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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

Starbucks, Facebook, and the Law Library

Allow me to extend another hearty welcome, new and returning students!  For those of you who were not involved in yesterday’s law school orientation, you may have noticed that the law library is now on Facebook and Twitter.  You may be asking yourself, ‘why would I want to follow or “like” the law library’?  Through these profiles, the law library will keep you up to date on changes in library hours throughout the year, announcements of library events, and other interesting or fun tidbits we come across.

As an incentive to “like” us on Facebook, when our page reaches 100 likes, we will randomly select one Maurer Law student who has liked us to receive a $25 Starbucks gift card!

And…go!

Welcome New Students!

Welcome to the new 1L class, and congratulations on starting orientation today!  We hope that you have a wonderful law school experience, and at the Law Library will do everything that we can to make your time here fun and interesting.  The library is a place to study, learn, reflect, and prepare.  We hope that you will spend lots of time here, and if you have any questions we can help with, please don’t hesitate to ask any of the library staff.   We are excited about working with all our new students over the next three years. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

99 Problems and the Fourth Amendment

If you have heard Jay-Z’s song 99 Problems, you know it is about a true incident that occurred in 1994 when he was pulled over for a seemingly arbitrary traffic speed enforcement. The suggestion is that the cop’s use of traffic laws was a mere pretext for searching his car, as he fit the profile for a drug smuggler.

The song is pregnant with Fourth Amendment issues, particularly the question, “When can you use a traffic stop to search for drugs?” A lot can be gleaned from the lyrics, both truths and inaccuracies. It is perhaps no surprise then, that Jay-Z’s lyrics can be used to gain a better understanding of Criminal Law.

In a line-by-line analysis, Southwestern Law School Law Professor Caleb Mason (in his Saint Louis University Law Journal article, “Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, Verse 2: A Close Reading With Fourth Amendment Guidance for Cops and Perps”) offers a fantastic and enjoyable explanation of this area of law using the lyrics as a touchstone. For those of you who are interested in pop culture representations of criminal justice, you will love the examination given by this writer.

By Jen Kulka (Library Intern & Guest Blogger)

New Social Media for the Law Library!

The Law Library now has its own Facebook and Twitter accounts!  In addition to information, we will also be using these pages for fun.   Like us on Facebook and see historical photos of the Law Library or get a jump on useful legal resources.  Follow us on Twitter for important library announcements!  Both will also tie in with our YouTube channel, where a new video was just added.  In this one a Young Timmy is learns all about how helpful indexes can be with the help of an ever patient and condescending 1950’s narrator.  Go check these new pages out!

Please, Don’t Shoot the Fish!

In my quest to find and verify strange Indiana laws that are circulating on the web, I came across this curious statement – “it is illegal to catch fish with your bare hands.” Even better, it turns out this one is true and is still in effect!  

According to IC 14-22-9-1, Unlawful Means of Taking Fish: 

(a) Except as allowed by sections 3 and 11 [IC 14-22-9-3 and IC 14-22-9-11] of this chapter, a person may not take fish from waters containing state owned fish, waters of the state, or boundary waters of the state by the following:

(1) Means of:

(A) a weir;

(B) an electric current;

(C) dynamite or other explosive;

(D) a net;

(E) a seine;

(F) a trap; or

(G) any other substance that has a tendency to stupefy or poison fish.

(2) Means of the following:

(A) A firearm.

(B) A crossbow.

(C) The hands alone.

Honestly, I found the list of prohibited ways and means to be more intriguing than the lone method I originally started with.  Don’t shoot fish with a crossbow?  Yes, that is an actual Indiana law.  And while we are on the topic, please no explosives, Wile E. Coyote.

So, how did I verify this unusual law?  Print resources!  Sometimes, print really is easier.  By looking in the General Index of Burns Indiana Statutes Annotated I found the subject heading FISH AND WILDLIFE, which directed me to another subject heading, FISHING.  Under FISHING, I found the entry, Hands alone, fishing method prohibited, §14-22-9-1.  Incidentally, Title 14 contains the subjects of Recreation, Land Management, and Water Rights; Article 22 relates to Fish and Wildlife, and Chapter 9 is Regulation of Fishing.  You can also search through the Indiana Code on the website of the Indiana General Assembly

By Jen Kulka (Library Intern & Guest Blogger)

The Politics of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity vulnerabilities have been a cause of anxiety for governments, businesses, and individuals for over a decade. With an estimated 85 to 90 percent of the nation’s computer networks owned and managed by the private sector, resolving this concern has become an issue of upmost importance for Congress. In the first session of the 112th Congress alone, more than 40 bills, resolutions with provisions, and revisions to current laws were proposed. Despite this focused attention, however, none have yet become a law. This impasse occurs despite all parties concerned agreeing that action is needed because there is “disagreement over the role of federal regulations in defending privately owned computer networks, concerns about the privacy and civil liberties ramifications of any bills, and even election year politics.”

If you are interested in researching cybersecurity, I recommend that you first turn to the CRS report,  “Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources” (also available at Open CRS).  This is an excellent source that identifies relevant legislation, hearings from the 112th Congress, news stories, Executive Orders and Presidential Directives, data and statistics, and reports from both Congressional Research Service and other organizations. To find the full text of these documents there are a number of resources available to you, including FDsys, Thomas and ProQuest Congressional; or you can contact a reference librarian for assistance.

If you wish to follow cybersecurity in the news, you might want to follow the New York Times Topic: Computer Security (Cybersecurity), Homeland Security News Wire: Cybersecurity, or CQ.com.

By Jen Kulka (Library Intern & Guest Blogger)

When is a Grey Mare not a Grey Mare? And Other Tidbits from English Legal History

A patron recently requested information about a 1726 English case involving an action for recovery of a wager. The parties were in agreement that the plaintiff’s “grey mare” outran the defendant’s “bay mare,” but the plaintiff (an “eminent distiller”) was nonsuited anyway because he could not prove that the “grey mare” in the race was the one originally matched. Apparently he pulled a switcheroo, and substituted a different horse with “a far better share of heels.” As more than 500 £ were wagered on each side, it is not surprising that the newspaper account of the case reported that “the dispute has been the subject of conversation for these two years past at most public meetings of gentlemen sportsmen.”

The patron wished to know whether there might be an official report of the decision, but unfortunately did not know the names of the parties or even the court in which the cause was heard. With only a hint that the court sat at Guildhall, we could surmise that it was the Lord Mayor’s Court (which still exists!), and at least some of that court’s decisions did find their way into the English Reports. But how to find the case without party names?

Fortunately, the English Reports, Full Reprint, is included in HeinOnline. This database permits the user to search for terms in the decision, such as “grey mare,” “bay mare,” and “wager.” Unfortunately, a search for these keywords retrieved nothing. Likewise a search in the Lexis English case law file containing decisions going back to 1561. So it appears that no report was made in any of the so-called nominative reports that comprised the ‘official’ world of case reporting in 18th century England.

Continuing on the subject of online reports of older English case law, those with a historical bent of mind might want to look at the proceedings of the Old Bailey, a free online database of English criminal cases spanning the period 1674-1913. This is an absolutely amazing collection of 197,745 criminal trials held at London’s central criminal court, described as “[a] fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published.” Just for fun, I searched for cases involving grey mares, and in fact found 10 cases in which such horses were stolen. Perhaps one was the ringer used to dupe the “gentlemen sportsmen;” if so, it profited its seller no more than the “eminent distiller” who could not collect his gambling debt.

Perhaps it is fitting (and maybe even ironic) that the Old Bailey database is funded by the English National Lottery.

Tracking nuclear inspections

On Wednesday, May 23, diplomats from the United States and five other global powers met their Iranian counterparts in Baghdad to continue negotiations aimed at clearing the way for the international community gradually to lift economic sanctions in return for Iran’s agreement to permit independent verification of the non-military nature of its nuclear power program. Any such independent verification would be carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an independent agency within the United Nations family.

For those seeking detailed information about the IAEA and its verification practices, the agency’s web site provides a wealth of information about its history, organization, and legal framework. The agency was founded in 1957 as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization. The secretariat is headquartered in Vienna, with research centers at various other locations around the world, and is run by a staff of 2300. As an independent international agency, the IAEA’s relationship to the United Nations is regulated by its statute and special agreement with the parent body. Its policy-making bodies include the General Conference of Member States (currently 154) and a Board of Governors, composed of 35 states chosen by the General Conference.
Nuclear inspections are carried out by the Department of Safeguards. According to the Department’s web page, the safeguards system “comprises an extensive set of technical measures by which the IAEA Secretariat independently verifies the correctness and the completeness of the declarations made by States about their nuclear material and activities.” These safeguards include procedures undertaken at sites declared by states to contain nuclear material, as well as “strengthened” procedures designed to permit the IAEA to draw conclusions “about the non-diversion of declared nuclear material and the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in that State.” Interestingly, the “strengthened” measures are carried out on the basis of a model Additional Protocol to existing safeguards agreements, which not all member states (including Iran) have ratified. Hence authority for any such strengthened procedures in the current situation will have to be the product of negotiation.
Applicable legal texts, a Safeguards Factsheet, and links to a web page dedicated to the IAEA’s relationship with Iran are available at the Department of Safeguards web site.

New Law Library YouTube Channel

The Law Library just started its own YouTube channel!  We hope to bring you many educational and entertaining videos in the future.  For our first video, we present an infomercial for the Law Library.  Go check it out!  Thanks to the students and library staff who made this possible.

Fun with Gov Info: Popular Baby Names

Find out the most popular baby names of 2011 (courtesy of U.S. Social Security Administration).

You can search the popularity of names dating back to 1880. You can also look up popular names by birth year, decade, or state; popular names for twins; and popular names in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.

H.T.: USA.gov