May 27, 2009
Should the Criminal Justice System Give Special Treatment Based on Family Ties?
In Privilege or Punish: Criminal Justice and the Challenge of Family Ties (Oxford UP, Mar. 2009), Dan Markel (Florida State), Jennifer Collins (Wake Forest) and Ethan Leib (Hastings) argue that in many circumstances there are simply too many costs to the criminal justice system when it gives special treatment based on one's family ties or responsibilities.
Privilege or Punish breaks new ground by offering an important synthetic view of the intersection between crime, punishment, and the family. After analyzing how the American criminal justice system addresses a defendant's family status and how should a defendant's family status be recognized, if at all, in a criminal justice system situated within a liberal democracy committed to egalitarian principles of non-discrimination, the authors offer innovative policy recommendations that will be of interest to anyone interested in the improvement of our criminal justice system. HIghly recommended for all academic law libraries. [JH]
Reminder: Registation Deadline for The Shared Electronic Resource Understanding Webinar is June 5
"The Shared Electronic Resource Understanding (SERU): Can It Work in My Library" webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, June 9, 2009, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm (Eastern Time). The presenters, Karla Hahn, Assistant Executive Director of the Association of Research Libraries and Judy Luther, President of Informed Strategies, who served together as co-chairs of the NISO Working Group that developed SERU, will discuss how libraries and publishers can forgo negotiating traditonal licensing agreements for e-resources in favor of using a set of “common understandings”. Topics to be covered in the webinar include:
- Learn about what SERU is and how SERU is used in practice.
- The legal implications of SERU.
- Is SERU feasible in the law library setting?
Registration must be complete by June 5 (5:00pm Central). Space is limited. [JH]
May 26, 2009
Opening: Reference Librarian, George Washington University Law School Law Library
The George Washington University Law School, Jacob Burns Law Library seeks a librarian to provide legal reference and research assistance to the law school community and other library patrons. Responsibilities include participating in daily reference desk duties, performing legal research projects, participating in the faculty liaison program, drafting legal research guides, participating in collection development, and planning and mounting library exhibits. Some evening and/or weekend reference services are required.
BASIC QUALIFICATIONS: ALA‐accredited MLS (or equivalent) and ABA‐accredited JD (or equivalent) or completion of degree requirements by August 31, 2009. PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS: General legal reference background; excellent oral and written expression that demonstrate an ability to instruct and educate; strong interpersonal skills that demonstrate collaboration and teamwork; and demonstrated superior customer service skills.
Review of applications will begin June 25, 2009, and continue until the position is filled. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and the names of three professional references via email to LLEE@law.gwu.edu, postal mail to Leslie Andrea Lee; The George Washington University Law School, Jacob Burns Law Library; 716 20th Street, NW; Washington, DC 20052; or fax to 202‐994‐1430. Only complete applications will be considered.
The George Washington University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.
Tomorrow's Reconsidering Social Media Webcast
Topic: Reconsidering Social Media
Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Time: 10am PT, San Francisco
Presented by: Sam Lessin, Joshua-Michele Ross
This free O'Reilly webcast will be a discussion of the deeper uncertainties surrounding society's great, headlong rush into the Social Web, such as:
- How will social technologies affect privacy?
- What is the potential for these tools to get used/abused by government and corporations?
- What are the implications for society in a totally networked world?
Register here. [JH]
Kudos to HeinOnline, Cheryl Nyberg and Carol Boast
AALL has selected HeinOnline’s Subject Compilations of State Laws Database for the 2009 AALL Best New Product Award. [Announcement] HeinOnline converted Cheryl Nyberg and Carol Boast's Subject Compilations of State Laws publication into an online, searchable database. Congratulations! [JH]
California Upholds Gay Marriage Ban
The California Supreme Court upheld the voter initiative on gay marriage this morning. The Court's web site appears to be overwhelmed at this point. I'll post a link to the opinion later on today as traffic calms down. [MG]
Update: The opinion is here. Same-sex marriages performed before the ban went into effect are valid.
Supreme Court Overturns Long Time Police Interrogation Rule
Obama Picks Sotomayor for Supreme Court
Early Reviews of WolframAlpha for Legal Research
Call it a fact search engine or a knowledge search engine, WolframAlpha is creating quite a buzz and rightly so. [Blog | Community] The recently launched computational search engine creates data sets from search results on the fly. The results are impressive. Dan Giancaterino, Internet Librarian, Jenkins Law Library, calls it his new favorite business search tool. But early reviews indicate WolframAlpha isn't ready for legal research, at least not yet. Legal Informatics Blog reports:
Currently, WolframAlpha seems unable to answer legal questions, whether they concern identifying primary law or applying law to facts.
Currently, WolframAlpha seems unable to answer most factual questions (even statistical questions) about U.S. courts or U.S. judges.
Search Examples. In a comment to a Legal Informatics Blog post, LLB Contributing Editor, Rob Richards reported that WolframAlpha could not answer four questions he put to the SE:
(1) What is the rule against perpetuities?
(2) What is the statute of frauds in the uniform commercial code?
(3) What is the statute of limitations for murder in Pennsylvania? and
(4) If I am a director of a Delaware corporation, can my liability for breach of duty of care be limited?
Greg Lambert received similar results to questions including:
(1) Number of lawsuits filed against Exxon
(2) Patents held by IBM
(3) General Counsel of Wal-Mart
(4) Chairman of Skadden Arps
On 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, Lambert writes, "in fairness, WolframAlpha is in its infancy and isn't claiming to be a legal research tool at all. No one should expect it to answer all of these questions right out of the box, but I'm hoping that it can develop and expand its data collection abilities to begin answering some of these types of questions. To me, the 'patents' question seems like something that can be integrated into the WolframAlpha database without much difficulty."
Patents, a great idea. Plus all sorts of topical litigation and compliance statistics generated by federal and state agencies and courts. Citation indexes? For more, follow the discussion of WolframAlpha & legal research on the Law Libraries and Librarians Ning Forum.
WolframAlpha Reviews. More generally, see Danny Sullivan's review, Impressive: The Wolfram Alpha “Fact Engine" and Read/Write Web's Wolfram Alpha in Action: Our Screenshots. The Berkman Center posted the below video of Stephen Wolfram's public demo of WolframAlpha. [JH]
2009: The Year of Hunkering Down in Legal Technology
In the ABA's Law Practice Today, Dennis Kennedy identifies eight key trends in legal technology for 2009. His forecast is grim. Kennedy writes, "I’m actually quite pessimistic about what we’ll see in legal technology, even though I’ve tried to take a more positive outlook in this article than what I might say to you in private."
Kennedy's Legal Technology Trends for 2009
1. Technology budgets get decimated
2. Making do with what you have or doing more with less
3. The mobile phone as platform
4. Looking to the cloud
5. Using tech to get the word out and the money in
6. Focus on client-focused technology
7. E-Discovery in still waters
8. The perfect storm for collaboration
Kennedy's conclusion: "while many hunker down with eyes closed and narrow their perspectives, big changes will be taking place under the surface and this is the year to take some time and think some bigger thoughts. Hunker down, but keep your eyes and ears, and your mind, open." [JH]
ABA TECHSHOW's 60 Sites in 60 Minutes
This year's presentation was conducted by Jim Calloway, Lincoln Mead, Laura Calloway and Barron Henley. List with links here. [JH]
President Signs Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act
President Obama signed the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, H.R. 627, into law on May 22, 2009. [Open Congress]. The Act prohibit a creditor from increasing any annual percentage rate of interest (APR) applicable to the existing balance on an open end consumer credit card account unless specified conditions are met. Most of the reforms will go into effect on Feb. 22, 2010, roughly four months before similar Federal Reserve protections. Also in the Act, but unmentioned in the White House fact sheet: a provision that makes it legal to carry loaded guns in national parks. See also CCH's white paper, Credit Card Reform: An Analysis of the Credit CARD Act. [JH]
May 25, 2009
Ask Not Documents the Political Battles that Led to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy
This year's Memorial Day LLB post features the trailer for Independent Lens' Ask Notwhich premieres on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 on PBS. From the description: "As wars rage in the Middle East, the U.S. military is eager for more recruits––unless you happen to be openly gay. ASK NOT explores the tangled political battles that led to the infamous “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and reveals the personal stories of gay Americans who serve in combat under a veil of secrecy." And who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. [JH]
May 24, 2009
Judicial Confirmation Network Launches SCOTUS Nominee Attack Ads
The Judicial Confirmation Network is taking aim at three potential Supreme Court nominees in attack ads posted on YouTube. See Obama’s Frontrunners where you can also vote on which of Obama's frontrunners is "the worst liberal judicial activist" and make a donation. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Circuit Court Judges Sonia Sotomayor and Diane Wood are the targets of this conservative group. "[T]he group pulls no punches, hitting on hot-button confirmation issues such as abortion rights, religious expression, racial bias and the military" writes DC Dicta blog.
Justice Oprah. Meanwhile, nearly one in four Democrats thinks television personality Oprah Winfrey would make a good Supreme Court justice according to a recent Fox News opinion poll. About the poll, CQ Politics says, "the survey was silent on whether Obama should nominate Dr. Phil McGraw, whose expertise in clinical psychology could come in handy in rounding up five-justice majorities in close cases." [JH]