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New Free COVID-19 Law Book

One of the secondary effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been the various legal issues raised by the new challenges to the social, political, and economic arenas of society. In hopes of providing guidance for approaching these pressing legal issues, and with a view to the legal challenges ahead, the faculty of Columbia Law School and several law professors from other schools have joined together to produce Law in the Time of COVID-19. This new publication identifies several of the critical legal questions raised by the pandemic, ranging from the rights of prison inmates to elections, while offering guidance in how to think about these issues, both for the many people affected as well as for legislators and policy makers.

Not only does this title present you with fresh perspectives on these matters, but it is also offered as a free download: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/books/240/.

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Winter 2020 Book Drive

Book Drive

Each quarter we will seek donors to purchase a new title for the Law Library. Here is our Wish List for the Winter season. Growing our collection is about so much more than a single book—it is a living demonstration of how the Library expands the public’s access to justice and provides legal practitioners with the tools they need to represent members of our local community. Please see our Donation Guide for more ways to support the Law Library.

Complete QDRO HandbookThe Complete QDRO Handbook, 4th ed.
Written by Patricia D. Shewmaker and James Robert Lewis IV
$149.95, ABA, 2019
ISBN: 9781641053587

Discovery across the GlobeDiscovery across the Globe: Obtaining Evidence Abroad to Support U.S. Proceedings
Edited by Brett Harrison, Gavin Foggo, and Jorge A. Mestre
$149.95, ABA, 2020
ISBN: 9781641055086

Written by Carol A. Fichtelman
$85, William S. Hein & Co., Inc.,2019
ISBN: 9780837741161

Family Law Financial DiscoveryFamily Law Financial Discovery 
Written by Roberta B. Bennett et al.
$290, CEB, 2019
ISBN: 9780762613045

HIPAA A Practical Guide to the Privacy and Security of Health DataHIPAA: A Practical Guide to the Privacy and Security of Health Data, 2nd ed.
Written by June M. Sullivan and Shannon B. Hartsfield
$119.95, ABA, 2020
ISBN: 9781641055727

Negotiation Essentials for LawyersNegotiation Essentials for Lawyers
Edited by Andrea Kupfer Schneider and Christopher Honeyman
$99.95, ABA, 2019
ISBN: 9781641054812

Removal DefenseRemoval Defense: Defending Immigrants in Immigration Court, 3rd ed.
Written by Erin Quinn and ILRC Staff Attorneys
$225, ILRC, 2020

Sexuality LawSexuality Law, 3rd ed.
Written by Arthur S. Leonard and Patricia A. Cain
$140, Carolina Academic Press, 2019
ISBN: 9781611632361

The Waivers BookThe Waivers Book, 3rd ed.
Edited by Ruth Lozano McChesney and Sarah K. Redzic
$279, AILA, 2019
ISBN: 9781573704373

Please take a look at our Book Drive page to see Wish List items from prior months. We are still wishing for these books!

To donate, please contact sflawlibrary@sfgov.org or call (415) 554-1791. We appreciate your contribution!

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March Book of the Month: Fight of the Century

Fight of the CenturyFight of the Century: Writers Reflect on 100 Years of Landmark ACLU Cases
Edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman
Reviewed by Diane Rodriguez, Assistant Director

Our national anthem proclaims that America is “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” but it hasn’t always been that way for many Americans, and the struggle continues.  Many of the freedoms current generations now enjoy—and may take for granted—were not automatically guaranteed to many Americans. Dedicated advocates have fought in court for our rights, defending the oppressed and underrepresented. It is difficult, groundbreaking work to question the laws and norms of the day and speak up for what is truly fair, constitutional, and just. For the past 100 years, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), has made it their mission to “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Some of our nation’s greatest legal minds have worked tirelessly with the ACLU to defend freedom and justice for all. Fight of the Century: Writers Reflect on 100 Years of Landmark ACLU Cases celebrates a century of the ACLU’s work, discussing the cases through storytelling by some of our most celebrated authors. Their artful narratives bring the issues closer to home, relating these complex legal cases to our daily lives and reminding us that each and every liberty fought for is a treasure to be defended and protected for future generations.

Each case is introduced with a brief legal synopsis, followed by a story or analysis illustrating the humanity behind the legal issue. It is important to remember there are actual faces behind the “name cases” that get tossed around in the news and in political circles. Someone experienced great wrong before the case was fought and the injustice was righted. One example is Street v. New York (1969), where a 51-year-old African American New York City bus driver with no previous criminal record set his American flag on fire in protest following the shooting of civil rights icon James Meredith. The story of Sydney Street, told by Rabih Alameddine in “The Right to Offend,” tells how he was convicted of violating a statute making it a crime to publicly “cast contempt upon [the U.S. flag] either by words or act.” The ACLU argued that the part of the law regarding “words” was unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court overturned the guilty verdict on First Amendment grounds. Just as fascinating are the actual facts of the flag burning itself. Street was a veteran of World War II and a Bronze Star Medal recipient. He held nothing but honor for the flag, which he treated with the utmost respect until he set it on fire. He took care to see that the flag was properly folded and held it as long as he could before setting it upon paper, so it never touched the ground. His act wasn’t a malicious act against the flag, but a bold protest against the slaying of a community icon—an act meant to bring attention to a great wrong by exercising his freedom of speech. The illustration of his story brought clarity and purpose to his actions beyond the statutory language and legalese.

The story of Miranda v. Arizona (1966) was more than “a series of Supreme Court cases going back over 30 years, pitting the Constitution’s promise of the protection against self-incrimination against a favorite tool of law enforcement: the confession.” Ernesto Miranda was not a model citizen—a small-time criminal whose name eventually became a common term. In this case, the ACLU saw an opportunity for the Supreme Court to secure the rights of criminal suspects. Everyone now knows that to Mirandize means to inform a criminal suspect of his or her rights to remain silent and to an attorney. As Hector Tobar recounts in “Ernesto’s Prayer,” beyond the incarceration and court case of Ernesto Miranda was a series of events that ultimately made Miranda Rights a household phrase, as well as dramatic language in Hollywood crime dramas. One of the drafters of the Miranda language, Nevada County District Attorney Harold Berliner, was also a printer and “produced hundreds of thousands of vinyl cards of the new language” and sold them nationwide. One of the cards fell into the hands of television producer Jack Webb as he was writing the first episode of the crime drama Dragnet. He worked the phrases into the script and created an unprecedented fusion of constitutional law and popular culture, thus educating Americans of their rights for generations to come.

Fight of the Century effectively highlights approximately 40 seminal cases and their fascinating stories that the ACLU fought on behalf of all Americans. While the protections the ACLU has won in their first hundred years have enriched our lives immeasurably, there is more work to be done. In these uncertain times, it is comforting to know that the ACLU is on watch, persisting in their vigilance and passion for justice, offering a beacon of hope and protection for all Americans now and into the future.

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Online San Francisco Municipal Codes Have a New Home

By Andrea Woods

The website for the San Francisco Municipal Codes is switching to a new URL. Update your bookmarks before March 1st, when the redirection from the old site to the new site will cease functioning. The new URL is:


The new site has a new look, and the search function is slightly different. You can still search across all of the codes, of course, but to search only a particular code or codes, click the drop-down menu arrow on the location filter, scroll down to San Francisco (which will already be selected), and then click on the edit pencil:2020-02-04 12_03_03-Code Search

This opens a pop-up box where you can select the code or codes you want to search by unchecking the boxes next to the codes that you do not want to search:

2020-02-04 12_23_48-Code Search

Only the current version of the San Francisco Municipal Codes is available online. The San Francisco Law Library has an extensive archive of prior codes and superseded pages, so contact us if you need an earlier version of a code section.