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New LibGuide: Criminal Law

You don’t have to be a criminal defense attorney to be interested in criminal law.  From the early crime pamphlets published by the hundreds starting in the 1500s, to the lurid crime journalism of the Victorian penny press, the public’s appetite for sensational crime stories has been ever-present and insatiable. And thanks to recent and current books, shows, and podcasts, such as I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara (about the Golden State Killer) and the multi-season Serial podcast, true crime remains one of the most popular genres across all multimedia platforms.

While knowing all the ins and outs of criminal law isn’t necessary to enjoy the genre, understanding the basic workings of our criminal justice system is essential for an informed member of society. Criminal law covers federal and state laws which make certain behaviors and actions crimes, punishable by either imprisonment or fines. Our newest LibGuide, The San Francisco Law Library Guide to Criminal Law, collects criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal justice resources available at the library, as well as online and in the Bay Area.

Inside you’ll find links to basic criminal law information, federal, state, and local codes, a list of our criminal law print collection, resources for finding a lawyer or free or low-cost legal services, and much more. This guide is intended for practitioners, students and researchers, and anyone interested in learning how our criminal justice system works (whether stemming from an interest in the true crime genre or not) — from investigation and arrest to conviction and sentencing. As with all of our LibGuides, we will keep this guide updated so be sure to check back in.

So give the gift of knowledge this holiday season by sharing the library’s Criminal Law guide!

 


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New LibGuide: Fastcase

It’s Halloween, so what could be scarier than legal research?  Luckily, the Library has How-to Guides to our legal databases for those new to research or those looking to brush up on their database skills. Our latest guide is How to Use Fastcase.

Fastcase is a legal research service which provides access to state and federal law documents including federal bankruptcy, tax courts, US Supreme Court, federal district and courts of appeal cases as well as federal and state statutes and regulations. This guide focuses on how to use Fastcase on the Library’s public computers, though there is also a Fastcase mobile app available for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone devices as well. Fastcase is available on all of the Library’s computers.

Use this guide to learn the fundamentals of Fastcase, from accessing the database in the Library to finding and saving cases, statutes, regulations, and more. There are step-by-step instructions for:

  • Searching Cases
  • Searching Statutes
  • Refining Search Results
  • Printing/Saving Documents

For more database help, check out our How to Use CEB OnLAW, and look for our upcoming How-to Guides on Westlaw and Lexis.


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New LibGuide: Environmental Law

From September 12th to the 14th San Francisco will host the Global Climate Action Summit, an event which will bring together environmental leaders and activists from around the world, both for the summit as well as the hundreds of related affiliate events throughout the week.  Even if you can’t make it to any programs or events, you can still take a look at our newest LibGuide: The San Francisco Law Library Guide to Environmental Law.

In this guide you will find information on local, state, and federal environmental statutes and regulations, library resources in print and online, current news and events, wildfire resources, and links to the many state and federal agencies dealing with environmental issues.

Environment Guide - Snip

Environmental law is an interdisciplinary field which encompasses science, technology, the economy, industry, and more.  To that end, this research guide also includes links to local and global organizations dedicated to environmental activism, as well as informational sites on related topics.  We will keep updating the guide (and all of our guides), so be sure to check back in!


And for more on environmental law, check out our September Books of the Month:

 


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New LibGuide: Free or Low-Cost Legal Services

Do you have a legal issue, but cannot afford to hire an attorney?  There are many ways to obtain free or low-cost legal help, and our new guide, Free or Low-Cost Legal Services, conveniently gathers together many local legal service providers in one place.  Some, but not all, of the services listed in this guide are reserved for people of low-income.

The local resources in this guide are organized in two ways: by topic (landlord/tenant, immigration, etc.) and by organizations that assist specialized populations (e.g. Hispanic, disabled, elderly). Click on a topic or population to view a list of organizations that provide services for that topic or population. There is also a full list of the legal service organizations which you can search.

We will update the guide whenever we find new organizations, so be sure to check back in.