22. September 2010 11:54
Picture source: MorgueFile
If you’re anything like me you take a look at TMZ once an hour... oh I mean day. It’s a great way to take your mind off your next class and decompress. Also, if you find that you still need your law fix you can find it there too. Mixed among the stories of celebrity hookups and wardrobe malfunctions are the celebrity arrests.
A recent arrest involved heiress Paris Hilton. Ms. Hilton was arrested on Friday, August 27 for possession of cocaine. Take a look at the story that TMZ posted, with a link to criminal complaint. There’s a popular belief that celebrities get softer sentences than your average citizen, I know you’re shocked to hear this. With this in mind I was curious as to the sentencing guidelines for this charge and unfortunately my friends at TMZ didn’t do their due diligence (at least in this posting) so I had to do the research myself.
I decided to look up Nevada Revised Statute 453.336 using Westlaw (Directory > U.S. State materials > Statutes & Legislative Services > Statutes Annotated - Individual States & U.S. Jurisdictions > Nevada Revised Statutes (State Version) - Annotated.) I placed “NRS 453.336” in the natural language search box and selected the first result. I would tell you my discovery but what would be the fun in that? Wouldn’t you rather practice your research skills and conduct the search yourself?
On Monday, September 20, 2010 Ms. Hilton plead guilty to two misdemeanors in the cocaine possession case. You may be asking yourself, how long will Ms. Hilton be behind bars? The answer: she won’t spend a minute in jail, and instead she will pay $2,000 in fines, perform 200 hours of community service and complete an intensive substance abuse program. So did Ms. Hilton get off easy? You be the judge.
17. September 2010 15:01
Picture source: United States National Archives
Happy Constitution Day! On this day, September 17th, in 1787 the 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention completed and signed the U.S. Constitution. Here are some interesting websites that celebrate this historic event:
Read about the observance from the US Code: 36 U.S.C § 106 (from Cornell's Legal Information Institute)
The National Archives has a fantastic online exhibit called the Charters of Freedom which has articles about the creation of the Constitution. The Archives also provide some great resources for learning about the Constitution and this important day.
If you visit Philadelphia, PA you should check out the National Constitution Center. They have also created an interactive version of the Constitution. Or you can print your own copy (.PDF) of the Constitution!
Have an excellent weekend!
18. August 2010 06:55
Picture source: MorgueFile
The National Jurist magazine recently released its list of the "2010 Best Value Law Schools" with Phoenix School of Law ranking among the top 20! Read the article here.
The law schools were chosen based on the following criteria: (1) bar pass rate higher than state average; (2) average indebtedness below $100,000; (3) 85% or higher employment rate 9 months after graduation; and (4) tuition less than $35,000/year.
The list of ranking order will be published in October, within the Fall issue of preLaw magazine.
13. August 2010 13:22
Earlier this year Google introduced a new option for searching legal opinions and law journals on Google Scholar. Full-text searching across case law with the option to narrow results to a specific jurisdiction made this search enhancement a sensation. A new player in the free legal research arena was born.
Recently Google compiled a list of the most entertaining legal opinions in its database. Cases written in verse and rhyme are listed with amusing outbursts from the bench.
Google Scholar differs from Google in providing vetted results from peer-reviewed journals, educational and government websites, with minimal commercial-sponsored results. Additionally, Google Scholar alerts allow for the tracking of specific subjects from the online academic, artistic, legal, and scientific community. Legal opinions and law journals are being fully embedded into this model, including even a rudimentary citation tool for cases called ‘how cited.’ More
One of the issues with online - and particularly free - legal research sources such as this is authenticity. Google cannot guarantee the opinions included are accurate or official, and accurately state they should not be relied on. Google Scholar enhances legal research but cannot provide the authentically of official sources of law.
29. July 2010 07:44
Picture source: Morgue File
In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Federal Register Act, the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) have re-launched their jointly administered Federal Register website. While the website is in its beta testing phase, they are welcoming comments and suggestions for improvements.
One thing to note is that this is not the official legal edition of the Federal Register. According to their legal status and disclaimer, the beta website "... does not replace the official print version or the official electronic version on GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys.gov)." The legal disclaimer goes on to state that "FederalRegister.gov will remain an unofficial informational resource until the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register (ACFR) issues a regulation granting it official legal status."
Be sure to check out this excellent-looking website, and enjoy the open access to government information! Read proposed rules and submit a formal comment!