Tuesday, January 26, 2010

President's State of the Union Address

President's State of the Union Address is scheduled for Wednesday, January 27, 2010, at 9:00 pm EST. Tune in on your TVs, via the White House YouTube Channel, or live webstream to a free iPhone application.

When President Obama walks into the Capitol on Wednesday to deliver his State of the Union speech, millions of American viewers will tune in. It is a unique moment for the President to address the public on a broad spectrum of issues, including economic recovery and job creation. Of course, many Americans will react to the speech with questions, comments, and concerns.

After the President's speech begins this Wednesday (1/27) at 9pm EST, anyone will be able to submit a follow-up question and vote on others at YouTube.com/CitizenTube. Then next week, the President will answer questions in a special online event, live from the White House.

Bar Exam Prep iPhone App

Via the Robert Ambrogi's Law Sites, the currently most expensive iPhone application (at $999.99) is the complete California Bar Exam Preparation available via an iPhone Application.

The app is over 1 gigabyte in size, which is the largest application I’ve ever seen. It includes thousands of pages of materials as well as hundreds of hours of audio lectures. It’s all the information you could ever want for the two-month course. And again, it can be done all on your iPhone. That said, if you do want some more tangible paperwork for certain sections, BarMax will send you that electronically as well. ~ TechCrunch


OpenJurist is a new collaborative initiative to provide a

resource for access to the case law of the United States. Our organization believes that because the laws of the land are in the public domain, they should be accessible by the public without restriction and especially without charge. Our collection includes approximately 647,000 opinions and other transactions from the United States Supreme Court, beginning with the first session in 1790; and Lower Federal Courts, as published in the Federal Reporter beginning in 1880.

Users may browse or search the United States Code, 647,000 opinions from the United States Supreme Court, and opinions from the lower federal courts, particularly the United States Court of Appeals, as published in the First, Second, and Third series of the Federal Reporter.

Users may also become Facebook Fans of OpenJurist, vote in daily pole, subscribe via RSS feed, and experiment with the new OpenJurist browser Add-on. Check it out!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sexual Victimization In Juvenile Facilities Reported By Youth, 2008-2009

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, published a recent report on the Sexual Victimization In Juvenile Facilities Reported By Youth, 2008-2009.

Presents data from the 2008-09 National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC), conducted in 195 juvenile confinement facilities between June 2008 and April 2009, with a sample of over 9,000 adjudicated youth. The report provides national-level and facility-level estimates of sexual victimization by type of activity, including youth-on-youth sexual contact, staff sexual misconduct, and level of coercion. It also includes an analysis of the experience of sexual victimization, characteristics of youth most at risk to victimization, where the incidents occur, time of day, characteristics of perpetrators, and nature of the injuries. Finally, it includes estimates of the sampling error for selected measures of sexual victimization and summary characteristics of victims and incidents. The report and appendix tables provide a listing of results for sampled state and large locally or privately operated facilities, as required under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79). Facilities are listed alphabetically by state with estimated prevalence rates of sexual victimization as reported by youths during a personal interview and based on activity in the 12 months prior to the interview or since admission to the facility, if shorter.

New Addition to the Science and Technology Blogs at USA.gov

The Science and Technology Blogs at the USA.gov has been recently updated by a new link to NASA blogs. Check it out yourself. Also, don't forget you can subscribe to updates at USA.gov via email or RSS feeds.

Sunny Schwartz, Author Of "Dreams from the Monster Factory," At Pace

The Pace Law School is holding its Nineteenth Dyson Distinguished Lecture, Can Prisons Make Us Safer?: Restorative Justice and Criminal Justice Reform, on Monday, January 25th, 2010 at noon in the Lecture Hall of the New York State Judicial Institute. The featured speaker is Sunny Schwartz, Esq., Program Administrator at the San Francisco Sheriff's Department and founder of the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP).

Sunny Schwartz has just written a highly acclaimed book, "Dreams from the Monster Factory," about her experiences working with inmates in the San Fransisco jail system.

In 1997, discouraged with this country's contemporary approach to 'rehabilitation' for inmates, she launched the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project which draws upon the philosophy of Restorative Justice to bring together victims and offenders.

RSVP unites diverse community organizations and individuals to collaborate on the first-in-the nation correctional program offering services to everyone harmed by violence: victims, offenders and communities. - Sunny Schwartz, Esq.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Law Library of Congress is on YouTube and iTunes

Via the Law Library of Congress, News and Events, the Law Library of Congress can now be found on YouTube and iTunes. The Law and the Library play list is available here. To find videos in iTunes, search Law Library of Congress and select the "Law and the Library" iTunes series, which is available here.

Law and the Library is a series of debates and discussions on a wide variety of contemporary legal issues. The series presented by the Law Library of Congress ranges from talks by current or former Members of Congress to pressing foreign, comparative, and international legal issues.

The YouTube Channel links to the library's webcasts, podcasts, motion pictures, list of RSS feeds, and digital collection. Users may also directly subscribe to the Library of Congress YouTube channel.

Drafting More Understandable Jury Instruction

Via the (new) legal writer, Raymond Ward posted How to draft more understandable jury instructions.

Jury instructions are too often so poorly written that even the most intelligent juror cannot understand them. That’s a serious problem. So how can we make jury instructions more understandable? Prof. Peter Tiersma offers many concrete suggestions in this article, available for free download on SSRN. If you’re a trial judge or trial lawyer, you need to read it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Webcast Of Kellogg Lecture On Jurisprudence Available

Via the Law Library Of Congress: News and Events, the webcast of Kellogg lecture on Jurisprudence, which took place on the 26th of October, 2009, is now available.

The Law Library hosted the inaugural Frederic R. and Molly S. Kellogg Biennial Lecture on Jurisprudence. This year's speaker was Ronald Dworkin, Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London and the New York University School of Law.

The Death Penalty in 2009: Year End Report

The Death Penalty Information Center released its The Death Penalty in 2009: Year End Report, noting that

[d]eath sentences continued to decline in 2009, with this year having the fewest death sentences since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Death sentences reached a high of 328 in 1994 and have dropped 63% in the past decade. The number of new death sentences for the year is projected to be 106, the seventh straight year of decline.

The drop in death sentences was particularly pronounced in Texas and Virginia, the two leading states in carrying out executions. During the 1990s, Texas averaged 34 death sentences per year and Virginia averaged 6. This year, Texas had 9 death sentences and Virginia one.

You can also listen to the Death Row Cases Decline in 2009, discussing this report, that aired on January 4th, 2009 as the morning show on the National Public Radio (NPR).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New From USA.gov

USA.gov, the website for federal government information, has recently added two new links to its State Government page:

1) State governors' most recent "State of the State" addresses, which address each governor's legislative initiatives and budget priorities (previous speeches are archived back to 2000); and

2) The President's 2010 Budget and State-by-state fact sheets from the White House Office of Management and Budget that show how the Budget is expected tol affect each state.

On the USA.gov home page, there is also a new link to the Transportation Security Administration's Heightened Flight Security Measures following the December 25 incident aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

50 Best Websites 2009

The TIME featured a post listing 50 Best Websites 2009 including sites such are Flickr, Delicious, Metafilter, Twitter, Skype, YouTube, Wolfram|Alpha, Hulu, Vimeo, Amazon, Kayak, Netflix, and many others. Check out the full list.

Felony Sentences In State Courts, 2006

The Bureau of Justice Statistics posted Felony Sentences In state Courts, 2006 - Statistical Tables compiled by Matthew R. Durose, Donald Farole, Sean P. Rosenmerkel.

[This report] presents findings from the 2006 National Judicial Reporting Program (NJRP), which compiles detailed information on the sentences that felons receive in state courts nationwide and on characteristics of the felons. The survey excludes federal courts and state or local courts that do not adjudicate adult felony cases. The tables in this publication provide data on the number of felony offenders in state courts, sentences received, demographic characteristics of convicted felons, and types of convictions. The report also covers comparisons to felony sentences in federal courts, using data from the Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP). The 2006 NJRP was based on a sample of state courts in 300 counties selected to be nationally representative. The survey included only offenses that state penal codes defined as felonies. Felonies are widely defined as crimes with the potential of being punished by more than 1 year in prison. NJRP surveys have been conducted every 2 years since 1986.

Immigration Law Primer

From the Federal Judicial Center, this monograph, by Michael C. Scaperlanda, provides an introduction to and overview of immigration law.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Library of Congress Puts Thousands of Historic Books Online

With a little bit of a delay, the December 24, 2009 press release announced that Library of Congress has put thousands of historic books online.

Washington — Nearly 60,000 books prized by historians, writers and genealogists, many too old and fragile to be safely handled, have been digitally scanned as part of the first-ever mass book-digitization project of the U.S. Library of Congress, the world’s largest library. Anyone who wants to learn about the early history of the United States, or track the history of their own families, can read and download these books for free.

'The Library chose books that people wanted, but that were too old and fragile to serve to readers. They won’t stand up to handling,' said Michael Handy, who co-managed the project, which is called Digitizing American Imprints.

'Many of these books cover a period of Western settlement of the United States — 1865–1922 — and offer historians a trove of information that’s otherwise tough to locate,' he said. Books published before 1923 are in the public domain in the United States because their U.S. copyrights have expired.

More information is available in a Library of Congress video.

New On LLRX - Google Scholar For Legal Materials

We already blogged about the Google Scholar newest edition - the ability to search for legal decisions and related legal materials, such are legal periodicals. LLRX.com added a review of the Google Scholar: A New Way to Search for Cases and Related Legal Publications, by Courtney Minick and David Tsai. Check it out!

New Website By DOE

The Department of Energy launched a new website, Open Energy Information (OpenEI).

The Open Energy Information is a platform to connect the world's energy data. It is a linked open data platform bringing together energy information to provide improved analysis, unique visualizations, and real-time access to data. OpenEI follows guidelines set by the White House’s Open Government Initiative , which is focused on transparency, collaboration, and participation.

The website allows users to browse sections on buildings, clean energy economy, incentives, international clean energy analysis, smart grid, solar, and U.S. OpenLabs. Users can easily contribute to the website and share the information provided on the website. Geographic categories are divided by states, congressional districts, cities, counties, and countries.

2009 Year-End Report On the Federal Judiciary

Chief Justice John Roberts issued the 2009 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary, stating:

The courts are operating soundly, and the nation’s dedicated federal judges are conscientiously discharging their duties....

The report includes an Appendix listing and discussing the workload statistics for the United States Supreme Court, the Federal Courts of Appeals, the Federal District Courts, the Bankruptcy Courts, and the Federal Probation and Pretrial Service Systems.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stay Informed About New Legislation

Via the Law Library of Congress, if you would like to stay informed about what legislation has passed Congress and is awaiting the president's signature, you can do so by subscribing to RSS feeds or via email alerts. The following are some topics for which RSS feed or email alerts are available:
  • THOMAS: Bills Presented to the President (RSS or email)
  • THOMAS: Daily Digest (RSS or email)
  • THOMAS: House Floor Today (RSS or email)
  • THOMAS: Senate Floor Today (RSS or email)
Click here to view the complete list of all RSS feeds available and all topics for which alerts can be sent via email.

Crime In The United States

The Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, posted Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report for the months of January to June of 2009.

Preliminary figures indicate that, as a whole, law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation reported a decrease of 4.4 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention for the first six months of 2009 when compared with figures reported for the same time in 2008. The violent crime category includes murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The number of property crimes in the United States from January to June of 2009 decreased 6.1 percent when compared with data from the same time period in 2008. Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Arson is also a property crime, but data for arson are not included in property crime totals. Figures for 2009 indicate that arson decreased 8.2 percent when compared to 2008 figures from the same time period.