Thursday, September 29, 2011

Federal Rules EBooks

CALI and the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School have worked together to produce free ebooks on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Evidence. These ebooks also work with iPads and they are hoping to release a Kindle compatible version in the future.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

MAC Malware Warning

A warning for MAC users from our EdTech Department:

A new Trojan disguises itself as a flash player installer. Bottom line: make sure you install flash player from and not from third party sites. Also, make sure that if you use Safari you have unchecked ‘Open safe files after downloading’ option under Preferences>General.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Changes to Criminal Law Key Numbers

As criminal law grows, so does the West Key Number System

New Key Numbers for Criminal Law (topic 110)

Criminal law has seen many changes in the last few years, particularly in areas such as the application of Miranda, the exclusionary rule, and the admissibility of the defendant's prior misconduct.

West's response: As of August 1, more than 400,000 headnotes have been reclassified in the West Key Number System, particularly within Criminal Law (topic 110) and Arrest (topic 35). Changes are especially significant in the following areas:

Evidence of other crimes or misconduct: The "other crimes, wrongs, or acts" rule, in its entirety, has been the subject of more appeals than any other evidence rule. David P. Leonard, Character and Motive in Evidence Law, 34 LOY. L.A. L. REV. 439, 44 (2001). Accordingly, there are now more Key Numbers covering the purposes for which evidence of other crimes or misconduct is admissible (e.g., the single Key Number for the admissibility of other crimes or prior bad acts evidence to prove motive has been expanded to 26, organized by the offense being prosecuted), more Key Numbers covering the use of such evidence to prove knowledge and identity, and newly created Key Numbers for the frequently-litigated issues of gang membership and juvenile misconduct evidence.

Confessions, statements, and admissions: Three former sections for confessions, statements, and admissions have been consolidated into a single section, so that similar concepts governing all three types of evidence are in the same place. For example, headnotes pertaining to whether a defendant is "in custody" for the purpose of Miranda warnings are now classified under a single Key Number.

Wrongfully obtained evidence: There are more Key Numbers to cover frequently litigated issues, such as the inevitable discovery and good faith exceptions to the exclusionary rule. Key numbers have also been added for exclusionary rule issues not involving searches and arrests, such as violations of privileges and attorney disciplinary rules.

For all three areas, West attorney-editors have created new Key Numbers covering specific procedural issues in the admission of such evidence, such as motions, hearings, notice, and burden of proof.

In addition, there have been many smaller changes in other topics, such as those under Schools and States relating to notice, demand, and presentation of claims.

Reprinted from the July / August issue of Westlaw Edge Newsletter.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be an important resource for finding free legal information, especially cases and law review articles. Check out our research guide for search tips and a tutorial on how to get the most out of Google Scholar for your research needs.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Judicial Humor

Although the law is generally a serious matter, there is a lighter side to the law that is all-too-often overlooked. Thanks to the team at Judicial Humor, however, you can easily keep informed on the entertaining, funny, and sometimes absurd side of the law. Divided into topics such as Humorous Plaintiffs, Parody & Verse, and Veiled References, Judicial Humor offers case names and citations, usually along with quotes from the decisions or brief recaps on why the case was included on the site.

Besides Judicial Humor, there are a few other websites dedicated to the lighter side of the judiciary as well. McClurg's Legal Humor Headquarters, for example, has a section devoted to Strange Judicial Opinions. Likewise, Say What?! hasn't been updated since March of 2010, but the archives are full of courtroom humor originally collected by U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer and published in a column for the Texas Bar Journal.

Of course, not everyone finds the idea of judicial humor amusing. According to Justice George Rose Smith, …Judicial humor is neither judicial nor humorous. A lawsuit is a serious matter to those concerned in it. For a judge to take advantage of his criticism-insulated, retaliation-proof position to display his wit is contemptible, like hitting a man when he's down. (21 Ark. L. Rev. 197, 210).

Likewise, in the note Judicial Humor: A Laughing Matter? (41 Hastings L.J. 175), Marshall Rudolph suggests that there are certain circumstances where judicial humor is out of place.

What's your take? Do you think a certain level of humor within the judiciary is acceptable? Is there some point where that acceptable humor becomes, in the words of George Rose Smith, contemptible?

Written by Marty Witt

Thursday, September 1, 2011

CALI Tutorials

Want to learn about a new area of law or review for an upcoming exam? Need to work on your legal writing or research skills? Try a CALI exercise!

The Center for Computer Assisted Legal Research (CALI) creates and distributes CALI Lessons, a library of over 850 interactive tutorials in a variety of legal subjects written by law school professors and librarians. Exercises range from about 10 minutes to several hours depending on the complexity of the topic. Students, faculty & staff at the Sturm College of Law have unlimited access to CALI tutorials and podcasts. And CALI lessons work on mobile devices like iPads and iPhones.

Register for a free CALI password at so that you can access additional features and the new material that is released throughout the year. Just use our school code to register (see the Databases / Indexes section of the Law Library's website for more information), you will need your DU ID to access. Colorado specific CALI tutorials cover both primary and secondary resources.

Or if you prefer CD-Rom access, stop by the Reference Desk or the Educational Technology office to pick up your own copy of the current CALI exercises on disk.