Monthly Archives: August 2011

Legislative History Research Resources

Legislative history research got you down? Here are some great resources to help you navigate the waters.

Research Guides:


CALI lessons:



ProQuest has several upcoming webinars for thier Congressional Digital Suite and Legislative Insight (webinars are free, but you must register):

These webinars aim to help you:

1. Develop an understanding of the legislative process both:

a. Procedurally – How did the language read as first proposed, what committees considered the proposal, when were amendments made and where was the proposal when it was amended;
b. As an adversarial process – who was lobbying in support of the proposal and what were they trying to accomplish, who was active in opposition what were their objections, who was responsible for amendments to the proposal;2. Become familiar with the documents available pertinent to your issue;3. Identify where in the process the changes you care about occurred – this provides a mechanism to narrow the scope of your search for explanations for why the language was changed;4. Learn how to identify both direct and circumstantial evidence of intent.

The Insanity Defense

You’ve heard of the Insanity Defense–it’s well known in popular culture, from Clue‘s Mrs. Peacock attempting to set herself up for it after being revealed as Mr. Body’s killer to the question of it being used for Jared Lee Loughner.  But do you know what it really is, and how it works?

Over at FindLaw’s blog, there’s a post explaining exactly what the Insanity Defense is.  They include links to a full explanation of the M’Naghten Rule, as well as links to descriptions of different states’ takes on the Insanity Defense.

Courtroom Canines

It’s no secret that many of the Law Library staff are animal lovers. Whether we’re fond of felines or prefer pooches, you would not have to go far to find someone that can testify to the therapeutic effects of our furry friends. The folks at Yale Law Library’s would likely agree; their pilot therapy dog program was a smash with stressed out students.  

So we were touched to read this article about Rosie, a therapy dog who helped a young victim through her courtroom testimony.

This is not the first time a dog has assisted in courtroom proceedings. there’s even an organization, Courthouse Dogs, that will help interested parties set up a courtroom therapy dog program.

But this latest trial has raised some interesting legal questions. It seems Rosie is in the doghouse for being too likable: defense lawyers claim that the dog’s presence caused jury bias:

The defense’s appeal of Rosie’s first courtroom outing, in the rape case, is likely to establish legal principles on the issues of dogs in the witness box. “It is an important case, and appeals courts will consider it an important case,” James A. Cohen, a professor of criminal law at Fordham University School of Law, said.

We’ll be watching for the outcome of this one for sure.

Legal Research Study Aids Video

Check out this Youtube explores the topic of Legal Research Study Aids.   The conversation takes place between Hololibrarian characters – Bonnie Bright, a second year law school student and Michael Mulligan, a first year law school student.

After you watch the video, stop by the Law Library’s Study Skills Collection located in the Reserve Reading room on the first floor of the Law Library.

Use Your Smartphone to Learn About Legal Research Materials in the Law Library

The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI), which helps law schools students use technology to learn about the law, has developed LibTour, a series of electronic law library tours using QR codes. Situated throughout the Ross-Blakley Law Library are LibTour signs that identify important sources that you should be aware of as a law student. The audio files are 1-4 minutes long.  They provide useful information on a particular resource and how it’s used in legal research.

After locating one of the signs, simply use your smartphone or iPad to scan the QR code and you will immediately hear an audio clip which will give you an overview of a source at your tour stop. Some of the sources you learn about include American Jurisprudence, American Law Reports and the Federal Digest.  There are twelve tour stops. To find them all, please stop by the Circulation Desk or Reference office in the Law Library and pick up a LibTour guide or download the following attachment.

If you need a QR code scanner for your smartphone, there are lots of free scanner apps that will work. For your iPhone use the free AT&T Code Scanner App. If you have an Android use the equally free (at least for Android) QuickMark.  We tested the tour with RedLaser.  RedLaser is a free scanning application for iPhone and Android.  

If you don’t have a SmartPhone, you can listen to the LibTours on your computer:

Fall Semester Law Library Hours and Limited Access

Law Library Hours on Wednesday, August 17 will be 8am – midnight.  Reference assistance will be available from 8:30am – 5pm.

Beginning  Thursday, August 18, library hours will be:

  • Monday – Thursday: 7am – midnight
  • Friday: 7am – 10pm
  • Saturday: 8am – 10pm
  • Sunday: 10am – midnight

During the Fall semester, Reference assistance will be available Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5pm.  Please check the Library Hours page for the complete schedule.

The Limited Access policies also go into effect on Thursday, so be sure to carry your Sun Card for access to the library.

Have a great semester!

Law Library Study Skills Collection

In an effort to make it easier and more efficient to find books that will help you succeed in law school, the Ross-Blakley Law Library staff has created a Study Skills Collection. Located in the Reserve Reading room on the first floor of the Law Library, the collection brings together an array of study aids, legal research and writing texts, exam and Bar exam materials. Materials in the collection include:

  • Hornbooks and Nutshells (Some current non-circulating copies are on Reserve at the Circulation Desk)
  • Legal Research Materials
  • Books on Legal Writing
  • Guides on preparing for and writing law school exams
  • Bar exam preparation materials

All the materials in the Study Skills Collection may be checked out for two weeks and are renewable twice. If you have any questions about or suggestions for the collection, please contact Leslie A. Pardo, Head of Access Services, (480) 965-3579.

CALI: Like Having Your Own Tutor

CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, is a consortium of law schools that researches and develops computer-mediated legal instruction. The CALI Library of Lessons includes more than 800 lessons covering over 30 legal education subject areas. They are designed to augment traditional law school instruction, and are written by law faculty and librarians.

As an ASU Law Student you have access to hundreds of CALI lessons and tutorials.  You can pick up your CALI CD in the library, or you can register online at  Stop by the front desk of the library for your free authorization code or

This video will help explain to new students how to register for access to lessons at

Registering at

1Ls: Law Library Top Ten Resources for You

Welcome 1Ls!  The Law Library staff welcomes you to the Law Library. We are ready to make your first year of law school a positive and productive experience. Below is a list of some of the services and resources the Law Library provides to you.  For more, please visit the Law Library Website.  Good Luck from the Law Library staff!