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December Book of the Month: How to Become a Federal Criminal

how-to-become-a-federal-criminalHow to Become a Federal Criminal: An Illustrated Handbook for the Aspiring Offender
Written and Illustrated by Mike Chase
Reviewed by Courtney Nguyen, Reference Librarian


The road to hell may very well be paved with federal statutes and regulations, as demonstrated by our December Book of the Month, How to Become a Federal Criminal: An Illustrated Handbook for the Aspiring Offender by Mike Chase. As the title promises, this book enumerates (with pictures!) the seemingly endless ways anyone can descend into a life of crime, even by accident. Chase writes with his tongue firmly in cheek, but even without the rude humor the actual statutes, regulations, and congressional hearings are outrageous and absurd enough to amuse and shock everyone. Here you will find lurid accounts of the depraved Yellowstone Off-Leash Cat Walker, and those wayward souls who dress like postal workers—when they aren’t even postal workers. Divided into eight sections based on type of offenses, this book barely scratches the surface of the innumerable crimes proliferated by Congress and various federal agencies.

Chase, an attorney who also runs the popular Twitter account @CrimeADay, clearly revels in the madness of it all, writing with a mix of juvenile glee and genuine befuddlement over how ridiculous these crimes can be. But he includes more than just illustrations on how to mail a mongoose; it’s clear that he has put extensive time and research into his work. This “handbook” also serves as a simple and easy to understand primer on the basics of the criminal justice system and how to read a federal statute, useful for aspiring offenders and law-abiding folk alike. He explores how there came to be so many federal crimes—more than it’s conceivably possible to count—tracing the labyrinthine path from the three listed crimes in the Constitution to the thousands upon thousands of criminal statutes and rules carrying criminal penalties we have today. There are also brief summaries of some of the stranger cases that went to court (some involving margarine).

This book not only gives you endless facts to share at cocktail parties, but also leaves you with some important takeaways. Such as, don’t bother trying to modify the weather with your weather laser unless you’ve filled out the right forms first. Or how the only thing standing between you and a cell might be how properly you label that box of dead bees you want to mail. And don’t even think about leaving the country with a pocketful of nickels.

Find How to Become a Federal Criminal (along with our other criminal law materials) at the library today!


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Advanced Westlaw MCLE Nov. 7

Thursday, November 7, Noon to 1:00
Advanced Research on Westlaw
Presented by Jonathan Dorsey, Client Representative
Government, Thomson Reuters
1 Hour free MCLE Credit – This is a repeat of the
January 17, 2018 program
An email address is required to receive
The MCLE certificate from Thomson

***Download Flyer Here***

This course will help you refine your search construction using both plain language and terms & connectors, while also showing you tools and resources to help you efficiently complete your research assignment.

Nov 7 2019 Adv Research on Westlaw MCLE Flyer

 


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November Book of the Month: Separate

SeparateSeparate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation
By Steve Luxenberg

Reviewed by Aaron Parsons, Reference Librarian


In Separate, author Steve Luxenberg examines the social and historical upheaval that encompassed the antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction-era United States and that culminated in the ignominious 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation. Luxenberg begins by tracing the history of the separate but equal doctrine from the northern railroads where Jim Crow laws took hold before the Civil War—dispelling the myth that they originated in the post-war south. He goes on to recount the lives of several of the era’s important figures, including plaintiff Homer Plessy, Justice John Marshall Harlan (the lone dissenter in Plessy), Henry Billings Brown (the opinion’s author), Albion W. Tourgée (Plessy’s lawyer), and Frederick Douglass, leading to their fateful intersection in the Plessy case. The abomination of the Jim Crow laws persisted unabated until 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education, though they were continually challenged by abolitionists such as Tourgée and the wider Civil Rights movement. Separate helps the reader understand the lives and motivations that shaped both sides of the racial and equality struggles during a dark chapter of our nation’s history—struggles that continue to shape our striving “to form a more perfect union.”


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California Wildfire Resources

For those affected by the ongoing California wildfires and the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) or those who would like to help, here are some resources. Additionally, the law library is open to the public for our regular hours.

For victims and evacuees:

Power Outage and Fire Recovery Resources:
Wildfire Incidents
Power Outages
Shelters/Housing
Transportation Impacts
Health Services
State and Local Resources
How to make a donation

Public Safety Power Shutoff Event (PG&E)

SF72 (run by the Department of Emergency Management)

Public Safety Power Shutoff Preparedness Information (available in multiple languages)

Guide to Disaster Assistance Services for Immigrant Communities

Disaster Relief Handbooks (MoFo 2018)

Preparation for Emergencies – LA Law Library (as of 11/19/18)

California Disaster Legal Services: Free legal help for survivors of California disasters, and resources for volunteers, provided by trusted California nonprofit legal aid providers

Legal Help After a Disaster (State Bar of California)

NorCal Wildfires Free Legal Advice Hotline (SF Bar Association): 415-575-3120

Consumer Protections and Resources for Wildfire Victims (CPUC)

CAL FIRE Incident Map

Kincade Fire Updates (including evacuation maps)

Ready for Wildfire

@CAL_FIRE


Donations (information from NY Times):

Northern California Grantmakers – Kincade Fire and Other California Fires: How to Help

Southern California Grantmakers – 2019 Tick Fire: How to Help

American Red Cross

California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund

California Fire Foundation

Caring Choices

Enloe Medical Center

Entertainment Industry Foundation

Humane Society of Ventura County

North Valley Community Foundation

Salvation Army

United Way of Greater Los Angeles

United Way of Northern California

Crowdfunding Efforts:
GoFundMe: page catalogs relief efforts in Northern and Southern California There are multiple crowdfunding efforts for victims of the California fires.
Google: collection donations which will then go to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which will distribute the money to local nonprofits.
Airbnb: has a program that asks people to open their homes to those affected by the fires. Until Nov. 29, the company is allowing residents to mark their homes as a place for evacuees and aid workers to stay for free.


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Search Quick Tip—Two Google Tricks to Quickly Find What You Want

How to Search a Specific Website by Using Google
By Andrea Woods
Search Quick Tips

Have you ever been frustrated by a website’s internal search function? You know the information you want must be there somewhere, but your search results are wholly irrelevant, and you can’t find the content you need by clicking through the site’s menu options. Try entering your search terms into Google, but add “site:” followed by the website’s URL. For example, a search across the SFLL’s website for our Research Guides would look like this:

research guides site:sflawlibrary.org

With this method, you’re using Google’s search algorithm to search only the designated website.

How to Limit Your Search Results to PDFs

Another useful trick is to limit your Google search results to only PDF files. This is especially useful for articles, of course, but also historical or superseded content, such as a prior version of a building standard code. Enter your search terms and add “filetype:pdf” like this:

conference room rental san francisco law library filetype:pdf

Google results will list only PDFs, which will save time and increase the likelihood of finding the exact document you’re seeking.


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Impeachment Resources at the SF Law Library

With Congress taking the rare step of opening a formal impeachment inquiry, look to the San Francisco Law Library for resources and books to help you understand more about what impeachment is, how it has worked in history, and how the process might unfold today.

Here at the Law Library, you can read scholarly interpretations of the impeachment clause, and it’s history, as reviewed by The Library’s reference team members:

Impeachment

 

 

Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide
By Cass Sunstein

 

 

 

End Presidency

 

 

To End a Presidency
By Laurence A. Tribe & Joshua Matz 

 

 

 

Limits_of_Presidential_Power_cover-375x561

 

 

The Limits of Presidential Power
By Lisa Manheim & Kathryn Watts

 

 

 

You can also read about reporting and analysis of impeachments since the republic’s founding, including transcripts from the Nixon Impeachment. The San Francisco Law Library has many impeachment resources to explore.

nixon

 

 

 

The Nixon Impeachment Collection

 

 

 

We also recommend these additional resources on impeachment:

A short introduction to impeachment on Findlaw:

https://litigation.findlaw.com/legal-system/presidential-impeachment-the-legal-standard-and-procedure.html

The Library of Congress has a Research Guide and Bibliography of resources on Impeachment. Many are law reviews that are available at the San Francisco Law Library:

https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/Impeachment-Guide.html

The University of Washington also has a research guide on impeachment, including images from the Constitution with the impeachment sections highlighted, and links to more information about specific impeachments from history:

http://guides.lib.uw.edu/research/govpubs-quick-links/us-impeach


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Serve Your Time, Regain Your Vote

regain your vote
Who do you want for D.A.?

By Ruth Geos

Conviction of a felony in California results in a disqualification to vote, but only while the sentence is being served and the parole period satisfied. Once the time is done, those with felony criminal convictions can take up their citizen’s right to vote again. Indeed, the upcoming November 5th Consolidated Municipal Election in San Francisco offers an opportunity to give direct input on criminal justice policies—the race for the San Francisco District Attorney, one of the most contested parts of the ballot. The CA Secretary of State offers an easy, even pretty, step-by-step checklist on regaining the right to vote, along with a link to go forward to register to vote for the very next election ahead and those coming in 2020.

Other states have other rules for suspending or restoring the right to vote to those with felony convictions, ranging from no suspension at all of the right, to the need for a governor’s pardon. Here, though, it is a relatively easy process. The rules are spelled out in the California Elections Code, Section 2101, which sets the details on who is entitled to vote or pre-register to vote, and have been interpreted by the CA Courts as protecting the right to vote except during the period of a felony sentence or parole.

Elections Code § 2101.

(a) A person entitled to register to vote shall be a United States citizen, a resident of California, not imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony, and at least 18 years of age at the time of the next election.

(b) A person entitled to preregister to vote in an election shall be a United States citizen, a resident of California, not imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony, and at least 16 years of age.

(c) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) “Imprisoned” means currently serving a state or federal prison sentence.

(2) “Parole” means a term of supervision by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

(3) “Conviction” does not include a juvenile adjudication made pursuant to Section 203 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

CA jail prisoners are different. CA prisoners in county jail can still vote while serving their misdemeanor or felony jail sentence, a parole violation, during probation, and under a variety of other circumstances. To check the finer points on qualifications to vote now, and the process for going forward to exercise that right, consult with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Prisoner Legal Services at 415-558-2472.


For more questions, resources, to register to vote, or to vote, call or email the SF Department of Elections at 415-554-4375, SFVote@sfgov.org.
Don’t forget to register to vote by October 21st for the upcoming election.
And check out our elections guide for more information.