March 26, 2011

The Jury Expert Has a New Look

The people at The Jury Expert are excited about moving to a new platrorm, Wordpress, where they can incorporate a new look and possibly some new features as well. Below is their e-mail announcing the change and providing links so you can see for yourselves. Take a look:

The e-mail:

We are too excited to wait until our next issue to get this announcement out! The Jury Expert has moved to a WordPress platform and we are ready for our close-up. We invite you to visit and see how much easier it is to find what you're looking for on our new site. One of the benefits of our new platform is we can use categories (see the right-hand side of the webpage for the category drop-down menu) to help you find what you need.

Want witness preparation? Visit our witness preparation category and find everything we've published from basic how-to's, to the implications of the Cendant ruling, or to preparing tough witnesses like narcissists.

Want voir dire? We have everything in our voir dire category from best practices for paper and pencil organization to cognitive organization strategies or to the new iPad apps.

Want technology? Visit our technology and visual evidence categories for everything from forensic animations to the iPad to RSS to persuasive ways you can use visuals to communicate your message. or

Want the latest on bias, gender, race, the internet? You know where to go. We have categories on all those topics and more. or or

Visit us now at We are still sprucing things up and uploading images but we are 95% of the way done and wanted to share it with you now. We'll have to bring the comments over bit by bit so don't worry, they will definitely be back but they are not in place now.

Visit. Read. Admire the work of our designer and programmer. And marvel at the fact that with The Jury Expert, you can improve your day-to-day practice without increasing your overhead. It's the gift of litigation advocacy from the American Society of Trial Consultants to all of you.

We publish our March/April issue the end of this month with pieces on the 'nerd' defense that made so many headlines in late February (i.e., put glasses on your criminal defendant and the jury will acquit); ADD jurors; questions about Powerpoint presentations in an article called "Beyond Bulletpoints"; new ideas to address social media's presence in the deliberation room; two new pieces on voir dire; online jury research; and a new video review of dueling iPad jury selection apps. You won't want to miss it!

In the meantime, bookmark our new address ( and come visit!

March 26, 2011

Book Review: The Fears Within: Spies, Commies, and American Democracy on Trial

TITLE: The Fear Within
SUBTITLE: Spies, Commies, and American Democracy on Trial
AUTHOR: Scott Martelle
PUBLISHER: Rutgers University Press
PAGE COUNT: 320 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-8135-4938-5 (Cloth)
PRICE: $26.95 (Cloth)

The author is a freelance journalist and writer with expertise in American history. Martelle details the 1948 arrest and trial of twelve members of the Communist Party USA who were accused of espionage and conspiracy in violation of the Smith Act, which prohibited inciting acts of force and violence against the government. He carefully describes the primary defense argument, namely, that these twelve men did nothing more than teach a doctrine and therefore the government’s case amounts to political repression. The author underscores the defense argument that the Smith Act’s constitutionality is suspect because of its inherent conflict with the First Amendment, because the allegations against the men involved no acts and therefore did not constitute a clear and present danger to the government. The Smith Act was hastily crafted during the pressure of wartime, the author notes, and was not intended to be used against those exercising their First Amendment right of free speech. Nevertheless, eleven of the men were convicted, and the author concludes that the judge’s charge to the jury was the deciding factor, as guilt rode on the defendants’ intent to overthrow the government and their use of words as a rule for action. Aimed at an academic audience and well-documented, the book is replete with analysis of the legal and political issues involved, and is thus recommended for academic, law, and larger public libraries.

Philip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Library, First Judicial District, New York, New York

March 8, 2011

Book Review: The Eichmann Trial

TITLE: The Eichmann Trial
AUTHOR: Deborah E. Lipstadt
PUBLISHER: Schocken Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
PAGE COUNT: 272 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-8052-4260-7
PRICE: $23.95

The author is a professor of Jewish Studies at Emory University and has written extensively about the Holocaust. In her new work, she details the Israeli capture and trial of fugitive Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann fifteen years after his escape from U.S. custody at the end of World War II. Lipstadt carefully shows how Attorney General Gideon Hausner called witness after witness who had directly observed the most brutal and murderous aspects of Eichmann's evil objectives and were thus able to bring the tragedy alive. She concludes the verdict was a forgone conclusion, but the sentencing was more complicated, and thus followed a contentious debate about the death penalty in a society that preaches love and compassion. Arguments for and against Eichmann's execution are described in detail, with the author noting the Court's referral of the matter to the Prime Minister and Israeli Cabinet for ultimate resolution. Aimed at an academic audience, the book is replete with references to primary source material and thus constitutes an authoritative analysis of the historical and legal issues involved in a trial of international significance. Highly recommended for students, scholars, and researchers analyzing actions and motives of war crimes perpetrators and their victims during periods of political conflict and courtroom confrontation.

Philip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Library, First Judicial District, New York, New York

March 8, 2011

Book Review: Cross Examination Handbook: Persuasion, Strategies, and Techniques

We are pleased to presnet the following review of Cross Examination Handbook: Persuasion, Strategies and Techniques by Ronald H. Clark and others as acknowledged below. The review was prepared by our Senior Law Librarian for Public Access, Theodore Pollack

Title: Cross-Examination Handbook: Persuasion, Strategies, and Techniques

Author: Ronald H. Clark, George R. Dekle, Sr., William S. Bailey

Publisher: Wolters Kluwer: Law & Business

Series: Aspen Coursebook Series

Published: 2011

Price: $39.50

“The Cross-Examination Handbook“ is a useful volume for any law student or litigator. The book and accompanying dvd are provide a trial techniques class on cross-examination and examine various cross-examination techniques and the different trial situations in which they arise (e.g. runaway witnesses or recalcitrant witnesses). To deal with these situations in court or in deposition is often a difficult task and to have a guide which provides strategies, model examinations, and sample questions is of potential great assistance to a practitioner.

This book was written by Ronald H. Clark (Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Seattle University School of Law), George R. Dekle, Sr. (Legal Skills Professor, University of Florida Law School), and William S. Bailey (Adjunct Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law). The authors provide a readily read and highly useable aid which is useful to new and experienced trial attorneys. Perhaps it is of greatest utility to new practitioners as they enter trial practice and reduce the need to learn under combat situations and consequently increase their effectiveness.

“The Cross Examination Handbook” is recommended for law libraries, litigators, and law students.

Ted Pollack, Sr. Law Librarian, New York Supreme Court, New York County Public Access Law Library

November 15, 2010

Two Book Reviews - One Author - Ron Arons

Until a few weeks ago before receiving a telephone call I had never heard of Ron Arons. During that call Mr. Arons explained that he had been following postings on this blog and wondered if I would be interested in reviewing two of his books. After some discussion I agreed to either review them myself or ask some of my colleagues to review them for posting on the Criminal Law Library blog, with the understanding that the books provided for reviewing would be added to the library collection of the New York Supreme Court Criminal Term Library of New York County and not given to me personally.

We are fortunate that two colleagues, both experienced book reviewers, were available and eager to take on these assignments. Pepper Hedden who has worked with me on special projects and reviews materials regularly for the Law Library Association of Greater New York (LLAGNY) will graduate December 2010 from St. John’s University with an MLS degree. She is a reference librarian in the law library of the New York County District Attorney’s office and is reviewing The Jews of Sing Sing the first of Mr. Arons' books listed below. Ted Pollack who is reviewing Wanted! U.S. Criminal Records: Sources & Research Methodology, also by Mr. Arons, is the Senior Law Librarian at the New York County Public Access Law Library. Ted continues to review legal materials for both the New York Law Journal and the Library Journal.

Since I am not writing any of the reviews below I will only say that as a law librarian who is always looking for useful sources of criminal records, I have already found Mr. Arons book Wanted! U.S. Criminal Records: Sources & Research Methodology useful in identifying criminal records in other jurisdictions. Unfortunately I have not yet found time to read The Jews of Sing Sing--but I will. Now on to the book reviews:
David Badertscher

Pepper Hedden's review:

The Jews of Sing Sing: Gotham Gangsters and Gonuvin
By Ron Arons
The Jews of Sing Sing proves the adage to not judge a book by its cover – or its title. This book is a lively and crystalline page-turner with something for everyone to enjoy.

Like many, Ron Arons paid little attention to the family stories he had heard over his lifetime until he found himself parentless. While disposing of the belongings of his “packrat parents”, he discovered a family tree his father had started and caught the “genealogy bug”. Having no living relatives of a proper age to ask for stories, the author began his genealogical expedition with the U.S. Census records. What he discovered raised perplexing questions. His great-grandfather had claimed to be born in three different locations. His great-grandmother’s death certificate listed a surviving husband with a name different from that of his great-grandfather. And his great-grandfather had served time in Sing Sing! He didn’t remember hearing such a story and the idea of a Jewish criminal flew in the face of his Jewish teachings to abide to a high moral value system.

Ron Arons is an award-winning researcher who invites us on his odyssey of discovery and engagingly reports the results. Over more than ten years, as he pieced together his great grandfather’ s story, he found a surprising number of other Jewish criminals from the early New York City streets especially the Lower East Side, also known as Five Points. In individual chapters, the reader is entertained with colorful descriptions of some of these Jewish criminals who had called Sing Sing “home” for a time from the mid-nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century.

Throughout the book, the author’s meticulous research in census records, prison records, newspapers, archives, books, police records, court transcripts and personal interviews is impressive. Where pieces about the underworld characters do not fit nicely together, Ron Arons suggests possible answers based on other research. The details are exquisite. Locations, names and facts are exact. The storytelling is infectious.

For instance, we meet Monk Eastman, “the first true Jewish gangster” whose “presence and influence lasted for decades”. In one recounting, Monk and his companions were unaware they were being watched by undercover detectives as they “pushed revolvers in the youth’s face and attempted to steal his stash.” One detective “like an Olympic hurdler” cleared the leg Eastman put out to trip him as he pursued the companion “in front of Lewis & Conger, a crockery and home furnishings store located at 130 W. 42nd Street.” What follows is literally a blow-by-blow account of how the officer used the companion as a shield to block the gun shots hurled by Monk until Monk’s revolver was empty and he threw it through the Lewis & Conger store window to later be used as evidence. There are dozens of other delightful stories.

We learn that Bennet’s Hotel once existed at 7th Avenue and 41st Street and a Worker’s Party of America office was located at 110 West 14th Street. Did you know that the phrase “keeping tabs” stems from card players who hired “counters” with tablets called “tabs” to count cards?

The Jews of Sing Sing tells the story of crime and vice as the decades unfold. Gambling at times was almost entirely in the hands of Jewish gangs. It seems that in 1910, 16% of the Sing Sing population was Jewish. Many were immigrants who disguised their identity by using aliases, as shown on serial arrest records or, as was common, to Americanize their names to hide their heritage. For instance, Bugsy Siegel’s true name was Benjamin Siegelbaum.

Along the way, we briefly encounter more recognizable figures such as Clarence Darrow, J. Edgar Hoover, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. On the flip side is the story of the cozy relations between the gangsters and Tamany Hall politicians, police, unions and the rich and famous as they collaborate in corruption, graft, extortion, and prostitution as well as those determined to root out crime. A successful, and corrupt, wealthy Mr. Hertz bribed a graft investigator to resign from the police force. . .and he did. Louis Shomberg, ostensibly a prominent businessman is thought to be behind crime networks in New York for decades. He was so successful is covering his tracks that in the 1960’s federal prosecutors just gave up trying convict and deport him in his advancing years.

An unusual story in the criminal context is that of Benjamin Gitlow, one of the founders of the American communist movement in the early 20th century who was charged under new sedition laws. Later he had a change of heart and testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and cooperated with the FBI in rooting out communism in America.

Researchers will appreciate the efforts Aron’s took to accurately detail the lives of the gangsters he profiled and the circumstances in which they lived. Historians, or lovers of New York history, will delight in description of the events in various decades and the city that knew them. New Yorkers and those familiar with the New York streets will be making mental pictures of City addresses and imagining the buildings and business that once occupied it. For fans of crime novels, this book is a romp. The Jews of Sing Sing will appeal to and delight many readers whatever their interests.

Pepper Hedden will graduate December 2010 from St. John’s University with an MLS degree and is a reference librarian in the law library of the New York County District Attorney’s office.

Ted Pollack's review:

Title: Wanted! U.S. Criminal Records: Sources & Research Methodology

Author: Ron Arons
Publisher: Criminal Research Press

Pages: 365

Wanted! U.S. Criminal Records” is a volume dedicated to assisting in locating current and archival material related to individuals with a criminal history. Ron Arons became interested in this area while researching a relative’s criminal past. This volume compiles a comprehensive listing of libraries, archives, and other physical locations as well as online resources that are very useful in locating criminal records. The author acknowledges that the method used to track records for and individual often varies from case to case. The apparent value in this work is the large number of resources compiled. The book is organized and covers each of the fifty states as well as the District of Columbia and the federal system. For individuals performing research in this area this book will be a highly useful tool. Nonetheless, the publisher might consider offering a digitized version with active links to websites to save users the difficulty of entering long web addresses to access online records locations. This book is recommended for special libraries, professional researchers, and individuals interested in performing research involving relatives with shady pasts.

Ted Pollack, Sr. Law Librarian, New York County Public Access Law Library

September 20, 2010

Book Review: Making Our Democracy Work, By Justice Stephen Breyer*

I often find there is little time to read all of the books I would like, or even need, to and therefore find myself resorting to book reviews. Last Sunday I read a review that to me seemd exceptional and would like to share it with you.

David Badertscher


Evolving Circumstances, Enduring Values
Published: September 17, 2010
A Supreme Court justice sees judges not as indifferent observers, but as partners in preserving American democracy.

An excerpt from the Review:

"...Breyer embraces, indeed relishes, complexity. Like a law professor, he proceeds mostly by inductive reasoning, offering specific examples — including some of the most contentious Supreme Court cases of recent years — to show how judges can patrol constitutional boundaries while, at the same time, giving people room to govern themselves. Here, as in his previous book, 'Active Liberty,' Breyer places emphasis on the purposes of statutes and of constitutional provisions, the real-world consequences of judicial decisions and the need to apply the Constitution’s basic values to changing circumstances."
*As a bonus for those who are interested, here is a link to an video/audio of Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer in conversation with Jeffrey Rosen and Pul Holdengraber on September 20, 2010 at the New York Public Library.

September 14, 2010

Selected Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports Posted September 14, 2010*

CRS Issue Statement on Terrorism
Issue Statement No. IS40398
Subjects: Terrorism
CRS Reports, 111th Congress (8/5/2010; Posted: 9/14/2010)

CRS Issue Statement on Voting and Elections
Issue Statement No. IS40405
Subjects: Elections
CRS Reports, 111th Congress (7/19/2010; Posted: 9/14/2010)

Comparison of the Current World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and the World Trade Center Health Program Proposed by Title I of H.R. 847
Report No. R41292
Subjects: Terrorism; Emergency Management; Health Policy
CRS Reports, 111th Congress (9/2/2010; Posted: 9/14/2010)

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Roles of the President, Judiciary Committee, and Senate
Report No. RL31989
Subjects: Congress; Law; Presidents
CRS Reports, 111th Congress (9/3/2010; Posted: 9/14/2010)

The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11
Report No. RL33110
Subjects: Terrorism; Defense Economics; Defense Policy; Afghanistan; Iraq
CRS Reports, 111th Congress (9/2/2010; Posted: 9/14/2010)
*Congressional Quarterly, Inc. (CQ).September 14, 2010.

September 8, 2010

Book Review:The Conservative Assault on the Constitution

AUTHOR: Erwin Chemerinsky
PUBLICATION DATE: October 5, 2010
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
PAGE COUNT: 305 pp. + index
ISBN: 978-1-4165-7468-2
PRICE: $27.00

A prolific author and law school dean, Chemerinsky brings his expertise in Constitutional law to his fifth book on the topic, as he analyzes recent trends in modern American jurisprudence which he believes are tipping the legal scales too far to the right. The author shows how historically accepted principles of American Constitutional law, such as separation of church and state, have been diluted by a new conservative mentality that is political, not legal, in nature and has thus resulted in a new brand of political jurisprudence in Constitutional law that is more an offspring of the ballot box than the natural and organic evolution of legal theory, thus allowing, for example, public displays of religious symbols that would have been banned by earlier, more liberal, courts. Chemerinsky also asserts that the implementation of the death penalty is fraught with unfair procedures and ineffective representation by counsel, conditions that are exacerbated by an increasingly conservative Federal judiciary and legislation enacted by a conservative Congress that makes it harder for individuals, even those wrongly convicted, to gain relief from the federal courts. Aimed at a scholarly audience, the author clearly makes the case that conservative ideology has invaded, and thus diluted, traditional Constitutional rights and liberties. Recommended for academic, public, and law libraries.

Philip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Library, First Judicial District, New York, New York

September 2, 2010

Digitizing the World's Laws: Authentication and Preservation

BY: Claire M Germain, Edward Cornell Law Librarian and Professor of Law Cornell University and Director, Dual Degree Programs, Paris & Berlin

Publishers Note:

Claire Germain is interested in all aspects of legal information, from rare books to digital libraries, and often writes on these topics, most recently "Digitizing the World's Laws: Authentication and Preservation." the topic of this posting. For several years she has been actively advocating for effective measures to bring about authentication and improved preservation of digital law locally, nationally, internationally, and globally.

In the United States we especially appreciate her efforts as AALL President in 2006 when she commissioned an AALL Fifty State Survey, which revealed that a significant number of the state online legal resources were deemed official, but none were authenticated by standard methods. As I write this in 2010, work continues on efforts to adopt the findings and recommendations of this Survey in all fifty states. With her paper "Digitizing the World's Laws: Authentication and Preservation", Claire Germain continues her tradition of advocacy from a global perspective.

David Badertscher

Rather than provide a lengthly discussion we have chosen to highlight the paper by presenting the following excerpts.and let you click here and enjoy reading the entire paper.

Many countries now provide online access to statutes, codes, regulations, court decisions, and
international agreements. Digital law issues that have emerged include authentication of official
legal information and preservation for long term access, particularly for born digital legal
information which has no paper equivalent. This article is part of a chapter forthcoming in
“International Legal Information Management Handbook” (Ashgate 2010).

Official and Authentic Digital Legal Sources
The terms “official” and “authentic” are sometimes used interchangeably but mean
different things. An online official legal resource is one that possesses the same status as
a print official legal resource. In the United States, for instance, the definition of an
official version of court opinions, statutes, session laws, or regulatory materials is one
“that has been governmentally mandated or approved by statute or rule. It might be
produced by the government, but does not have to be.” (American Association of Law
Libraries 2007) This definition is firmly rooted in the print world. Courts and public
officials turn to official legal resources for authoritative and reliable statements of the
law and require citation to such sources in the documents that come before them. By
itself, an online official legal resource offers no such automatic assurance.

Authenticity refers to the quality and credibility of the document. It means that the
text is provided by competent authority and that it has not undergone any alteration in
the chain of custody.2 An online authentic legal resource is one for which a government
entity has verified the content by to be complete and unaltered from the version approved
or published by the content originator. Typically an authentic text will bear a certificate
or mark certifying that the text is authenticated. The standard methods of authentication
include encryption, especially digital signatures and public key infrastructure (PKI), or
similar technologies.3 Authentication of digital law varies by country; some provide
authentication through a digital signature or PKI infrastructure, others through secure
servers and certificates (Hietanen 2007).

Authenticity matters because in an environment where online sources are replacing
official print versions of legal information, citizens need to be able to trust digital
versions of the law, in the same way that they have trusted print. Because the digital
medium is vulnerable to errors in management and control, corruption, and tampering, it
is of utmost importance to make digital legal information not only official but authentic.
What is at stake is the transmission of official documents, "the word of the law," to
future generations (Germain 1999).

As legal information systems mature worldwide, authenticity is seen as an essential
issue by some who want to guarantee the integrity of official information. There is a
great role for librarians as the research experts in providing access to legal information
and as custodians of information for the long term, in any format, print or digital. The
successful advocacy efforts of the American Association of Law Libraries in the USA
show that librarians can influence information policy decisions for the benefit of all
citizens. There is a great interest in bringing this advocacy to the international level to
develop international standards, possibly within the International Federation of Library
Associations, a major stakeholder for information policy.

August 17, 2010

Book Review: Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion

SUBTITLE: Liberal Champion
AUTHORS: Seth Stern & Stephen Wermiel
PUBLICATION DATE: October 4, 2010
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PAGE COUNT: 688 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-547-14625-7 (Paper)
PRICE: $35.00

Stern, a reporter for CQ, and Wermiel, a law professor and former WSJ reporter, team up to chronicle the career of US Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, who served on the High Bench during a tumultuous period from 1956 to 1990. Working from a repository of newly-released documents, as well as interviews with friends, family, colleagues, and Justice Brennan himself, the authors show how Brennan staked a liberal claim with the progressive side of the Warren Court during the mid-Twentieth Century, often invoking civil rights and privacy protections for minorities, women, and the working class. Especially revealing and insightful are the authors’ revelations about the inner workings of the Supreme Court, how the Justices arrive at their decisions, and the infrequent, yet riveting, confrontations between Brennan and his conservative counterparts. The book is a historian’s guide to the tactics and strategies behind many of the legal battles of the era over the extent of Constitutional rights and the legal struggles over such contentious issues as desegregation, affirmative action, school prayer, the death penalty, and abortion. Aimed at a scholarly audience; highly recommended for academic and law libraries, as well as larger public libraries.

Philip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Library, First Judicial District, New York, New York

July 21, 2010

The U.S. Intelligence Community and Top Secret America

More than a dozen Washington Post journalists spent two years developing Top Secret America, a multimedia presentation put together by compiling hundreds of thousands of public records of government organizations and private sector companies. From these records, the Washington Post identified a web of these organizations, both government and private, that are engaged in top secret work for the government. According to Dana Priest and Matthew M. Arkin, two Washington Post reporters who have written about the Project, these findings amount to "...a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight."

Here are some additional links for those interested in the Washington Post Project:

Introductory Video:

Articles by Dana Priest and William Arkn discussing the Top Secret America Project:

While the Washington Post was involved in the above project, Andrew M Borene was editing a book The U.S. Intelligence Community Law Sourcebook: A Compendium of National Security Related Laws and Policy Documents, recently published by the American Bar Association. I have not yet read this book but according to material provided by the ABA, "the Washington Post's new multimedia project on national intelligence shows just how intricate the web of agencies and laws in the United States can be, and The U.S Intelligence Community Law Sourcebook can be a great reference for making sense of it."

This book is described as a "complete guide to U.S intelligence community source material, including relevant federal statutes, intelligence authorization acts, executive orders, attorney general and the director of national intelligence guidelines, and proposed significant legislation in the U.S. intelligence community".

From information available, it certainly appears that the combination of the materials available from the Washington Post Top Secret America Project and the Compendium volume published by the ABA together comprise together provide a much needed, even essential, resource for those exploring issues related to "Top Secret America".

David Badertscher

May 26, 2010

Book Review: The Supreme Court: A C-SPAN Book Featuring the Justices in Their Own Words

SUBTITLE: A C-SPAN Book Featuring the Justices in Their Own Words
EDITORS: Brian Lamb, Susan Swain, and Mark Farkas
PUBLISHER: Perseus Books
PAGE COUNT: 372 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-38648-835-2
PRICE: $28.95

A team of C-SPAN editors has assembled a selection of interviews with current and former U. S. Supreme Court Justices, as well as Court followers, experts, and participants in the judicial process drawn from the fields of law, government, and journalism. Taken together, the interviews provide a historical overview and policy perspective of the Court which is rarely seen in current literature. The Justices pontificate on the history of the Court, its place in the structure of government, and the role of the Court in shaping modern society. Especially revealing are the discussions centered about its inner workings, such as the manner in which cases come before the Court, how they are heard, and how the Justices discuss, debate, and decide their opinions. At the end of the book are many useful reference resources, including biographies, listings, surveys, statistics, and a summary of important decisions and seminal historical events in Supreme Court history. The book is aimed at a general audience and is thus recommended mainly for public and school libraries.

Philip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Library, First Judicial District, New York, New York


We are never paid to do a review. We never accept money to review a product or service. We invest our own time to review and test products.

May 7, 2010

Ray Simon's Commentaries on the New York Rules of Professional Conduct

A publication announcemenrt from the New York Professional Responsibility Report (NYPRR)

Comparing The New York Rules of Professional Conduct
to The New York Code of
Professional Responsibility
By Roy D. Simon

A collection of ten articles- 138 pages- by Professor Simon on the new New York Rules of Professional Conduct, appearing exclusively in NYPRR and on

This handbook by Professor Roy Simon contains his exclusive commentary on the differences between the Rules and the outgoing Code. The commentary is built on a Correlation Chart developed by Professor Simon comparing each provision of the Rules with the corresponding provisions of the Code and its ECs.

Professor Simon begins with a Correlation Chart comparing the new Rules to the old Code and proceeds through a collection of brilliant articles dissecting every provision of the Rules.

Complete Handbook: 138 pages, spiral bound… $19.95

Roy D. Simon, Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics at Hofstra University School of Law. He served as vice chairman of the NYSBA Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct (COSAC), the committee which initiated the process by which the new Rules of Professional Conduct were adopted. He is editorial advisor and a monthly contributor to NYPRR.

May 7, 2010

ABA Journal Weekly Newsletter for Week

Top Ten Stories of the week ending May 7, 2010:

Stevens Explains Death Penalty Stance, Bow Ties
May 6, 2010 7:05 am CDT

Lawyers Spot Justin Bieber on Flight, But Didn't Recognize Justice Stevens
Kagan Has Her Supreme Court Interview; Short List Said to Be Shorter
As 'Troubling Indicators' Mount for 2010 Law Grads, an ABA Expert Issues a Warning
May 6, 2010 7:35 am CDT

Would-Be Law Student Sets Up Paypal Account, Asks for Tuition Donations
Law Schools
Law Dean Boycotts US News Rankings
May 5, 2010 5:30 am CDT

Bad News for Laid-Off Associates: BigLaw Is Shunning You, Recruiter Says
May 5, 2010 6:00 am CDT

First Amendment
Comedian Wins Defamation Suit Over Mother-in-Law Jokes
May 5, 2010 7:27 am CDT

Legal Technology
7th Circuit Warns of Dangers of Computers and Tequila, But Gives E-Filer a Pass
May 5, 2010 10:46 am CDT

Constitutional Law
Judge Jails Courtroom Observer for Wearing Raunchy T-Shirt
May 5, 2010 7:01 pm CDT

Business of Law
Insurers Outraged at Law Firm's Suits to Collect Very Small Amounts of Money
May 3, 2010 5:41 pm CDT

Work/Life Balance
List of Top 10 Family-Friendly Law Firms Has Only Four Repeats
May 3, 2010 7:53 am CDT

Attorney Fees
Lehman and GM Bankruptcy Charges: $2,100 for Limo Rides, $48 to Leave a Message

May 6, 2010

The State of Criminal Justice 2010

New publication from the American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section

The State of Criminal Justice 2010

Edited By Myrna Raeder

Find out recent developments and trends in the criminal justice field.

Authors from across the criminal justice field provide essays on topics ranging from white collar crime to international law to juvenile justice. This annual publication examines and reports on the major issues, trends and significant changes in the criminal justice system. As one of the cornerstones of the Criminal Justice Section's work, the publication serves as an invaluable resource for policy-makers, academics, and students of the criminal justice system alike.

The 2010 volume contains 19 chapters focusing on specific aspects of the criminal justice field, with new addition of full text and reports of all of the adopted official ABA policies passed in 2009-2010 that address criminal justice issues.

Regular Price: $29.95
Section Member Price: $24.95

8 1/2 x 10 - Paperback
360 pages
Product Code:

May 3, 2010

Book Review: Capitlal Punishment on Trial

TITLE: Capital Punishment on Trial
SUBTITLE: Furman v. Georgia and the Death Penalty in Modern America
AUTHOR: David M. Oshinsky
PUBLICATION DATE: April 14, 2010
PUBLISHER: University Press of Kansas
PAGE COUNT: 160 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-7006-1711-1 (Paper)
978-0-7006-1710-4 (Cloth)
PRICE: $14.95 (Paper)
$29.95 (Cloth)

Oshinsky , a Pulitzer-prize winning historian at the University of Texas, summarizes the tangled web of legal arguments for and against the death penalty in modern American justice. He focuses on the brief period of time during the 1970s in which capital punishment was banned by the U. S. Supreme Court, how the prohibition occurred, and how it ended as suddenly as it began. Highlighting the case that brought about the temporary halt to executions, the author details the appeal of William Henry Furman and how a deeply-divided Supreme Court concluded that a process so pervasively riddled with discrimination and arbitrary standards violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Oshinsky concludes that it was exactly this determination by the Court in 1972 that precipitated the reinstatement of the death penalty four years later by requiring the elimination of capricious and discriminatory standards from state death penalty statutes. The author describes the current Supreme Court as bitterly divided over the concept at a conceptual level, as Justices continue to struggle with the legal implications of a process that attempts to impose uniform standards and guidelines while at the same time pursues what Oshinsky believes to be an arbitrary, and thereby imperfect, formula for death that is the hallmark of the past. He argues that the issue is far from settled, as a stream of reports and findings portray the current system as racially biased, weighted against the poor, marred by substandard defense attorneys, expensive to maintain, and subject to intolerable error. The book is aimed at an academic audience and is thus recommended mainly for college, university, and law libraries.

Philip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Library, First Judicial District, New York, New York


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March 18, 2010

NCSC: @ The Center

@ the Center is the flagship e-newsletter of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). It highlights major projects, publications and conferences related to the work of NCSC.. Even though this newsletter is of redcent vintage (still Volume 1) it has already caught the attention of many in the judiciary. If you are interested in more information click here. Below are highlights of the March 2010 issue.

Volume 1, Issue 6
March 2010

Budget resource center expanded
Interactive maps show extent of cost cutting across the country

Fiscal problems continue to plague state court systems across the country. Cost-cutting measures vary from state to state, and a set of new interactive maps on the National Center for State Courts' Web site helps show which jurisdictions are being forced to make which cuts. This new addition to the Budget Resource Center (BRC) includes information on eight specific strategies adopted by the states, including furloughs, court closures, and hiking filing fees. The BRC is updated regularly with new reports and breaking news. Check back frequently to stay up to date on the latest.

Election experts give online guidance
NCSC adds Web resource center for judicial campaign oversight committees

Just in time for the 2010 elections, the National Ad Hoc Committee on Judicial Campaign Oversight - staffed by the National Center - has launched a new set of Web-based resources to aid those contemplating the establishment of such a committee. Oversight committees encourage fair play and honesty in judicial election campaigns - and also can highlight unfair campaign practices or misleading advertising when campaign rhetoric soars over the top. The new resource center includes video excerpts from presentations and panel discussions; interviews with leaders of judicial campaign oversight committees across the country; and other updated materials and resources, such as sample documents and planning tools based on common and effective practices for oversight committees.

California court leader receives Distinguished Service Award
Thirty-year career marked by service, commitment to quality of justice

Ronald G. Overholt, chief deputy director of the California Administrative Office of the Courts, has received a 2009 Distinguished Service Award, one of the premiere recognitions given by the National Center. During his tenure with the California AOC, Overholt has played a key role in achieving greater financial stability for the California Judicial Branch and has helped build an administrative, technological, and physical infrastructure that will enable the judicial branch to continue providing fair and equal justice despite future fiscal concerns. He also has worked with the Conference of Chief Justices, Conference of State Court Administrators, and National Association for Court Management to provide training sessions on the most recent innovations in court management.

NCSC officials join Lebanese judiciary at courthouse opening
Project includes administration reforms, training for court staff

Less than a year after a project aimed at modernizing the Beirut Judgment Enforcement Court began, the renovated court building was inaugurated during a March 2 ceremony in Beirut, Lebanon. NCSC President Mary C. McQueen and William G. Kaschak, vice president of the National Center's International Programs Division, traveled to Beirut for the ribbon cutting, which was hosted by Lebanese Minister of Justice Ibrahim Najjar. The courthouse renovation is part of a three-year, $8.2 million United States Agency for International Development project that is being implemented by the National Center and includes court administration reform and personnel training.

Free curriculum helps judges reduce number of repeat offenders
Program materials available online

With recidivism rates of felony offenders at unprecedented levels - nearly 60 percent according to a 2009 NCSC and Pew Center on the States report - the National Center has created a curriculum designed to help trial judges develop sentencing practices to reduce the risk of repeat offenders. Recidivism contributes to the escalating cost of state corrections, however, evidence-based sentencing has become a proven method to counter high recidivism levels. Some examples of evidence-based sentencing include focusing corrections resources on medium- and high-risk offenders rather than low-risk offenders who are not likely to reoffend; targeting services to offender characteristics that have been proven to best predict future criminality; and using swift, certain, and graduated sanctions for probation violations. The free model curriculum, titled "Evidence-Based Sentencing to Improve Public Safety and Reduce Recidivism," is available online.

The National Center for State Courts
300 Newport Avenue Williamsburg, Virginia, 23185-4147, USA

January 29, 2010

State Courts and the Economy

Volume 2 Number 1
January 7, 2010

State Courts & the Economy is an e-newsletter published by the National Center for State Courts.

Contents of this issue:

Courts Starting to Bear the Brunt of the Recession
Close Some Courthouses, But Build New Ones, Too?
Budget Cuts Go to Court
State-by-State Budget News

January 28, 2010

ABA Publication: Witness Preparation for Deposition DVD and Witness Preparation for Trial DVD

By Jan M. Spaeth Ph.D.

"These DVDs provide real assistance to counsel in guiding witnesses through what can be a scary prospect. Not preachy or intimidating, these videos set just the right tone in providing guidance while inspiring confidence. After watching one of these programs, a witness should be much better prepared."
--Philip R. Higdon, Esq., Perkins, Coie, Brown & Bain, P.A.

ABA Descriptive Material:

Now, one of the nation's leading authorities on jury research and witness preparation, nationally-recognized litigation consultant Jan Mills Spaeth, Ph.D., has created two essential DVDs to thoroughly instruct your witnesses in preparing for their upcoming depositions and testimony.

Your witness only needs to watch these DVD's to be fully prepared for their trial or deposition! This 2-DVD set contains one 45 minute DVD focused exclusively on preparing the witness for a deposition, and another for preparing witnesses for trial. A take-home booklet will further reinforce the lessons learned.

Both feature sample questions, positive and negative responses--some filmed in an actual courtroom setting, and stress the essentials for a credible, convincing testimony. If you need to prepare witnesses for trial or deposition, this essential tool will save you time and money--and will help you make sure it's done right!

Product Details:

Regular Price: $399.95
ABA Member Price: $379.95

©2008 - 2 DVD Set
plus 2 booklets

Product Code:

January 28, 2010

Aspen Publication: Civil RICO Practice Manual Third Edition

by Paul A. Batista, Esq.

Eligible for Free Standard Shipping on U.S. Prepaid Orders

List Price: $280.00 / ISBN: 9780735567825 / Looseleaf: 792 pages


According to Aspen Publications, Civil RICO Practice Manual, Third Edition, serves as a comprehensive resource to which attorneys for plaintiffs and defendants, judges, professors and students turn for information encompassing the full array of issues relating to RICO. An analytic and practical resource of high value to any attorney practicing in this area, Civil RICO Practice Manual provides comprehensive coverage of the Act and its various judicial interpretations, while at the same time taking the litigator through all aspects of RICO-based litigation—from the complaint, through trial and appeal. The following features are also emphasized.

This resource supplies the forms and models you need to practice

Provides model complaints and other forms you need to prosecute or defend a claim

Keeps you current with the latest applications or bases for civil RICO claims including copyright infringement

Delivers the latest case law and analysis on RICO, including U.S. Supreme Court cases

Facilitates your understanding of special issues unique to civil RICO, including the Person/Enterprise standard, which holds persons employed by the enterprise responsible for damages caused by prohibited RICO activities

This new Third Edition of Civil RICO Practice Manual adds an important dimension: a meaningful discussion of the criminal uses and scope of RICO. The language of the RICO statute applies equally to civil cases and criminal indictments. As a result, U.S. Supreme Court and appellate decisions rendered in criminal RICO cases almost invariably have meaning for civil racketeering litigation.