Articles Posted in General Legal Research Resources

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Nation book review: Why Does Our Justice System Fight So Hard to Keep Innocent People Behind Bars? Mark Godsey was a “prosecutor’s prosecutor” who didn’t think there were any innocent people in prison. Then he began supervising his law school’s Innocence Project, and realized his assumptions were all wrong” by Joshua Holland, in The Nation, January 24, 2018:

Excerpt:

“In the criminal-justice system romanticized by Hollywood films, those convicted of crimes are generally guilty. And a protagonist need only prove that someone’s been wrongly imprisoned to get them freed by a judiciary that values truth and justice….

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It’s not an insult, although it could be.

I ran across the word in a recent Christopher Fowler Bryant and May novel (this one was Wild Chamber, but they are all excellent! – each one different, each one fall over funny, dark, wise, and each will make you say, “you too!” when you read/hear Fowler gently poke a stick at the ridiculous, the incomprehensible, the rubbish-talkers) and looked up the word “quango.” Good word, isn’t it, you quango, you.

Anyway, it’s an acronym (which can be distinguished from an abbreviation, in case you thought the two were synonyms – they are not (and for extra credit, the words amuse and bemuse are not synonyms either to the “strictly speaking” among us, although you can render someone bemused by using the two words interchangeably)).

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Net Neutrality” is not an issue of first impression: there are several decades’ worth of federal statutes, legislative history,  and administrative and regulatory laws, federal court opinions, federal-state preemption issues, and Congressional, political, and campaign finance issues to comprehend – and a rich and long scholarly (and non-scholarly) bibliography to peruse. (You can search: net neutrality bibliography research guides – or variations on that search string – and look for documents on net neutrality from authoritative sources that have been updated regularly.)

This podcast (from Radio Survivor) tackles all of the above in ordinary language, assuming you are a little geeky, a little wonky, and a lot interested in learning how FCC regulations are made – and unmade.

The interviewer is no lawyer and asks common sense questions (that sometimes make no sense – and that’s OK!) and the law professor does a masterful job interpreting and responding to the questions and speaking plain language. They are a terrific team.

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The MULTNOMAH COUNTY HOME RULE CHARTER [Amendments Approved November 8, 2016], states:

“12.40. Appointment of Committee Members.

The charter review committee shall be composed as follows:

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Your State of Oregon Law Library give you FREE access to NOLO publications and the FASTCASE legal research database:

NOLO (aka Nolo Press): “NOLO provides access to full-text legal reference publications written for consumers that allow individuals to learn about specific topics of law.

FASTCASE: “Fastcase collection includes the United States Code, United States Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Cases; and cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, constitutions, attorney general opinions, and session laws for Oregon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington.

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If you think the U.S. Supreme Court posts official versions of their opinions on their website … hahaha … I have a virtual bridge and an inside WH or Congressional source to sell you for $1B dollars. (Tip: Beware of any source who charges too much or too little and read those disclaimers, e.g. click on “Latest Slip Opinions.)

If you think that is the only problem with online Supreme Court opinions, guess again: what about their link rot? See e.g.:

NYT article, “In Supreme Court Opinions, Web Links to Nowhere,” by Adam Liptak, Sept. 23, 2013.

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People like “free.’ People like getting free content from other people who paid for the content. Long live the free-loader, long live the person who spends $20 in time and gas looking for a free parking spot instead of paying $10 for a paid space! It’s the principle, isn’t it?

But sometimes getting “free” is about the journey and the satisfaction earned when putting one’s search skills to the test. Here’s one way to do both, from Aaron at Musings about Librarianship:

5 services to help researchers find free full text instantly & a quick assessment of effectiveness

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End of Term Archive: US Federal Web Domain at Presidential Transitions (Today’s Internet Archive link.)

Other sources of Obama Presidency digital archives can be found at the Obama Whitehouse Archives website. (Today’s Internet Archive link.)

Research Tip: Additional official and unofficial digital archived webpages and other sources of presidential documents exist or will soon come into existence. Check the usual suspects: Presidential libraries, Library of Congress, National Archives, branch of government archives (e.g. Judiciary, Congress, Executive), the Internet Archive, HathiTrust, university libraries and archives, nonprofit legal and government information databases, fee-based legal and government information databases, and librarians everywhere.

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The Legal Research is Easy blog post, Hone Those Research Skills, is California-based, but the lessons it teaches apply to law students in every state where public law libraries are supported. Be a good money manager, and get smart: seek out free and cheap legal research resources, human, print, and digital:

Excerpt:

A while back, I read an article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal (Bar proposes revised practical skills requirements) by Lyle Moran that caught my eye. Apparently, the California Bar Association wants to include 10 hours of “practical” legal instruction while law students are still in school. While the article did not say what specific skills the Bar want’s new attorneys to focus, might I offer a suggestion? Might I propose that in that 10 hour mix, law students spend at least three (3) hours at their local county law library to see what exactly their local county law library has to offer.

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If nothing else, lawyers and judges care about what words mean:

SPORTS: What Exactly Is ‘Locker-Room Talk’? Let an Expert Explain,” by Bill Pennington, Oct.10, 2016, New York Times:

“….Having just left the locker room after his team’s victory over the Broncos in Denver on Sunday night, Tamme wrote: “I showered after our game but I feel like I need another one after watching the debate.” [Link to NYT article.]