Federal Criminal Law Resources

Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and the attorneys who negotiated his 2008 federal criminal plea deal are in the news.  US Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta is resigning from President Trump’s cabinet after defending his role in the negotiations.  Epstein has recently been charged with additional federal sexual offenses in New York.  His most recent case is being heard in the US District Court of the Southern District of New York.  The intricacies of federal criminal procedure, especially when they involve separate federal districts, are being discussed in news and social media outlets that cover legal issues. 

Librarians’ minds work in strange ways.  Since topics that are in the headlines can find their way to the Reference Desk, it leads us to a discussion of resources that the Alameda County Law Library collection offers for researching federal criminal law.

Much of ACLL’s collection is focused on California state law but here is information for attorneys and others who are involved in federal criminal cases.  Most of the federal law secondary resources can be accessed through our Westlaw subscription.

On the shelf at ACLL

ACLL does have primary and a few secondary resources on federal law in paper including:

United States Code Service Lawyers Edition

Federal Reporter cases to 2013, for later federal cases use Lexis or Westlaw.

Bender’s Federal Practice Forms (includes criminal) KF 8836 .F78

Available at ACLL through our Westlaw subscription

Complete Manual of Criminal Forms (includes federal)

Federal Criminal Appeals

Federal Criminal Restitution

Federal Criminal Rules Handbook

Federal Habeas Manual

Federal Jury Practice & Instructions (includes criminal)

Federal Jury Practice & Instructions: Criminal Companion Handbook

Federal Postconviction Remedies and Relief Handbook with Forms

Federal Practice & Procedure (the treatise formerly known as Wright & Miller)

Federal Rules of Evidence (treatise) (includes criminal)

Federal Trial Handbook: Criminal

Federal Trial Objections (includes criminal)

Federal criminal legal resources on the internet

There are also resources available on the internet.  Many legal pundits interested in the Epstein case are perusing the Justice Manual (JM) published by the United States Department of Justice.  The JM was previously known as the United States Attorneys’ Manual (USAM).  It was comprehensively revised and renamed in 2018.  Sections are updated periodically.  In general, the date of last revision will be noted at the end of each section.  For prior versions of the USAM, visit the USAM Archive.

Full text of the current JM is available at https://www.justice.gov/jm/justice-manual

With a personal PACER account, a researcher can gain access to online federal court filings and docket information.  Currently there are fees involved for searching and retrieving information off PACER.  ACLL does not offer access but librarians can offer guidance in using the site.

By setting up an account with Court Listener/Recap, a researcher may be able to access PACER dockets without charge as part of the co-operative file sharing of public documents that the site offers.  (And the archives are easier to search than the PACER website.)   With a case of high interest such as US v. Epstein, the docket activity can be reviewed and many of the documents are posted on the site and available for download.


Back To Oakland – Rutter Guides

Rutter Guides at ACLL

Sometimes the traditional ways of doing things can be the best and most satisfying.  An East Bay legend, Flint’s Barbecue, will soon be available once again.  And now, the Alameda County Law Library is happy to announce that another tradition is being re-introduced in Oakland.  Honest-to-pulp, up-to-date Rutter Guides, some titles long neglected, are back on our shelves.

We have heard your comments – when using these guides, being able to flip easily from section to relevant section just works better than navigating back and forth through screens. Thanks to Emily, ACLL’s Director, the budget dollars have been found to renew most (but not all) Rutter titles including a number of the very popular Rutter California Practice Guides.

Up-to-date Rutter Guides titles now also include:

  • California Practice Guide: Real Property Transactions (KFC150 .G74)
  • California Practice Guide: Insurance Litigation (KFC290 .A6 C34)
  • California Practice Guide: Civil Procedure before Trial: Statutes of Limitations (KFC995 .W445 2007)

A few titles are still awaiting the arrival of all the volumes in the set.

So, flip around to your heart’s content.  If you are a digital native – don’t worry – the online versions are still available on Westlaw.  And if you are so new to legal research that the Rutter name means nothing, you may want to check out these classics on California law.

New Edition Of Black’s Law Dictionary On The Shelf

New edition – Black’s Law Dictionary

The 11th Edition is here at the Alameda County Law Library‘s Reference Desk.  (KF156 .B53 2019 – Reference Desk)

Black’s Law Dictionary is a respected standard for the language of law.  Its publisher states that it is the most widely cited law book in the world.

In addition to giving you definitions of legal terms and the years of introduction of use, many of Black‘s entries provide annotations to further define the meaning of a word or phrase in a legal context.

Black’s is also searchable on Westlaw on the ACLL public computers.

Do you know what a Flip Wilson defense is?  Black’s has a definition.  It is described as a defense based on vague blame-shifting as in “Society made me do it” or “Drugs made me do it.”  Flip Wilson (1933 – 1998) was a comedian whose catchphrase in the 1960s and 1970s was “The devil made me do it.”

Help With Handling – CEB Action Guides

Help with handling – CEB Action Guides

A previous post professed law librarian admiration for the checklists that Lexis practice guides offer to researchers.

We would be remiss to not also discuss the step-by-step procedural guides from CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) – CEB Action Guides.

As stated on CEB’s website

Action Guides break down complex legal tasks into manageable steps, focusing on procedures and plans.  Within each guide, you’ll find comparisons of available options, details to consider, deadlines to meet, copies of legal forms to use, and case and treatise references.

At Alameda County Law Library, Action Guides are available via the OnLAW database on the public computers.  The guides can be read online or sections can be cut and pasted into a Word document then saved to a flash drive.

The series covers many important procedural topics.  Here is a list of titles:

  • Administering a Single-Person Trust After Settlor’s Death
  • Capacity and Undue Influence: Assessing, Challenging, and Defending
  • Enforcing Civil Money Judgments
  • Enforcing Security Interests in Personal Property
  • Funding a Revocable Trust
  • Handling a Probate
  • Handling a Real Property Foreclosure
  • Handling a Wrongful Termination Action
  • Handling Civil Appeals
  • Handling Civil Writs in the Courts of Appeal
  • Handling Claims Against Government Entities
  • Handling Depositions
  • Handling Expert Witnesses in California Courts
  • Handling Mechanics’ Liens and Related Remedies (Private Works)
  • Handling Motions to Compel and Other Discovery Motions
  • Handling Postmortem Trust Administration: A Checklist
  • Handling Service of Process (Serving Summons in Civil Proceedings)
  • Handling Subpoenas
  • Handling Unlawful Detainer
  • Laying a Foundation to Introduce Evidence (Preparing and Using Evidence at Trial)
  • Marital Deduction Subtrust Funding
  • Meeting Statutory Deadlines: During and After Litigation
  • Meeting Statutory Deadlines: Workers’ Compensation
  • Obtaining a Writ of Attachment
  • Obtaining Discovery: Initiating and Responding to Discovery Procedures
  • Preparing for Trial
  • Taking Security Interests in Personal Property
  • Transferring Property Without Probate
  • Working with Independent Contractors, Leased Workers, and Outsourcing

ACLL does subscribe to a few of the Action Guides in print.  These guides are so useful and popular that they can go AWOL.  Ask for help when trying to locate on the shelf.

Here are the titles in paper in our collection:

  • Administering Single Person Trust After Settlor’s Death
  • Capacity and Undue Influence: Assessing, Challenging, and Defending
  • Funding a Revocable Trust
  • Handling Mechanics’ Liens
  • Handling Service of Process
  • Handling Subpoenas: Here’s How and When to Do It
  • Taking Security Interests in Personal Property
  • Transferring Property Without Probate
  • Working with Independent Contractors, Leased Workers, and Outsourcing

California Prison and Parole Handbook

ACLL serves the diverse legal resource needs of the Alameda County community.

Alameda County Law Library patrons may be attorneys but many are not.  We are the public law library for Alameda County.  We provide legal resource guidance for all citizens whatever their needs or backgrounds.

Over the years, we have had a number of patrons who come in to do research for family members who cannot come to the library themselves.  Their relatives are incarcerated.

Resources on the civil rights of individuals within the prison system are few.  Our go-to resource is the Prison Law Office‘s title – The California Prison and Parole Law Handbook.  Topics include discussion of the rights of persons in prison, conditions, and prison rules violations.

This title is available on the shelf (KFC 1181.5 .C35 2019) but we are glad to see that this 2019 edition is now also available on the internet from the Prison Law Office’s website – https://prisonlaw.com/the-california-prison-and-parole-law-handbook .

Interested in supporting ACLL’s mission of providing access to legal information resources for all?

Our donation page is standing by, waiting for your keyboard clicks. HERE