Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bing versus Google

Law librarians don't necessarily mind Google as a legal research tool---the issue is more about law researchers knowing why they are using Google. Is it really getting you the best result or is it simply returning results that you then force into an answer to your legal question? It's like that adage, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

If you've yet to discover the glories of ProQuest, HeinOnline, or even LLMC, at least do yourself the favor of discovering whether you truly prefer the search results produced by Bing or Google. With BingItOn, you can run five different searches and blindly compare the search results to see whether you're getting what you're looking for more often with Bing or with Google. Think of it as the modern equivalent of the Pepsi Challenge.

In the end, you may prefer Google's search results after all, but at least you'll know the capabilities of those other tools in your research toolbox should you need them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Latest on Conferences, Colloquia, and Calls for Papers

Anyone looking for legal scholarship and conference opportunities should be sure to check out the Legal Scholarship Blog. Moritz Law Library has recently become a contributor to the blog which aims to notify folks (primarily faculty) of upcoming opportunities for professional development in the form of conferences, colloquia, workshops, symposiums, and calls for papers.

If you're not a law professor, consider using the blog to stay current on the latest trends in legal scholarship and legal fields that might pique your professional interests. Occasionally the calls for papers accept submissions from law students or are not exclusively directed toward faculty, so if you're looking for a way to stand out in the job-hunting crowd, consider responding to a call for papers posted on the blog.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whitey Bulger's Girlfriend Pays Fine

Back in June, we discussed James "Whitey" Bulger's girlfriend, Catherine Grieg, sentenced to eight years in prison for identity fraud and harboring a fugitive.  She was also fined $150,000, and paid the full amount last week.

Whitey Bulger is awaiting trial.  It is currently scheduled for March of 2013, and Bulger is expected to testify in his own defense.

Boston Globe

Monday, September 24, 2012

National Punctuation Day!

And in other news, it's National Punctuation Day!

I have several favorite go-to websites for on-the-fly grammar and punctuation advice, including the following:

1. Grammar Girl's quick and dirty tips (my favorite: the difference between less and fewer); and

2. Cornell's Bluebook, briefly.

For those of you agonizing with footnotes by dealing with en dashes, em dashes, and the section symbol, do yourself a favor and customize your shortcut keys. When I was a journal editor in law school, I reassigned the keys so that the en dash was Ctrl + k and the section symbol was Ctrl + y. No more arduous, multi-step process to illustrate inclusive number sets! (Hmm...could this enthusiasm for grammar explain why I became a law librarian?)

What Happens When the Amish Go to Prison?

If a person with religious beliefs and practices that could conflict with the restrictions of prison is sentenced, how are his or her beliefs and practices accomodated? Must they be? offers a brief explainer in light of the Amish beard-cutting case.

For analysis concerning the prisoner provisions of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), check out Chapter 7 of the e-book Religious Free Exercise and Contemporary American Politics: The Saga of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons ACT of 2000. Notably, the case that upheld the constitutionality of the incarceration provisions, Cutter v. Wilkinson, originated in Ohio.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Verdict in Amish Beard-Cutting Trial

After 37 hours of deliberations, the jury found Samuel Mullet guilty of conspiracy and hate crimes for exhorting his followers to cut off the hair and beards of other Amish.  Fifteen of Mullet's family members and other followers were found guilty of related crimes.  Sentencing will take place on January 24.

Cleveland Plain Dealer

New York Times

CBS News

Friday, September 21, 2012

Books as Art

"Artists' books" are books that have been transfigured or conceived of as works of art. For some incredible examples, take a look here.

If you're looking for a study break, wander over to Thompson Library next Tuesday, September 25, from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in Room 150A to see (and handle!) dozens of examples.

For a little legal quiz, do these modifications of books violate copyright law?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New York Requires Pro Bono Work for Law License

New York is now the first state to require pro bono work before an applicant may be admitted to the bar.  The rule requires 50 hours of pro bono service, none of which may be satisfied by partisan political activities.

You can read the new rule here.  It is not scheduled to go into effect until 2015, so current 3Ls are exempt.

ABA Journal

Wall Street Journal Law Blog

Above the Law

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

NHL Lockout Angst

I just moved to Columbus and was on the verge of realizing my lifelong dream of living in a city with an NHL team when tragedy struck.

If you're as frustrated by the NHL lockout as I am (or if you have no idea what the NHL is and want to know), I highly recommend The Law of Hockey to get your bearings on the topic. The book covers everything you might expect (labor relations, player contracts, competition law), but it also includes sections on things that never crossed my mind: equality issues (e.g. aboriginal peoples, religion, and transgender status), television contracts, and "two cases of hockey homicide."

In local news, The Dispatch reports on the impact the lockout will have on Columbus taxpayers as a result of the contract negotiated late last year.

Sports Law is offered this Spring. Why not get a leg up on the national sport of Canada?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sandusky Sentencing Scheduled for October 9

We've written in the past about the child sex abuse case of Jerry Sandusky.  A date has now been set for his sentencing: three weeks from today, October 9.

Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts relating to the sexual abuse of young boys, and faces up to 373 years in prison.

Sentencing Law and Policy

Detroit Free Press

NBC Sports

Monday, September 17, 2012

10 Most Popular Study Aids

Is it ever too early to start prepping for exams?

I'd have to give my typical attorney answer: it depends. But study aids can come in handy even if you're just prepping for class.

The National Jurist, which you may have picked up while grabbing coffee on the first floor, has an article this month called "10 Most Popular Study Aids" designed to improve your purchasing choices.

Great news: The law library carries seven of the ten titles, so you can actually flip through the books for closer review.

Here are links to the titles we have in the law library:
  1. Examples and Explanations
  2. Gilbert Law Summaries
  3. Emanual CrunchTime
  4. Understanding Series
  5. Casenote Legal Briefs
  6. Concepts and Insights Series
  7. Mastering Series
For other study aids, feel free to stop by the library and wander the aisles in the reserve room. (That's the area behind the circulation desk on your right when you enter the library.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Court Rules in Favor of Lucky Gamblers

We wrote recently about the mini-baccarat players at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, who won over $1.5 million when the same sequence of cards appeared again and again because the cards had not been pre-shuffled.

"Anybody could see that that was the dream we all look for," said Michael Cho of Maryland, one of the players. 

Judge James Isman ruled that the casino must let the players cash in their remaining chips, and that it cannot go after the cash already received. 

h/t: Legal Blog Watch

ABA Journal


Poker News Daily

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jury Begins Deliberations in Amish Beard-Cutting Case

We have previously discussed the Amish hair- and beard-cutting case, in which members of a "breakaway" Amish group cut off the hair of women and the beards of men. 

The jury began to deliberate in the federal hate crime trial this morning.  You can read more about the closing arguments at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which has collected all of their coverage of the case here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Obama Sets Record in Judicial Appointments

With the Senate confirmation of Stephanie Rose, President Obama set a record: the highest number of  female judges appointed to the federal bench in a single term.  Rose was confirmed on Monday, the first female judge for the Southern District of Iowa.

President Obama's appointment of 72 female judges ties George W. Bush's number of appointments in both of his terms as President.  Bill Clinton appointed 111 women over his two terms.

ABA Journal

Wall Street Journal Law Blog

Huffington Post

Des Moines Register

Monday, September 10, 2012

Historic Ohio County Courthouses Threatened

We've all heard the debate between originalists and pragmatists when it comes to Constitutional legal theory---view Constitutional questions the way the Founding Fathers would have or view them with regard to current standards as a matter of social necessity.

A similar debate is going on throughout Ohio with regard to historic courthouses: preserve and maintain the original structures or jettison them in favor of more modern structures better equipped to address the needs of current staff and visitors?

Okay, so that's an over-simplified and perhaps not-quite-apt analogy, but the question is nonetheless interesting. For a study of which courthouses have been lost in the last 50 years and which are in need of preservation, click through the link below to Time is of the Essence for Ohio's County Courthouses.

Toledo Blade

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Amicus Brief in Graphic Form

Feeling constrained by a five-page limit on his amicus brief, attorney Bob Kohn created a "graphic novelette" on antitrust law.  He claims that the graphics are in keeping with the rules of the brief, because the margins are correct and the brief includes a standard table of authorities.

You can read the entire brief, including the graphic portions, here at the ABA Journal.

It may not be Maus or Watchmen, but it's certainly new.

ABA Journal

Lowering the Bar

Above the Law

New York Times

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Insight into Stays of Execution

A recent New York Times article provides fascinating insight into petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court for stays of execution. Supreme court staff lawyer Danny Bickell reports on how often stays are granted by each justice:
Justice Elena Kagan extended the deadline every time she was asked last term, Mr. Bickell said, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Sonia Sotomayor did so more than 90 percent of the time. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony M. Kennedy granted extensions about three-quarters of the time.       
Mr. Bickell did not say how Justice Stephen G. Breyer is on this score, but he said Justice Scalia is strict.       
“Anyone want to take a guess?” Mr. Bickell asked. “Four percent,” he said, and there were groans from the assembled lawyers.
“Doesn’t happen very often, so keep that in mind,” Mr. Bickell said.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Texting-while-Driving Ban Has Begun

We have written in the past about HB 99, the statewide texting-while-driving ban.  The ban took effect last Friday, August 31st, and there will be a six-month window during which officers will issue only warnings.  Ohio is the 39th state to enact such a ban, which includes a prohibition of texting while stopped at a red light.  The Columbus ban also remains in effect.

Columbus Dispatch

Zanesville Times Recorder