Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Georgetown Law Journal Annual Review of Criminal Procedure

Every research librarian has a favorite resource, a treatise or journal that he or she loves to use or recommend. Mine is the Georgetown Law Journal Annual Review of Criminal Procedure.

While I was in law school, I spent a semester interning with Judge Joseph Laplante at the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire. For my first assignment, Judge Laplante gave me a criminal case. The defendant had filed a motion to dismiss, and Judge Laplante asked me to write a memo assessing the motion's merits.

Along with the case file, Judge Laplante handed me a thick volume from his chambers library. "I trust that you know how to research and write, so I won't tell you how should do this project," he said. "But here is the book I always use when I start researching a criminal issue. You'll find it useful."

The book he gave me was the current volume of the Georgetown Law Journal Annual Review of Criminal Procedure. And I found it more than useful. It was a wealth of information. The Georgetown Law Journal Annual Review of Criminal Procedure provides a survey of federal criminal procedure updated through the year of the volume. The Annual Review is divided into sections based on topics, with subsections for each discrete issue under a topic. The discussion of each issue is brief; the Annual Review attempts little beyond a statement of law regarding the issue, or a summary of the different views if the law is unsettled. Because of its brevity, the text is not of much value. The value of the Annual Review is in the footnotes that accompany the text. For each statement of law, the Annual Review includes footnotes with citations to cases that establish the law or identify and explain different sides of the issue. The footnotes include Supreme Court cases and cases from the courts of appeals for each circuit.

For my assignment from Judge Laplante, I was able to turn to the section in the Annual Review that addressed my issue and look to the footnotes for a list of relevant First Circuit cases. After five minutes with the Annual Review, the majority of my research was finished. The cases I found in the Annual Review provided the information and support that I needed to write the memo Judge Laplante requested.

Since my internship at the federal court, I have always turned to the Annual Review when I have a research project involving criminal procedure. It doesn't provide an answer every time, but I always find it useful, just as Judge Laplante said I would.

The Law Library has the Georgetown Law Journal Annual Review of Criminal Procedure in print and online through WestlawNext and Lexis Advance. To access the Annual Review through Westlaw, go to the Georgetown Law Journal, run a search, and narrow the results by publication name to the Georgetown Law Journal Annual Review of Criminal Procedure. To access the Annual Review through Lexis, go to Browse Sources, search for the Georgetown Law Journal Annual Review of Criminal Procedure, and add the source to your search.


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