Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Prison Population in the U.S.

According to the press release, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that for the first time since it started to collect data in 1980 the adult prison population in the United States is down, as shown by the numbers for 2009.  Could this be a sign of a step in the right direction?

Although comparatively small, decreases in the probation population (down by 40,079 offenders) and the parole population (down by 5,526 offenders) were the first observed decreases since BJS began annual data collections on these populations in 1980. At yearend 2009, 4,203,967 adults were on probation, and 819,308 were under parole or other post-custody supervision.

While more than half of states reported decreases in admissions to prison, California reported the largest decline (11,122 fewer admissions), which was about four times the decline reported in any other state. The decrease in admissions in California was led by a drop in the number of parole violators returned to prison (down 9,668).

Related Statistical Reports:
Correctional Populations in the United States, 2009
This report presents data on the number of adults under some form of correctional supervision in the United States, including probation, parole, and jail and prison incarceration, at the end of 2009.

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2009
This report presents data on the number of adults under community supervision (parole and probation) at the end of 2009.

Prisoners in 2009
This annual report presents data on the number of prisoners under jurisdiction of federal or state correctional authorities as of the end of 2009.

Superheroes and the Law

If it is impossible to kill Superman or Wolverine, does trying to do so constitute a crime?  How does the Second Amendment apply to superheroes?  Can RICO be used to prosecute the Legion of Doom?  Are mutants a protected class? Who foots the bill when a hero damages property while fighting a villain? What happens legally when a character comes back from the dead?

James Dailey, an intellectual property attorney licensed in Missouri, and Ryan Davidson, an insurance attorney licensed in Indiana, answer these questions and many others in their blog Law and the Multiverse: Superheroes, Supervillains, and the Law.  Their discussion of the hypothetical legal ramifications of superhero comic book characters is thought provoking and required reading for all comic book fans in the legal community.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Federal Justice Statistics 2008

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) published the Federal Justice Statistics - 2008 statistical tables.  They are  now available in PDF or as a spreadsheet.

[It] describes criminal case processing in the federal justice system, including arrest and booking through sentencing and corrections. These statistical tables present the number of suspects arrested and booked by the U.S. Marshals Services, suspects in matters investigated and prosecuted by U.S. attorneys, defendants adjudicated and sentenced in U.S. district court, and characteristics of federal prisoners and offenders under federal supervision.

The European Library

Recently, I came across a website of the European Library.

[It] is a free service that offers access to the resources of the 48 national libraries of Europe in 35 languages.  Resources can be both digital (books, posters, maps, sound recordings, videos, etc.) and bibliographical. Quality and reliability are guaranteed by the 48 collaborating national libraries of Europe.

Read more about the library and its organization.  You may subscribe to the library's newsletter.  To learn more about the participating libraries, click here. Current library's exhibitions include Reading Europe, A Roma Journey, Napoleonic Wars, Treasures, and Buildings.

Users may browse the entire collection or by subject, or search the collection by subject or material. The advanced as well as simple searches are available.  And, something that I was impressed by, the search screen includes an option for a virtual keyboard that has 28 language keyboards for users to choose from.  The website is very clean and easy to use.

Users may also register, which now allows them to save favorites and session query history, and in the future users will  be able to save selected collections, receive email alerts concerning collections of interest, and receive email alerts concerning subjects of interest.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

FBI Releases Hate Crime Statistics for 2009

The FBI released the 2009 Hate Crime Statistics. The report including the background, collection design, data provided and participation is now available only on the FBI website.  A printable version is also available; however, according to the release, printed copies of the publication are no longer available.

[The statistics indicated that] 6,604 criminal incidents involving 7,789 offenses were reported as a result of bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability.  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Law In Film Collection Additions

Some of the most recent additions to our Law in Film Collection include A River of Waste (2009), a documentary about modern industrial system of meat and poultry production in the U.S. and elsewhere, Copyright Criminals (2010), a documentary about copyright, creativity and technological change in the hip-hop music making industry, Capitalism (2010), a documentary by M. Moore about the history of free-market capitalism in post-Reagan America, and Sin by Silence (2009), a documentary telling the story of Convicted Women Against Abuse.  Don't forget that Pace Law Library patrons may check out movies for up to five days and it is FREE.

Examples and Explanations Available Online

The popular law school study aids, Examples & Explanations, including Contracts, Federal Income Tax, Copyright, Debtor and Creditor, Evidence, Criminal Law, Property, and many others, are available online. Google has digitized the full content of many of the titles from this series. They are available on Google Books and large portions are available for free. Although the online collection does not include the most recent editions, some of the titles are as recent as 2007, 2008, or 2009.