Today Cicely and I are pleased to announce Justia’s newest free law offering: FREE Daily Opinion Summaries of all Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and select State Supreme Courts!
Our Daily Opinion Summaries deliver clear, concise summaries of breaking court opinions right to your in-box. The summaries are tagged by practice area so that readers can quickly identify which opinions are relevant to their practice. This is a powerful tool for attorneys, journalists, and others looking to keep up with latest developments in the law. All summaries are written by licensed attorneys.
How to subscribe
To subscribe, visit the Justia Subscriptions Page at Daily.Justia.com. If you already have a Justia account, sign in to subscribe right away. If you are not yet registered, it’s fast and free! Once registered, simply choose the jurisdictions and practice areas of interest to you.
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On Monday, the Supreme Court released its 6-3 decision in Skinner v. Switzer. Skinner was convicted of capital murder in Texas, and sought to compel DNA testing to prove his innocence. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 64 bars defendants who did not request testing at trial from doing so post-conviction. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the defendant may seek access to the testing in federal court under 42 USC 1983, or whether that remedy was only available through a writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254.
The Court held that federal courts have jurisdiction to hear the defendant’s complaint in a Section 1983 civil rights action. Defendant neither was seeking “speedier” release from custody in the action, nor was he challenging a Texas court’s ruling on merits. He was only challenging their interpretation of the law. This ruling allows the federal court subject matter jurisdiction over the defendants’ claim–it does not reach the merits. Defense attorneys are pleased with this ruling because it “slays the procedural dragons” that inhibit petitioners’ efforts toward exoneration in federal court.
Sheba, Justia’s original HugPug, turns seven today!
For those of you lucky enough to have dogs around while you work, you know how wonderful it is to have these four-footed friends at any office.
Sheba, and fellow Justia pugs, Rio and Belle, along with other doggie friends Tank (aka, Le Réservoir Dog) and Mino, bring us plenty of laughs, provide unconditional love and relieve more than a little of life’s daily stresses.
It’s February 1st, and we at Justia are happy to report that in January members of our Onward and Facebook communities not only stopped by to visit us, you also liked us, and sometimes, you really, really liked us.
Our heavy hitter in January on the Onward Blog in terms of visits was Courtney’s post on the Online Blue Book – looks like there are more than a few people out there who like to get their inner citation geek on. I encourage anyone who hasn’t already to check out Courtney’s analysis and review of The Blue Book’s online features and also catch a glimpse of one of our Justia pugs, Sheba, giving a shout out to vendor-neutral citation. Other popular posts this month included our Legal Predictions for 2011 and some thoughts on our shock over California’s new menu labeling laws (note: watch out for the 400+ calorie scones at Starbucks).
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2010 was a busy legal year, especially for free law advocates. Here are some of Justia’s legal predictions for 2011:
- Lawyers and legal professionals will continue to embrace free law as fast as our Law.gov movement friends can crank it out. Free law will continue its dramatic growth, and Justia remains proud to support the efforts of Carl Malamud’s work at Public.Resource.Org, along with Google, Fastcase, LII and other friends.
- SCOTUS will grant certiorari after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit renders a decision either affirming or denying a lower court ruling that California’s ban against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
2010 is almost gone–it’s been a very eventful year here at Justia. Indulge us while we review this year’s contributions to legal information on the internet. And, we are getting plans ready for 2011–if you have any ideas about things you’d like to see at Justia.com, please let us know in the comments!
First of all– we have to talk about Law.gov. This movement really took off in 2010, and we are very proud to have been a part of the effort. There have been meetings and conferences across the United States, from which a Principles and Declaration was drafted. Google granted Public.Resource.Org $2M in furtherance of the law.gov effort, and most recently, the Report of Current Opinions was announced. RECOP will distribute current caselaw from the 50 states and the federal courts freely on the internet.
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Last week marked the formal launch of a new Supreme Court of California resource center, SCOCAL (http://scocal.stanford.edu). SCOCAL is a joint project between Justia and our friends at the Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford and Fastcase. There are lots of cool features in the site and, as ever, I encourage all our readers who are interested in California law to spend some time checking it out. Below is a brief summary of what you’ll find when you visit the site.
California Supreme Court Opinions – Browse through the full text of recent opinions by date, name or issue, or search the entire collection, which includes decisions from 1934 to the present. Click on the tabs located at the top of each individual case to access related information and documents.
As the holidays get into full swing and folks begin to make their lists of presents for young and old alike, we thought it might be a good idea to point everyone to some helpful online consumer resources. In particular, we wanted to mention two Justia web sites which allow users to look-up information on recalled items and goods.
We created the Recall Warnings site with Nolo Press to provide easy access to thousands of product recalls and and consumer alerts from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recalls cover a variety of products such as toys, child furniture and outdoor play items, adult clothing and accessories, products for pets, and household appliances and electrical equipment. You can browse through various categories of goods or, if you are interested in learning more about a particular brand or item, you can also search the site. In addition, you may create RSS feeds to help you be an up-to-date and savvy consumer all year round.
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Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but there’s still time to get terrific gifts for lawyers and clients. Here are some of our favs:
- The Apple iPad — It’s sleek, small, and über cool. It holds nifty free legal apps like Fastcase to find state and federal statutes and cases and Oyez’s PocketJustice that let’s lawyers listen to Supreme Court oral arguments. When your attorney friend is done raging at opposing counsel’s latest outrageous offer to their client, the attorney can vent his or her anger by playing Angry Birds or Star Wars Falcon Gunner. Plus, it makes them (and everyone they meet) think that they’re a swell lawyer, right?
- Adopt a Volume of the Federal Reporter — No, we’re not crazy (at least not all the time)! For $1,200, you can actually make a tax-deductible donation to Public.Resource.Org to support scanning a volume or two of the first series of the Federal Reporter of the United States in the name of your favorite lawyer or law firm. The donation is to help them “adopt” a volume of federal case law from 1880 – 1924 that is now in the public domain.