Sunday, October 31, 2010
The Salem Witch Trials: A Reference Guide by K. David Goss (Call #KFM2478.8.W5 G67 2008), interpretations of the trials from the earliest historians to late 20th century analysis with relevant and instructive black-and-white photos and illustrations. Fifty court-related primary documents, selectively detailed biographies of key trial figures, an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
Witch-Hunting In Seventeenth-Century New England: A Documentary History 1638-1693 edited by David D. Hall (Call #BF1575 .W62 1999), a collection of court depositions and excerpts from the diaries and letters of contemporaries on witch-hunts seen through the eyes of the accusers, the victims, abd the judges revealing the emotions in communal life and family relationships within New England's small towns and villages.
The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History by Peter Charles Hoffer (Call #KFM2478.8.W5 H645 1997), an examination of the Salem witch trials where the author shows how rights we take for granted today did not exist in colonial times and also demonstrates how these cases relate to current instances of children accusing adults of abuse.
Witch-Children: From Salem Witch-Hunts to Modern Courtrooms by Hans Sebald (Call #BF1576 .S43 1995), a study of the participation of small children and adolescents in witch trials, whether as the accused or as the accusers, determining the fates of many unsuspecting men and women. The author maintains that the classic "Salem syndrome" is not mere past history but often reenacted in modern courtrooms where children accuse others of molesting or seducing them, with or without satanic ritual, with a public mind-set predisposed to believe them.
A Trial of Witches: A Seventeenth Century Witchcraft Prosecution by Ivan Bunn and Gilbert Geis (Call #KD371.W56 G45 1997), a case study of the witchcraft trial of two women in 1662 Lowestoft, England, including a description of the accusers and prosecutors and an analysis of the trial itself, which was cited as a precedent in the Salem witchcraft trials.
Witchcraft & Witch Trials: A History of English Witchcraft and its Legal Perspectives, 1542 to 1736 by Gregory Durston (Call #KD371.W56 D87 2000), a book of scholarship showing that the English persecution of witches was overwhelmingly a secular legal phenomenon, rather than the result of popular or ecclesiastical action.
Witchcraft in England, 1558-1618 by Barbara Rosen (Call #BF1581 .W79 1991), a rare collection of documents - pamphlets, reports, trial accounts, and other material - that describes the experience, interpretation, and punishment of witchcraft in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
Friday, October 29, 2010
The increase in fundraising and spending in election campaigns is significant. The real test of democracy is voter turnout. The New York City Board of Elections has an online Poll Site Locator to find polling places throughout the city. Polling Places are open on Election Day 6:00am to 9:00pm. In addition to choosing Senators, Representatives, Governor, and Attorney General, voters have a choice on two citywide ballot questions approved by the New York City Charter Revision Commission. The questions appear on the back of the ballot. Question 1 is on restoring a limit of two consecutive terms for Mayor, City Council member, Public Advocate, Borough President and Comptroller. Question 2 has seven subparts on Elections and Government Administration. See the 2010 Ballot Questions here.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Locally, the issue of robo-signing and flawed foreclosure filings has drawn the attention of Brooklyn State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Schack. This week, in Onewest Bank, F.S.B. v Drayton, 2010 NY Slip Op 20429, Judge Schack ruled that the bank, which relied on an admitted “robo-signer” to transfer the $492,000 mortgage on the pro se defendant's East New York home, failed to prove it owned the property in question. “To prevent the waste of judicial resources, the instant foreclosure is dismissed without prejudice,” Schack wrote. The decision is the latest of several that have turned Judge Schack into a hero of troubled homeowners across the nation.
This video from the October 14 edition of PBS NewHour features Judge Schack and others discussing the flawed foreclosure paperwork that has led attorneys general in every state and the District of Columbia to launch a joint investigation into the issue and to a temporary halt by banks in foreclosure proceedings.
The Brooklyn Law School Library has in its collection the recently published third edition of the National Consumer Law Center's Foreclosures: Defenses, Workouts, and Mortgage Servicing by John Rao (Call #KF697.F6 R3 2010) described as the best book for in-depth legal research on the subject of foreclosure. The related library record links to the book's companion website for which the publisher has a description here.
Friday, October 22, 2010
The Brooklyn Law School Library has in its collection several items on the subject of Hispanic Americans the most recent of which is Latino/a Rights and Justice in the United States: Perspectives and Approaches by José Luis Morín (Call # E184.S75 M675 2009). The author, a professor of Latin American and Latina/o Studies Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, provides an understanding of the Latino/a experience of discrimination and economic and social injustice in the United States. The book, in its second edition, discusses the racial and ethnic bias that Hispanics encounter in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, citizenship rights, immigration and crime. The author challenges conventional ideas and popular myths about Hispanics in the US.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Prior to applying, applicants must register with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) at it website. To be eligible for admission to the LL.M. program for foreign-trained lawyers, prospective students must hold the equivalent of a J.D. from a foreign university, meet minimum requirements for English language proficiency under TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), and submit at least two letters of recommendation from law school professors, employers, supervisors or other individuals who can the applicant'spotential for successful graduate legal studies. The Early Action application deadline is December 1, 2010 and the Regular Review application deadline is February 1, 2011. More information about the LL.M degree program is on the Brooklyn Law School website.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Not later than 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the head of each executive agency to: (A) designate one or more senior officials within the agency to oversee the agency’s implementation of this Act; (B) communicate this Act’s requirements to the agency’s employees; (C) train agency employees in plain writing; (D) establish a process for overseeing the agency’s ongoing compliance with this Act’s requirements; (E) create and maintain a plain writing section of the agency’s website that is accessible from its homepage; and (F) designate one or more agency points-of-contact to receive and respond to public input on (i)the implementation of this Act; and (ii) the agency reports required under section 5.”According to H. Rept. 111-432, the history of the effort to implement plain language dates back to 1979 when President Carter issued Executive Order 12174 encouraging agencies to draft forms ‘‘to elicit information in a simple, straightforward fashion.’’ The title of the original bill, H.R. 946, was the Plain Language Act of 2009 when Rep. Bruce L. Braley of Iowa introduced it in February 2010. The Committee on Oversight and Government, chaired by Brooklyn Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns, reported the bill to the House in March 2010 and changed its name to the Plain Writing Act.
The new law is not retroactive so that regulations in effect at the time of its enactment, along with instructions for implementing them, need not be rewritten unless they are being “substantially revised”. Furthermore, the new law becomes effective one year after the date of its enactment in order to give federal agencies time to comply. Congressman Braley issued a press release with three before-and-after examples of plain language in federal documents.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The author, a Cleveland Indians fan, traces his interest in baseball to the 1948 World Series contest when the Indians defeated the New York Yankees and won its last World Series title. But the 176 page book is not about baseball’s heroes, their statistics, or the strategies of team managers. Instead, Smart Ball looks at the business side of the game. Chapters, following the four bases that are part of the game, are titled: First Base - Baseball as a Sport: Creating Power; Second Base - Baseball as a Domestic Monopoly: Developing Power; Third Base - Baseball as a Neocolonialist Abusing Power; and Home Plate - Baseball as a Global Business: Balancing Power. This book is not for the casual baseball fan but is for those interested in understanding the business of baseball.
Another item in the BLS Library collection is The Little White Book of Baseball Law by John H. Minan and Kevin Cole (Call # KF3989 .M563 2009). The 226 page book looks at legal disputes from baseball history with an examination of some of the more arcane rules in baseball. The chapters use baseball’s inning structure offering eighteen innings (a double-header as stated in the preface) of legal disputes resolved by the courts. They include cases on ticket scalping, Lainer v. City of Boston, 95 F.Supp.2d 17 (2000), beanball pitches (Avila v. Citrus Community College District, 41 Cal. Rptr. 3d 399 (2006), and Major League Baseball's antitrust exemption, Flood v. Kuhn, 407 U.S. 258 (1972). The authors use an "Umpire's Ruling" segment after each chapter explaining a legal issue of the game. There is even an explanation of the “infield fly rule”. This book will appeal to both lawyers and sports fans with its short-story format and references to movies, songs, history, and other trivia.
As for the upcoming World Series, may the best team (the Yankees?) win.
Friday, October 8, 2010
This pod cast features Brooklyn Law School Cataloging Librarian Jeff Gabel. Jeff joined Brooklyn Law School in July 2006. His principal areas of responsibility include contributing to the development of the school catalog and managing the Law School's e-resources. His publications include “Grammatical Noun Cases for Non-Linguists: Bibliometrics Applied to a Subset of the Literature on Finnish Linguistics,” in Collection Management, “Improving Information Retrieval of Subjects through Citation-Analysis” in Knowledge Organization (presented at the Ninth International ISKO Conference, Vienna, July 5-7, 2006), and “Visualizing Similarity in Subject Term Co-Assignment” (presented at the 2009 Vancouver ASIS&T Annual Meeting).
Besides his work at the BLS Library, Jeff discusses his art work for which he recently won the Eight Cuts Gallery Prize for the best literature of 2010. This high recognition is an online literary prize discussed in more detail at the Eight Cuts website “a space to bring writers to readers and readers to writers in the most exciting way possible”. The site recognizes Jeff’s blog (called Thomas Stolperer) and says that his August 12, 2010 post, Small Slidable Plastic Tiles, may be the best thing on the whole internet. Jeff talks about his Facebook page (sign in required) for Thomas Stolperer which he developed from a character in a book by Carl Zuckmayer. The Spencer Brownstone Gallery in New York has shown Jeff’s art work which led to a Critic’s Choice designation in Art Forum. The Village Voice also featured an article Meet Jeff Gabel's Sad-Sack Antiheros.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Web of Science is an online citation index that will lead to books, academic journals, and other literature that have cited to a particular work. Researchers can obtain literature showing the greatest impact in a field, or more than one discipline. For example, a paper's influence can be determined by linking to all the papers that have cited it. In this way, researchers can assess current trends, patterns, and emerging fields of research. Web of Science has indexing coverage from the year 1900 to the present. A Thomson Reuters tutorial for Web of Science is available at this link.
JCR allows researchers to evaluate and compare journals using citation data drawn from over 7,500 scholarly and technical journals from more than 3,300 publishers in over 60 countries. It is the only source of citation data on journals, and includes virtually all areas of science, technology, and social sciences. A tutorial for using JCR is at this link. Journal Citation Reports will help the researcher identify the:
- Most frequently cited journals in a field
- Highest impact journals in a field
- Largest journals in a field
These databases provide valuable information for students beginning research in a particular discipline or area of research. The databases do have limitations as not every journal that is published is listed in JCR. Together they provide a great deal of valuable information for both the new researcher and the more experienced faculty member applying for tenure.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
The International Law Students Association (ILSA) has Chapter Program Grants on this link. The American Society of International Law has a web page on Fellowship and Research opportunities. The ABA Section on International Law has the Rona R. Mears Student Writing Competition & Scholarship Awards with a January 2011 deadline. The New York State Bar Assciation has the Albert S. Pergam International Law Writing Competition Award with a December 2010 deadline for a $2000 prize. There are others. Searching for law student scholarships involves creativity and work. Think broadly while looking for scholarships. Feel free speak to a reference librarian at the ref desk for more information.