estate hustlers who are looking for deals on foreclosed properties. The deadbeats that are the subject of most legal notices certainly are not reading the paper or the computer. The whole public notice thing is just an archaic legal process anyway, and there is no real reason to publish them in a newspaper as opposed to the net. People that need, or are inclined to read them will find them regardless of where they are.

BenJoe said...


But I will have to disagree with the editorial and I do support SB 208. Call it what you will, but people will save money with this bill. Newspaper subscriptions are down, which is proof people are moving online. In fact 70% of Americans now go online to read their news. The newspapers themselves recognize this and understand the need to move online and have created their own website to do so. www.utahlegalnotices.com. The question now is, who has the power to publish them. Who is going to make money of of this issue? If government is going to require me to publish a legal notice; then they should provide a cost effective way for me comply with it. Instead City Governments in Utah are paying $10,000 to $50,000 a year to publish legal notices that we have all admitted to hardly reading.

If newspapers already know this and have created their own website, what has slowed the transition? I would dare say money!

RudiZink said...

Sorry Benjoe.

You're exactly on the wrong side of the argument.

Although I know it's great to be able to post your opinions for free, via bogger.com... maybe it would be better to think through some of the stuff you post.

Make no mistake. This little Republican Shite, Steve Urquhart, doesn't appeciate the benefits that a free press offers even to Utah Society.

Use whatever political muscle you have as a blogger, to protect the free press, Benjoe.

Don't be a pawn of the internet morons who seem to believe that this country could survive (without the traditional print press) with assorted blog ramblings from people like you and I.)

Get real, in other words...

BenJoe said...


OUCH Your words sting.

I don't believe bloggers have the only means to communicate online. I am a firm believer in the free press. But your point is clear. However, I don't see the removal of legal notices as an attack on media that is where we differ.

But thanks for the comments. That is why I don't post anonimously. I appreciate the dialogue.

RudiZink said...

I didn't intend to hurt your feelings, BenJoe, but Urquharts idea is one of the dumbest I've seen this legislative session.

At risk of coming off as reduncant, I'll say it again;

Assuming that the purpose of laws requiring publication of legal notices is to provide actual notice of pending actions which would affect lumpencitizens' legal interests (rather than to serve as a mere perfunctory legal charade,) newspapers remain the best way to go.

I hope we can still remain friends.

BenJoe said...


I wasn't really hurt. We just agree to disagree, that is greatest part about your blog. The reason I keep coming back. Sometimes I agree and other times I don't. I knew I was going into the lions den when I posted. But I felt it needed to be said. I appreciate your comments and I will think them over.



ozboy said...


I think this whole legal notice thing is an archaic hold over from another age. Before newspaper publication, and in fact before news papers, there was a need to post legal notices in public places so that all effected would know.

After newspapers became ubiquitous they replaced the public postings (literally on posts in the beginning). Now that newspapers are going the way of the long knives, just like the posts did in their turn, and are being supplanted by the net, it is only logical that this "public notice" thing in American Jurisprudence will migrate to the net. Its called evolution. The old dinosaurs who are being supplanted always stomp around and raise hell on their way off the world stage. Your response to BenJoe kinda put me in the mind of that.

I mean, who the hell reads them anyway? It is only a very narrow group of people that ever ever ever even look at them! Lawyers, Real Estate Hustlers, Bank wonks and those who are otherwise incredibly bored. Legal Notices are really not very compelling reading to say the least.

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