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Showing posts from November, 2011

Texas Bar Legal App

The Texas Bar Journal is reporting that the Texas State Bar now has its own app for attorneys available for both Android and Apple devices including phones and tablets as well as a web app for those using other devices. The App, created by the Computer & Technology section of the Texas State Bar, provides access to dozens of Texas and Federal statutes, codes, and rules as well as free case law from Google Scholar. There are search and e-mail options available to users who can also access materials without an internet connection, unless using the web app. The app is free for members of the Computer & Technology section and currently requires a section username (bar number) and password for access. The app can be downloaded from the Android market and Itunes, and those using the web app only need to login directly from their mobile devices.

Oh, How I Love Irony: Citing to Wikipedia

On the Supreme Court of Texas Blog, Don Cruse, inspired by a presentation by Robert Dubose given at the Austin Bar Civil Appellate Lunch on the topic "Can I Cite Wikipedia? The Ethics of Citing Online Information on Appeal", recently wrote a posting entitled "How to Cite to Wikipedia in Appellate Briefs".

One thing I especially liked about this posting was that Mr. Cruse correctly encourages his readers to use the Permalink that Wikipedia provides for each version of an article so the reader can link directly to the exact version of the article the author relied upon rather than the most current version one receives when using the generic article URL, if they're going to cite to Wikipedia. Unfortunately, he doesn't discourage his readers from actually citing to Wikipedia in briefs or discuss when citing to Wikipedia in briefs might be appropriate, nor does he actually explain where Mr. Dubose stands on this issue. But that's not exactly why I'm writi…

This Week in Legal History -- Judges

On this day in legal history we celebrate the birth of two titans of the bench; judges whose influence not only on the law, but on society at large, are not in doubt. I am of course referring to Associate Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter and Judge Joseph Wapner who presided over The People’s Court. Who could have imagined that two such influential and esteemed men of the law would also share a birthday?

Justice Felix Frankfurter was born in Vienna, Austria on November 15, 1882 and emigrated to the United States in 1894 when he was twelve years old. Frankfurter was an excellent student who attended City College of New York and Harvard Law School where he excelled becoming editor of the Harvard Law Review. Frankfurter worked for Henry Stimson who became Secretary of War under President Taft. When Stimson moved to Washington DC he took Frankfurter with him. Frankfurter was soon invited to join the faculty at Harvard Law School. During World War I he returned to Washington DC as a …

New PACER Training Site

The Federal Judiciary recently announced a new training website for the Public Access to Electronic Court Records (PACER) database. The PACER system provides the public with access to federal court docket information and documents at a cost of $.08 per page (which will increase to $.10 per page in 2012). This new training website will allow users to learn how to search for documents and navigate the system free of charge.

However, not all database content is available in the training site. Currently it includes information and documents from real cases filed in the Western District of New York between 1/1/2007 and 7/1/2007. You are not required to register with PACER to gain access to the site. Instead, a training login and password are provided for all visitors to use. For more information about how to use PACER, see the PACER Service Center User Manual.

OyezToday App

If you are looking for an easy way to keep up with Supreme Court developments on your mobile device, give the OyezToday App a try. From the Oyez Project at Chicago-Kent College of Law, this app provides information about Supreme Court cases for the current term. It has abstracts of all cases granted review as well as audio of oral arguments with searchable transcripts. Once a case is decided, the app will have a summary and the full-text of the decision along with information about how each of the Justices voted in the case.

The app is available for free on iOS and Android devices. For more information about the app, visit the OyezToday website. You can download the app from the iTunes App Store or the Android Market.

Are Encryption Keys Exempt from Fifth Amendment Protection?

An article posted on Law Technology News (LTN) by Joshua A. Engel, discusses whether an individual can be required by law enforcement to disclose an encryption key or password to access content on a cellphone or computer. This has obvious Fifth Amendment implications because such disclosure can be viewed as an admission that the individual in question possesses and has access to the documents and information sought by investigators. According to the article, courts have used the "foregone conclusion" doctrine to exempt such encryption keys or passwords from Fifth Amendment protection against self incrimination where the investigators were already aware of the documents. See In re Grand Jury Subpoena to Sebastian Boucher, U.S.D.C., D. Vt. No. 2:06-mj-91 (February 19, 2009). The article points out that the emergence of cloud services where documents can be obtained and shared without downloading files to the device has made the government's ability obtain an encryption key…