Oral Arguments on CourtListener!

Great news from our friends at CourtListener….

The CourtListener site is now adding oral arguments to the project,
and users can now search for oral
arguments and even get email alerts based on words in a case’s caption.

For more on this, see their exciting press release below from the Free Law Project:

“We’re very excited to announce that CourtListener is currently in the process of rolling out support for Oral Argument audio. This is a feature that we’ve wanted for at least four years — our name is CourtListener, after all — and one that will bring a raft of new features to the project. We already have about 500 oral arguments on the site, and we’ve got many more we’re we’ll be adding over the coming weeks.

For now we are getting oral argument audio in real time from ten federal appellate courts. As we get this audio, we are using it to power a number of features:

  • Oral Argument files become immediately available in our search results.
  • A podcast is automatically available for every jurisdiction we support and for any query that you can dream up. Want a custom podcast containing all of the 9th circuit arguments for a particular litigant? You got it.
  • You can now get alerts for oral arguments so you can be sure that you keep up with the latest coming out of the courts.
  • For developers, there are a number of new endpoints in both our REST API and our bulk data API for audio files.
  • Using the Free Law Seal Rookery, we are enhancing the audio we find on court websites by adding album art and better meta data.

For now, search results and alerts are limited to the data that is provided by court websites, so you cannot (yet) get alerted any time somebody says a certain word in court. Audio is a new area for us though and we’d absolutely love to automatically create transcripts for the courts, enabling such a feature. This would be an incredibly powerful feature, so if you are an expert on audio transcription, we’d love to hear from you and to work together on this.

Beyond all of the great features we’re rolling out today, oral argument data also marks an important turning point for the project because it lays the ground work for adding more types of data to CourtListener. It’s been a large undertaking adding a second type of data to the project, but adding a third will be much easier. Next in our hopper will likely be the content from RECAP so that you can create alerts, have powerful APIs, and do all the other things you expect from CourtListener, except this time, for documents from PACER.

We’re very excited about being able to provide oral argument data today and RECAP data tomorrow. We can’t wait to see what kinds of legal research and innovation these new features bring.”

New Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report on CyberCrime

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) earlier this month posted a new report:

Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws
by Charles Doyle
(97-1025)
From the report’s Summary:

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030, outlaws conduct that victimizes computer systems. It is a cyber security law. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computers connected to the Internet. It shields them from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage, and from being corruptly used as instruments of fraud. It is not a comprehensive provision, but instead it fills cracks and gaps in the protection afforded by other federal criminal laws. This is a brief sketch of CFAA and some of its federal statutory companions, including the amendments found in the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act, P.L. 110-326, 122 Stat. 3560 (2008).

World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) “Living Planet Report 2014″

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has recently released its Living Planet Report 2014 — for the full report, please see here.

Unfortunately, biodiversity on earth seems to be in worse shape than ever and is declining in both temperate and tropical regions of the earth, although the decline is reportedly greater in the tropics.

Per U.S. Library of Congress, Congress.gov Is No Longer in Beta Phase

Per the U.S. Library of Congress, Congress.gov — the successor to THOMAS — is no longer in its beta phase — please see the following news release:

Congress.gov Officially Out of Beta

From the news release, here are some new features/enhancements:

  1. New Feature: Congress.gov Resources
    – A new resources section providing an A to Z list of hundreds of links related to Congress
    – An expanded list of “most viewed” bills each day, archived to July 20, 2014
  2. New Feature: House Committee Hearing Videos
    – Live streams of House Committee hearings and meetings, and an accompanying archive to January, 2012
  3. Improvement: Advanced Search
    – Support for 30 new fields, including nominations, Congressional Record and name of member
  4. Improvement: Browse
    – Days in session calendar view
    – Roll Call votes
    – Bill by sponsor/co-sponsor

New American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) earlier this summer published a report “to corroborate” what it calls “a trend … nationwide: American policing has become unnecessarily and dangerously militarized” — please see:

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Digitizes Millions of Files — including Fingerprint Cards and Criminal History Folders

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has recently digitized millions of its files — including fingerprint cards and criminal history folders.

Please see:

CJIS [Criminal Justice Information Services] Digitizes Millions of Files in Modernization Push

Newly-Launched “LexisNexis Legal Content Insider”

Last month, coincident with the 107th Annual Meeting and Conference of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) in San Antonio, LexisNexis launched a new product called Legal Content Insider as “a one-stop destination to stay connected and up-to-date on the evolving landscape of legal publications.”

Please see the LexisNexis press release for this new resource here.

U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) “Report on the Surveillance Program Operated Pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)”

The U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) issued its “Report on the Surveillance Program Operated Pursuant to Section 702″ [50 U.S. Code § 1881a - Procedures for targeting certain persons outside the United States other than United States persons] of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) on July 2, 2014.

The accompanying PCLOB press release is here.

For some explanation of and materials about FISA please see here and here and here.

CRS Report on Tax Issues Regarding Corporate Expatriation, Inversions and Mergers

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently published a new report:

Corporate Expatriation, Inversions, and Mergers: Tax Issues (R43568 – May 27, 2014)
Donald J. Marples, Specialist in Public Finance
&
Jane G. Gravelle, Senior Specialist in Economic Policy

Here is the table of contents:

Contents
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
U.S. International Tax System…………………………………………………………………………………… 2
Anatomy of an Inversion………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2
Substantial Business Presence ……………………………………………………………………………….. 2
U.S. Corporation Acquired by a Larger Foreign Corporation ………………………………………. 3
A Smaller Foreign Corporation Acquired by a U.S. Corporation ………………………………….. 3
Response to Initial Inversions: The American Jobs Creation Act ………………………………….. 4
Post-2004 Inversions and Treasury Regulations ………………………………………………………… 5
Policy Options ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
U.S. Corporate Tax Reform …………………………………………………………………………………….. 8
Lower the Corporate Tax Rate  ……………………………………………………………………………….. 8
Adopt a Territorial Tax System   ………………………………………………………………………………. 9
Tax Reform Proposals  …………………………………………………………………………………………… 9
Targeted Approaches ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
Concluding Thoughts …………………………………………………………………………………………… 11

Amnesty International (AI): “Torture is Flourishing”

Amnesty International (AI) earlier this month posted the sad report

Torture in 2014: 30 Years of Broken Promises

For the accompanying AI press release, please see here.