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Public Pad Latest text of pad M41tvej2zp Saved April 14, 2013

 
     
Welcome to this DC Code hackathon. 
The Code is basically a collection of DC's laws.
 
What's next?
 
ADD YOUR IDEAS!
 
Open (hard) questions: 
 
Question: What the heck is the difference the DC Code and the Municipal Register (MR)?
 
Answer: 
The DC Code is composed of compiled statutes passed by the DC Council. The MR is composed of regulations passed by an agency (or, in some cases, the Council) pursuant to authority granted by a statute. The Code grants the authority to create rules and regulations, which are then carried out into the MR.
 
Actually, there are two living documents: the "Municipal Regulations" (DCMR), and the "DC Register" (DCR). The DCMR is the regulatory equivalent of the DC Code - a complete, final hierarchy of the regulations of the District. The DC Register is where all kinds of notices get published, including *proposed* regulations that are open for public comment. Both can be browsed here: http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/ 
@tmcw has begun a parser for the DCMR here: https://github.com/tmcw/dcmr and @konklone would like to get a parser for the DC Register started here: https://github.com/openlawdc/dc-government
 
PRIMER ON HOW TO READ THE DC CODE
See below for answers to all 4 of these questions:
Question : What the heck is this thing? (see below)
Question : How is the DC Code structured? e.g. Title Section Subsection Chapter
Question : What is the typical user behaviour for someone searching the DC Code? For example Do lawyers have topic-based indexes of the code? Do they rely on search? Do they browse by facets? Chapter? Title?
Question: How is the DC Code structured? Title Section Subsection Chapter
Question: Numbered lists in the law are super weird, what order do they go in? Appears to be (a) 1 A and so on.
 
Formerly cited as DC ST 1981 § 1-101 <-- former subsection that this replaces
DC= District of Columbia
ST= Statute?
1981= Year
§ 1-101= Section 1, subsection 101 
 
District of Columbia Official Code 2001 Edition Currentness
    Division I. Government of District.
        Title 1. Government Organization. (Refs & Annos)
             Chapter 1. District of Columbia Government Development.
                   Subchapter I. District of Columbia Establishment.
This is District 1, Title 1, Chapter 1, Subchapter 1. The Text next to each of these is what that division or title is called. Technically, the use of "division, title, chapter, and subchapter" is how the Code is organized. However, the formatted domino-looking text (as appears above) is probably unique to Westlaw/Lexis Nexis' search engine. When an attorney goes into those websites to search the DC Code, they will click around to different headings and subheadings per Westlaw's system of organization, until they find what they're looking for. 
 
§ 1-101. Territorial area. <--name of this subsection
 
The District of Columbia is that portion of the territory of the United States ceded by the State of Maryland for the permanent seat of government of the United States, including the river Potomac in its course through the District, and the islands therein.
Text of subsection (what you might consider "the law")
 
CREDIT(S) dsa
 
(R.S., D.C., § 1; June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 102, ch. 180, § 1.) <-- These are the sources that were compiled into this section of the code. Since multiple acts can be compiled, the may be more than one credit, which would be separated by semicolons. This is sometimes an act of the DC Council, but it can also be an act of Congress regulating DC. An act of Congress will show up as a credit including "Pub. L.".
 
HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES
 
Prior Codifications 
Codification rearranges and displaces prior statutes and case decisions. Codification of an area of law generally constitutes the whole source that is relied upon for a legal question in that area. Thus, when a state codifies its criminal laws, the statutes contained within the new code supersede the laws that had been in place prior to the codification. 
 
1981 Ed., § 1-101.--> 1981 Edition, Section 1, subsection 1
 
1973 Ed., § 1-101.
 
Miscellaneous Notes --> exactly what it sounds like
 
Organic Act of 1878: See Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1.
 
Boundary line between District of Columbia and Commonwealth of Virginia established: See Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1.
 
DC CODE § 1-101
 
                Current through December 11, 2012                               
 
             
 
END OF DOCUMENT
 
For your reading pleasure, a short history of codification, from the days of the Ancient Greeks and Romans until now: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/codification
 
Question : What does 'Credits' mean? 
 
Answer : Essentially, this is the citation for where the law comes from. It also tells you the date the law was passed. 
Question what's a citation? 
Answer : Information about the source of a law, case, book, reference, speech that allows you to find the fuller version of the information.Citation is crediting and referring to authoritative documents and sources. 
Question:  Where can we find Historical versions of the Code? Very old law books in print? Westlaw/LN sometimes has these on PDFs, but its a bit of a research project to find them. The Library of Congress's law library may be a good place to ask. Also try Thomas, a website by COngress: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php
Qestion:  What's the functional difference between enacted and unenacted parts of the code - and how can you tell between them?
 
Question: What does this citation mean and why is it so weird?
 
Question: Why is @justgrimes on the Mapbox toilet? (+1)
 
Legal user behaviour: Lawyers, law clerks, legal librarians, researchers and others interested in this information often searching via paid subscriptions of LexisNexis & WestLaw (Legal databases holding many cases and articles), via a law library, infrequently using PACER and Google Scholar There are also a variety of free and cheap online resources, but they are generally not as comprehensive as the paid databases: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/research/guides/freelowcost.cfm
 
Question: Does the US have something like CanLii? (http://canlii.org/en/index.html)
 
Answer: First thing that came to mind is http://www.law.cornell.edu/lii/get_the_law.
 
Some court cases 'make case laws' (precedent) when they have long and useful statements by the judge but many are just boilerplate (persuasive dicta v. binding precedent) In these cases, the court is usually interpreting a statute or filling a gap left in the statute by the legislature. The higher a court is in the heirarchy, the more precedential value it will have. The court structure in DC is particularly confusing because of the number of federal courts that are also located here. 
 
> The court structure in DC is particularly confusing because of the number of federal courts that are also located here. In every jurisdiction, there are local, state, and federal courts. 
  • DC's lowest local/state court is the DC Superior Court, then DC Court of Appeals (the highest local court. There is no DC Supreme Court). The DC Superior Court also has jurisdiction to review decisions of administrative agencies, boards, and commissions of the District government, as well as to answer questions of law presented by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), a United States court of appeals, or the highest appellate court of any state. 
  • The lowest federal court within DC is the District Court for the District of Columbia (DDC), then United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (DC Cir.) (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit), and then the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS).
  • Additionally, there is the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Fed. Cir), which is unique in the US because it is limited in jurisdiction by subject matter rather than geography. IIt hears all appeals from US District Courts (the lowest federal court) on certain subject matters (i.e., appeals on certain administrative agencies, intellectual property). For more info, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Court_of_Appeals_for_the_Federal_Circuit
 
Question: Does this mean that cases are decided in federal courts in DC which would otherwise not be? 
 
Answer: To be very simplistic, cases that go to local court are ones based on local/state law. Cases that are heard by federal courts are based on federal law. However, this is very simplified. In some cases where there are both federal and state law at issue, one court may choose to hear both issues.
 
> DC CODE D. I, T. 1, Ch. 4, Refs & Annos
1-4XX.XX
 
 
Question: Why was Section 29A entirely repealed? Why exactly is a deep question, but the most likely reason is that it was either obsolete or incorporated into other sections. It looks like Title 29 covers a similar area, so that is the likely culprit.
Question: Are all repealed laws just deleted? Pretty much.
 
## For Developers
 
Projects:
 
Visualization: there's lots of possibilities and I'll throw in a few options:
 
Scrape date information, see the rate of addition/subtraction of the law
 
Treemap or partition the content (?)
 
Examples:
 
 
Parse cross-references and derive a force-directed graph
 
 
 
 
Dave Z wants up-to-date app with DC Home Rule Act, currently available only as PDF. There's an out-of-date HTML version here: http://www.abfa.com/ogc/hrtall.htm
The Home Rule Act is actually included in the DC Code (starting at 1-201) but there are some complications about how parts of it are cited (as DC Code versus parts of congressional act). I'm not entirely clear how that affects what Dave needs.
 
## For Lawyers
 
Question:
What is the difference between a statute vs law...is there a reason to include or exclude them in different applications?
Answer: Depends on how it's used. A bill (AKA an "act") is passed into law - so a passed bill can be a "law". However, when people refer to "the law" they often mean the [DC or US] Code. "statute" also can have two meanings: its lower case form usually means "the law as passed" (as distinct from the regulations as crafted). Its upper case form, the Statutes, refer to the [DC or US] Statutes at Large, which are the laws as compiled in chronological order. This is distinct from the Code, which are the laws as splintered into pieces and arranged topically. Neither "statute" or "law" are usually used to refer to "regulations", which are the executive branch's interpretation of the law/statute.
 
Question: What level of detail regarding a credit or law citation is needed for understanding how a part of the code is related to that law - is the statute # sufficient? or would it be helpful to understand the section etc.? 
Answer:Presumably, it's whatever detail level the person writing the Credits for that section of the DC Code saw fit to include. If it's just referencing a Law number, and not a section within that law, then the whole Law is probably relevant. If it includes a section, then just that section.
 
TASK: Scope out important parts of the law and figure out how to organize it properly.
 
Question: What elements would be particularly confusing to a general audience? Is there a good way to explain them?
Answer:  Worth noting that some of the less "necessary" hierarchical levels of the code - such as chapter/part/subpart - do segment the code into nice topical groups.
 
TASK: Demo professional tools for developers if you have them
 
## For Activists & Citizens
 
Choose a topic and start building a guided tour of the law. We have links
now, let's use them!
 
For instance:
 
* Bikes
* Guns
* Liquor
* Zoning
* Busking
 
Would tagging be a useful way to group topics together?
 
## For Designers
 
We've got a skeleton for a web browser interface and a smartphone app, but we
need
 
* Logos
* A 'look'
* Illustrations for concepts
Logo brainstorming 
 
## Print people
 
We should turn this back into a book!
 
Question: Could this be an ebook?
 
One potential way to do this:
 
```
JSON -> MD -> TeX -> PDF -> (print)
```
 
## DC Documents that we should ask Dave for:
* Classification table: mapping from DC statute sections -> DC code sections
* Possibly Word document that has up-to-date version of Home Rule Act
 
Home Rule Act
============
 
 
# simple text mining
 
# wordcloud