Articles Posted in Library Reference and Research

Thinking back on my fifty plus years as a practicing law librarian, I have come to believe that criminal law is one of the more humanistic of legal disciplines because it can reach people at such a personal level. Paul H Robinson* and Sarah M Robinson capture this thought in their book, “American Criminal Law: Its People, Principles, and Evolution” (Routledge 2022). It offers a refreshing take on this complex subject.

This book breaks away from dry legal jargon and  instead weaves a compelling narrative that explores the history, core concepts, and ongoing debates within American criminal law. The authors write, “Criminal law is one of the most interesting perspectives on the human adventure,… it requires us to examine how we want people to act, what we will do when they act improperly, and how we decide what we can reasonably expect of people. And to do this, we must assess what makes a successful society, what citizen protections and obligations a society should enforce, as well as the principles of justice that the community shares.”

The authors’ strength lies in their engaging, approach. Each chapter delves into a specific principle, like legality or culpability, by presenting a historical case that illuminates its foundation. This is then contrasted with a modern case, highlighting the evolution of the concept. This back- and- forth through time keeps the reader engaged and demonstrates how the law adapts to societal changes.

During the week ending March 29, 2024) we have received listings of 35 Government and Administrative Law Summaries,  18 Constitutional Law summaries, 48 Criminal Law Summaries, 5 Intellectual Property case summaries, 2 Copyright summaries, 1 Medical Malpractice Case, and 1 Internet Law case summary. We plan is to continue posting opinion summaries, under corresponding areas of law, weekly whenever possible in order to keep blog readers updated.  To gain access to these case summaries, click on the corresponding links below:

Opinion Summaries Posted for Week Ending  March 29. 2024:

Criminal Law Opinion Summaries

H.R.7156, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Financial Services on February 29, 2024.

CBO Summary:

H.R. 7156 would expand the authority of the Secret Service to investigate financial crimes. Specifically, the bill would authorize the Secret Service to investigate the operations of unlicensed money transmitting businesses—entities that provide money transfer services or payment instruments—and the structuring of financial transactions to evade reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

During the week ending March 22, 2024) we have received listings of 2 U.S. Supreme Court Cases. 30 Government and Administrative Law Summaries,  24 Constitutional Law summaries, 76 Criminal Law Summaries, 3 White Collar Summaries and 2 Internet Law case summaries. We plan is to continue posting opinion summaries, under corresponding areas of law, weekly whenever possible in order to keep blog readers updated.  To gain access to these case summaries, click on the corresponding links below:

Opinion Summaries Posted for Week Ending  March 22. 2024:

U.S. Supreme Court

A presentation by Chapin White, CBO’s Director of Health Analysis, at the David Rogers Health Policy Colloquium, Weill Cornell Medicine.

SUMMARY:

This presentation provides a brief look at Congressional Budget Office’s work related to federal spending on health care and the recent slowdown in the growth of such spending. It also discusses the types of new research that could be useful in explaining that slowdown and in answering other health-related questions for the Congress. It contains important information for all who are interested in monitoring research related to this subject.

During the week ending March 15, 2024) we have received listings of 3 U.S. Supreme Court Cases. 24 Government and Administrative Law Summaries,  22 Constitutional Law summaries, 49 Criminal Law Summaries, 4 Intellectual Property case summaries, 3 Medical Malpractice Cases, and 2 Internet Law case summaries. We plan is to continue posting opinion summaries, under corresponding areas of law, weekly whenever possible in order to keep blog readers updated.  To gain access to these case summaries, click on the corresponding links below:

Opinion Summaries Posted for Week Ending  March 15. 2024:

U.S. Supreme Court 

Eyewitness accounts, once considered a gold standard, have faced increasing scrutiny due to their susceptibility to memory errors and biases. Forensic evidence, while highly valuable, comes with its own set of limitations, such as the time-consuming nature of analysis and the potential for contamination.

Enter the age of technology, which has drastically altered the way law enforcement approaches suspect identification. Innovations in data collection, processing, and analysis have paved the way for faster and more accurate identification techniques. The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) technology has proven particularly transformative, revolutionizing the field of criminal investigations.

Eyewitness identification remains a cornerstone of criminal justice, despite its well-documented weaknesses. Human memory is fallible, susceptible to stress, suggestion, and bias. Artificial intelligence (AI) offers a potential revolution in this domain, but its impact is a double-edged sword.

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility released Formal Opinion 509 on Feb. 28, 2024.  According to the announcement,  Formal Opinion 509 provides guidance on how disqualification rules apply to both current and former government lawyers under the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. “It specifically addresses issues raised  when these lawyers know confidential government  information about a third person.”

The model rules define confidential government information as “information that has been obtained under governmental authority and which, at the time this rule is applied, the government is prohibited by law from disclosing to the public or has a legal privilege not to disclose and which is not otherwise available to the public.”

For additional discussion of Formal Opinion 509, see the recent article in the ABA Journal, Government lawyers’ use of ‘confidential information’ in private practice clarified in new ABA ethics opinion, by David L Hudson Jr.

During the week ending March 8, 2024) we have received listings of 1 U.S. Supreme Court Case. 34 Government and Administrative Law Summaries,  25 Constitutional Law summaries, 58 Criminal Law Summaries, 1 White Collar Crime case, 3 Intellectual Property case summaries, 2 Medical Malpractice Cases, and 1 Internet Law case summary. We plan is to continue posting opinion summaries, under corresponding areas of law, weekly whenever possible in order to keep blog readers updated.  To gain access to these case summaries, click on the corresponding links below:

Opinion Summaries Posted for Week Ending  March 8. 2024:

U.S. Supreme Court – Trump v. Anderson

The death penalty remains a highly contested issue in the United States, with arguments raging on both sides. However, beyond the ethical and legal debates lies a lesser-known aspect: the phenomenon of failed executions. These attempts, often characterized by prolonged suffering and technical difficulties, raise serious concerns about the very concept of a humane and constitutional capital punishment system.

Historically, the U.S. has employed various methods for execution, each with its own share of botched attempts. The electric chair, implemented in the late 19th century, witnessed numerous cases where the condemned endured extended periods of agony due to malfunctions or improper application. Lethal injection, the current primary method, has also been plagued by issues. From 2000 to 2020, an estimated 7% of all lethal injection executions were classified as botched, often involving prolonged struggles to establish an intravenous line, raising concerns about unnecessary suffering inflicted upon the condemned. It is estimated that 3% of U.S. executions in the period from 1890 to 2010 were botched.

The case of Thomas Eugene Creech in Idaho in 2023 exemplifies the harrowing realities of failed executions. Despite repeated attempts by medical personnel, a suitable vein could not be located for lethal injection, forcing the execution to be halted. This incident, like many others, highlights the inherent fallibility of the execution process where unforeseen complications can transform the intended punishment into an act of torture. In his article in Verdict discussing this case, Austin Sarat, a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College, argues that “systemic issues and denial by state officials perpetuate the cruelty and inefficiency of lethal injections, urging an acknowledgment of its failures and a cessation of its use for capital punishment”.

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