Jeff Roberts of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition raises the question of expanding free public access to court documents in Colorado. Specifically, he identifies the only location where a non-lawyer can view and request copies of all civil court documents from ICCES, the Integrated Colorado Courts E-Filing System. This location is the Colorado Supreme Court’s law library in the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center in downtown Denver. Fees and access to PACER have been the topic of discussion in the legal community for many years. The urgency of this discussion and a resolution that ensures free public access to court filings is critically dependent upon the future of court law libraries.
Criminal law expert Ken Strutin’s new article is yet another research tour de force – a collection of recent and notable developments concerning DNA as forensic science, metric of guilt, herald of innocence, and its emerging place in the debate over privacy and surveillance. The increasing use of DNA evidence to support assumptions of an individual’s guilt and less frequently as a tool to prove the innocence of prisoners wrongly convicted, reflects many facets of the changing fabric of the American criminal justice, the role of the Fourth Amendment and the increasing collection of a wide range of biological evidence from crime scenes whose metadata then is searchable within the national DNA database.
Ashley Ahlbrand is the Educational Technology at Librarian Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. Her expert teaching and training skills offer readers insights into the role of Google as well as integrative browser add-ons like Lexis Views in preparing students to effectively and comprehensively complete research assignments.
This article by Theresa Kaiser-Jarvis, Assistant Dean for International Affairs, University of Michigan Law School, discusses a pivotal issue that represents an increasingly significant development in the practice of law in the United States. Kaiser-Jarvis shines a bright light on the skills, knowledge and abilities that are now required of attorneys as the business world becomes less focused on the United States. She supports the position that as law firms search for new revenue streams and as American internal demographics become more diverse, we can expect that all U.S. lawyers will eventually need to be prepared for global practice.
Alan Rothman’s article focuses on a creative, innovative effort to deploy the blockchain as a form of global registry of creative works ownership – specifically a global rights database for images. The co-founders of a new metadata protocol they call the Mediachain enables creators working in digital media to write data describing their work along with a timestamp directly onto the blockchain. The implications of this technology impact multiple sectors such as: legal, financial, libraries, museums and archives, and social media.
Ken Strutin writes in his latest article as follows -“science has much to say about how individual behavior and group wide phenomena influence the core issues of criminal justice. From self-incrimination to self-representation, from prosecuting to judging, from trial to punishment the law recognizes that there are subtle psychologics at work. Indeed, there is one long continuum of cognitive realities that pervade every precinct of criminal justice. And now, scientific study and legal scholarship has uncovered hidden biases in the deliberations of justice as well as overt barriers to cognitive functioning associated with confinement. This article is a collection of research into the cognitive nature of criminal justice participants, the constraints of confinement, and the administration of justice.”
This report by Sarah Glassmeyer presents findings from a survey of state level primary legal information. Primary legal information includes code (codified statutes passed by state legislatures), regulations (codified collections of rules passed by administrative agencies) and case law (appellate court decisions). This survey was done with the goal of reviewing the free and open status of this legal information.
3D printing is a growth market – for vendors, consumers, and for public libraries (providing them in combination with maker spaces – “a shared work area where people build things collaboratively.”) Within the sphere of this innovative technology there is growing recognition that 3D printing can produce objects covered by specific particular patents. This new area of copyright infringement is the focus of Alan Rothman’s article.
Bens Guide to the U.S. Government: Free, Educational Content from GPO for Children and Adults of all Ages
Kelly Seifert gives us a tour of Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government, a service of the U.S. Government Publishing Office that presents educational content for children and adults of all ages on the workings of the U.S. Government and U.S. history, with a focus on civics. Recently redesigned, the site features all new site content, a device-friendly infrastructure, and a modernized look and feel that has been optimized for an intuitive learning experience.
Ken Strutin’s article surveys notable legal developments, new scholarship, and recent scientific research concerning the administration and effects of solitary confinement. Strutin describes solitary confinement as punishment’s punishment. He states that solitary is where the mind is worn out by pacing the same floor, viewing the same walls, tuning in to the same sounds without relief. He documents how extreme isolation has devastating psychological and physical consequences, collectively described as “SHU syndrome.” Strutin delivers illumination to the heart of legal challenges and legislative reforms now supported by an expanding body of research into the harmfulness of prolonged human isolation.