Lawyer and legal tech expert Nicole Black highlights how federal court judges are leveraging research and current awareness sources and services provided to professionals and the public via their respective court websites, as well as actively using mobile tools and apps in their daily work flow.
On June 13, 2013 the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the much–awaited Myriad case, which challenged the validity of patents on isolated human genes. The Court held that the isolated genetic sequences claimed in Myriad’s patents did not satisfy the inventive threshold for patentability, although the complementary DNA (cDNA) claimed in the patents did. Prof. Annemarie Bridy examines critical elements of the case with a focus on the extent to which the outcome turned on a single conceptual choice: When assessing patentability, should the legal analysis focus on the isolated DNA’s chemical structure or its information-coding function?
Ken Strutin brings attention and focus to the fact that dog detection at airports for contraband, in traffic stops for narcotics, at fire scenes for accelerants and at suspect lineups are playing an increasingly important role in criminal investigations. At the same time, Ken documents that the thresholds of olfactory detection continue to test the limits of privacy, probable cause and due process. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court decided two cases involving animal assisted investigation. The fallout from these decisions will add to the evolving body of case law in federal and state courts as they continue to sort out the constitutional limits of this type of investigation.
Attorney Nicole Black brings context to the impact of the proliferation of social media accounts among the majority of adults in the United States. The information from these accounts has become a prime source for lawyers to mine for evidence to support their clients’ cases.
In the past, attorney Nicole L. Black has described misguided attempts by judges to excessively penalize jurors for using social media or the Internet during the pendency of trials. In fact, over the last year, judges have gone so far as to fine or jail jurors who have used social media during trial, and legislators have proposed laws that would criminalize such conduct. This despite the fact that jurors have been violating judges’ orders not to research or discuss pending cases since the dawn of jury trials.
One of the most popular and rapidly growing categories of apps for lawyers are those developed for litigation, during trials and during the pretrial discovery phase. In this article, attorney, legal blogger and legal tech expert Nicole Black recommends more than a dozen affordable, flexible and innovative iPad apps to assist attorneys in their work to develop, streamline, simplify and track critical litigation processes.
In criminal cases, there have been challenges on sufficiency grounds and concerns over the use of forensic DNA evidence as the sole or primary proof of guilt. Uncorroborated DNA matching might not be enough to satisfy the burden of establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The reliability of forensic DNA testing results might be questioned for any number of reasons, e.g., laboratory error, cross-contamination, interpretive bias or fraud, etc. Ken Strutin’s essay provides an overview of nuclear DNA typing, a sampling of the kinds of discretionary decisions that analysts often confront when interpreting crime scene samples, and concludes with with remarks about current disputes in forensic DNA typing, and how recognition of its inherent subjectivity might inform and illuminate these debates.
Following up on his commentary about how problem-solving models can help lawyers (and law students) to solve legal problems systematically and to communicate legal solutions persuasively in writing, Troy Simpson discusses what makes a good problem-solving model.
Criminal Justice Resources Public Defense Systems
By Ken Strutin
Ken Strutin (JD, MLS) is an experienced law librarian, criminal defense attorney, and well-known writer and speaker. He is the author of The Insider’s Guide: Criminal Justice Resources on the Internet, and has lectured extensively about the benefits of using the Internet for legal research at national and local CLE training programs. Mr. Strutin also wrote ALI-ABA’s Practice Checklist Manual on Representing Criminal Defendants, and co-authored the award winning Legal Research Methodology computer tutorial, published by the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI). He has contributed chapters to several books and written many articles concerning knowledge management, legal research and criminal law. Mr. Strutin has taught courses in Advanced Legal Research and Law Office Management. He is also listed in Who’s Who in American Law. Currently, Mr. Strutin is the Director of Legal Information Services at the New York State Defenders Association and writes a column for the New York Law Journal. Other guides by Ken Strutin on LLRX.com.
Published June 18, 2006
#public%2520defense”>Public Defense Directories
#criminal%2520defense”>Criminal Defense Lawyer Associations
#eligibility”>Eligibility #commissions”>Commissions #resources”>Resources
- Pine Tree Legal Services Their website offers links to civil legal services, legal aid, pro bono, backup centers, pro se site, and law school programs throughout the country, and some from around the world. Pine Tree is a statewide legal services program for the citizens of Maine.
- Federal Public Defender Directory (ODSTB) This is a national directory of federal public defender offices maintained by the Office of Defender Services Training Branch.
- Public Defenders (Findlaw) This is a collection of links to federal and state public defender offices, and national resource centers organized by state.
- Legal Services/Pro Bono/Indigent Defense (NCSC) The National Center for State Courts has gathered together web links to state and federal indigent defense, capital defense and legal services offices nationwide.
- Directory of Legal Aid & Defender Offices in the United States and Territories (NLADA) (order form) The National Legal Aid & Defender Association annually publishes, print only, a national directory of public defender and civil legal services offices.
In many states, public defenders, legal aid and assigned counsel rely on the support services provided by backup centers. These offices respond to the research and training needs of public defense attorneys, monitor case law and legislative developments, answer questions from the client community and members of the public, and serve as a clearinghouse for public defense advocacy and policy research.
- Arizona Public Defender Association
- Florida Public Defender Association
- Illinois Public Defender Association
- Louisiana Public Defenders’ Association
- Michigan Criminal Defense Resource Center
- Mississippi Public Defenders Association
- New York State Defenders Association
- South Carolina Public Defender Association
- Washington Defender Association
There are many statewide and local criminal defense associations, as well as sections of general bar associations, that have dedicated resources to public defense work. The lists below provide web links to many of these groups.
- State and Local Affiliates: National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
- Defender Resources: Criminal Defense Organizations (NLADA)
Public defense systems vary from place to place. Some have established statewide systems and operate under commissions, while others are patchwork arrangements. And a few states are reevaluating their defender systems. Information about commissions and related developments can be found in the Spangenberg studies below. Underneath is a selection of state websites.
- Statewide Indigent Defense Systems Overview (Spangenberg 2005)
- Indigent Defense Systems of the 50 States (ABA 2004)
Connecticut Public Defender Services Commission District of Columbia Public Defender Service Florida Florida Public Defender Association Georgia Georgia Public Defender Standards Council Hawaii Defender Council Illinois Office of State Appellate Defender Indiana Public Defender Commission Iowa Indigent Defense Advisory Commission Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy Louisiana Louisiana Indigent Defense Assistance Board
Maryland Public Defender Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services Michigan Appellate Defender Commission Minnesota Minnesota Public Defenders Missouri Public Defender Commission Montana Public Defender Commission Nebraska Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy New Hampshire Judicial Council
North Carolina Public Defender Commission North Dakota North Dakota Commission on Legal Counsel for Indigents Ohio Hamilton County Public Defender Commission
Oklahoma Oklahoma Indigent Defense System Oregon Public Defense Services Commission North Carolina Public Defender Commission South Carolina Indigent Defense Commission Texas Texas Task Force on Indigent Defens Virginia Indigent Defense Commission
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The major bar associations, private research groups and government agencies have published reports on different aspects of public defense. They include systemwide surveys, funding studies, caseload analyses and highlights of significant problems and unmet mandates.
- Contracting for Indigent Defense Services (BJA 2000)
- Defense Counsel in Criminal Cases (BJS 2000)
- Gideon’s Broken Promise: America’s Continuing Quest for Equal Justice (ABA 2004)
- Improving State and Local Criminal Justice Systems (BJA 1998)
- Indigent Defense (BJS 1996)
- Indigent Defense Services in Large Counties 1999 (BJS 2000)
- Keeping Defender Workloads Manageable (BJA 2001).
- Redefining Leadership for Equal Justice: Final Report of the National Symposium on Indigent Defense 2000 (BJA 2000)
- State-Funded Indigent Defense Services 1999 (BJS 2001)
Gideon 40th Anniversary Sites
- Five Problems Facing Public Defense on the 40th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright (NLADA)
- Gideon at 40: Fulfilling the Promise (NACDL)
- Gideon Reviewed: State of the Nation 40 Years Later (NLADA)
- Gideon v Wainwright 40th Anniversary (ABA)
- Chp. 10 “Model Court Interpreter Act“ in Court Interpretation: Model Guides for Policy and Practice in the State Courts (National Center for State Courts 1995)
- Court Interpreters Act, 28 USC § 1827
- Alabama: Alabama v. Shelton: The Right to Counsel in Misdemeanor Cases Resulting in Suspended or Probated Sentence (NCSC 2003)
- Arizona: Indigent Defense in Arizona (NACDL 2001)
- Georgia: Report of the Chief Justice’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Indigent Defense (2002)
- Nevada: Indigent Defense Services in the State of Nevada (Spangenberg Group 2000)
- New York: Crisis in Legal Representation of the Poor (1st Dept 2001)
- Tennessee: Tennessee Weighted Caseload Study Update: District Public Defenders (2005)
- Texas: Muting Gideon’s Trumpet: The Crisis in Indigent Criminal Defense in Texas (State Bar of Texas 2000)
- Vermont: Vermont Indigent Defense Task Force Report (2001)
- Virginia: Comprehensive Review of Indigent Defense in Virginia (ABA 2003)
- Washington: Report of the Washington State Bar Association Blue Ribbon Panel on Criminal Defense (2004)
These are compilations of national and state standards for the criminal justice system, and public defense in particular.
- ABA Criminal Justice Section Collection of Standards
- ABA Principle Resolutions on Indigent Defense
- ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendant Collection of Standards
- Compendium of Standards for Indigent Defense Systems (BJA 2000)
- NACDL Collection of Standards
- NLADA Collection of Standards
- ABA Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System
- Ten Tenets of Fair and Effective Problem Solving Courts (NLADA 2001)
- Executive Session on Public Defense (Harvard)
- Implementation and Impact of Indigent Defense Standards (NIJ 2003)
- Spangenberg Group Publications List
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The ability to afford counsel depends on many factors, and the assessment of those factors determines whether an accused will receive assigned representation. Below are several guidelines, albeit starting points, used in making this determination.
- Determining Indigency (NCSC)
- Determining Eligibility for Appointed Counsel in New York State (NYSDA 1994)
These resources are excellent starting points for locating national and local materials on public defense systems and the implementation of the right to counsel. The Resource Centers listed above are another good place to find information about a particular state’s system.
- American Bar Association
- American Civil Liberties Union
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- National Legal Aid and Defender Association
- Spangenberg Group
Bibliographies and Libraries
Features – Getting a Grip on the CSI Effect: The National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law at Stetson Universit
Getting a Grip on the ‘CSI Effect’: The National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law at Stetson University College of Law
By Diana Botluk and Brittan Mitchell
Diana Botluk is the Director of Research at the National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law at Stetson University College of Law, and author of The Legal List: Research on the Internet. Brittan Mitchell is a Law and Science Fellow at the National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law at Stetson University College of Law, and supervises its pro bono research program at Stetson.