About Erika Wayne

Erika V. Wayne is deputy library director and lecturer in law at Stanford Law School. Along with George Wilson, Kate Wilko and Paul Lomio, Erika Wayne has co-taught Advanced Legal Research for 3 years. Erika's interest in Open Access dates back to the 1996 when she helped in the development of the Securities Class Action Clearinghouse -- the first court designated internet site for public posting of securities litigation filings. And, she hates to pay for *anything* that should be free. She has a law degree from Penn and a library degree from Illinois.

A New Supplemental Series of Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) Opinions Now Online at the DOJ

From the Department of Justice website:

“The first volume of a new supplemental series of OLC opinions (Op. O.L.C. Supp.) is available in its entirety as a PDF in the electronic reading room. As explained there and in the body of the publication itself, volume 1 of this series contains a number of important opinions written by OLC (or its predecessor entities in the Department of Justice) from 1933 to 1977, when OLC first began publishing its primary series (Op. O.L.C.). The purpose of the supplemental series is to fill in certain gaps in the historical record and to make available to the public additional OLC materials that may not have been appropriate to release publicly when issued to the client but with the passage of time have become publishable.”

 

Volume 1 of the new supplemental series of Office of Legal Counsel Opinions is online at: http://www.justice.gov/olc/docs/op-olc-supp.pdf

The volume includes a very useful and brief history of the OLC and an important note about the contents of this volume:

This volume is subdivided into three sections: one for opinions by Attorneys General; one for opinions by Assistant Solicitors General and OLC (and EAD); and one for other memoranda and correspondence of a less formal nature.  The volume includes at least one opinion by each Senate-confirmed Assistant Solicitor General or Assistant Attorney General of OLC (or EAD) from 1933 to 1977.  Included in the last section
of the volume are materials that would not typically be published in our primary series: for example, an early practices and procedures manual for the Office of the Assistant Solicitor General (remarkable in its detail
and in its areas of commonality with the modern practices and procedures of OLC); a 1962 memorandum of uncertain provenance
in the OLC files, perhaps drafted by the Deputy Legal Adviser for the Department of State, regarding possible responses to the Cuban missile crisis; and some action and file memos that may not qualify as formal opinions of the Office but nevertheless elucidate important legal issues.”

 

Get the Reading Bug, Not Bugs from Reading….

An article in today’s New York Times, “A Dark and Itchy Night,” describes a new bed bug problem: library books.

“bedbugs have discovered a new way to hitchhike in and out of beds: library books. It turns out that tiny bedbugs and their eggs can hide in the spines of hardcover books. The bugs crawl out at night to feed, find a new home in a headboard, and soon readers are enjoying not only plot twists but post-bite welts.”

I see it already: the new marketing campaign for Kindles and iPads and Nooks (and all other flavors of e-readers) will be about reading without the need for an exterminator…..Or, the only bugs in e-books are created by programmers….

After all members of my household enjoyed reading library books in bed last night (vocational hazard), I have to stop myself from overreacting.  But, I wonder how many law students, studying for exams, will think twice about this the next time they curl up with a library copy of a Chemerinsky on Constitutional Law or Prosser and Keaton?

Florida Democratic Party Lawsuit over Early Voter Wait Times – Case Documents

The Florida Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit in federal court regarding the delays early voter were facing at the polls in Florida.

For more about this litigation, see the New York Times blog post and the Politico posting.

Case information:

Florida Democratic Party v. Ken Detzner

U.S. District Court
Southern District of Florida (Miami)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:12-cv-24000-JAL

Complaint for Temporary Restraining Oder and Emergency Injunctive Relief.  [Exhibit 1-A, Exhibit 1-B, Exhibit 1-C] (11/4/2012)

NOTICE by Penelope Townsley of Corrected Suggestion of Mootness as to Miami-Dade County (11/5/2012)

EMERGENCY MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order ( Responses due by 11/23/2012), MOTION for Immediate Injunctive Relief Preliminary Injunction by Florida Democratic Party. (11/5/2012)

MEMORANDUM in Support re MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Florida Democratic Party (11/5/2012)

NOTICE by Susan Bucher re Complaint,  MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order MOTION for Preliminary Injunction of Suggestion of Mootness as to Palm Beach County (Exhibit #1 Absentee Ballots – Article)  (11/5/2012)

 

 

 

Finding Solicitor General Briefs (for free)

Updated

Quite a few of us were trying to unravel a few mysterious (to us, at least) citations in the DOJ  letter “RE: Physician Hospitals of America v. Sebelius, No. 11-40631.”

We know now that they are Solicitor General briefs from the DOJ (and, proper attribution of these cites as briefs would have removed all confusion).

While the DOJ researchers cite to Westlaw references that we do not have access to in academia, it would have been far easier to follow their research trail if they had only cited to the free versions of the briefs posted on the DOJ website.

The DOJ Solicitor General site has online briefs going back to 1982.  This site is easy to use.  You can browse by year, subject matter and client.  And, it is all freely available — many as PDFs.

Selling Others’ Briefs, Illustrated

To better illustrate some of the points made by Paul in his posting Selling others’ Briefs, Bryan L. Jarrett (our former student and now an associate at Jones Day) has given us permission to post two of the charts he created for his paper “Vending Appellate Briefs.”  (To recap, Bryan’s paper surveyed the practices of sixteen state jurisdictions and DC — the ten largest ABA jurisdictions (by membership size) and seven jurisdictions that did not supply copies of appellate briefs to commercial vendors.  The data was gathered in 2010.)

The first table (“Table I: The Ten Largest Jurisdictions”) displays five questions (for the jurisdictions of NY, CA, TX, FL, IL, DC, MA, OH, PA and NJ): do these jurisdictions provide appellate briefs online; do they have an arrangement with a vendor (Westlaw, Lexis) for the distribution of briefs; do these jurisdictions send appellate briefs directly to vendors; is the exchange of briefs quid pro quo; and have any attorneys objected.

The second table (“Table II: Jurisdictions that Do Not Supply Their Briefs to Vendors”) focuses on seven jurisdictions (NV, NH, NM, OK, VT, UT, and WY) and addresses the same questions as in Table I.

Google Fresh

Announced today on the Official Google Blog: Google is bringing you ‘fresher’ search results.

Based on changes in their ranking algorithm, approximately 35 percent of searches will be impacted (or made ‘fresher’).  The motivation behind this change is to give searchers more recent results for current and regularly occurring events.

According to the post, the changes will impact searches for:

  • “Recent events or hot topics. For recent events or hot topics that begin trending on the web, you want to find the latest information immediately. Now when you search for current events like [occupy oakland protest], or for the latest news about the [nba lockout], you’ll see more high-quality pages that might only be minutes old.”
  • “Regularly recurring events. Some events take place on a regularly recurring basis, such as annual conferences like [ICALP] or an event like the [presidential election]. Without specifying with your keywords, it’s implied that you expect to see the most recent event, and not one from 50 years ago. There are also things that recur more frequently, so now when you’re searching for the latest [NFL scores], [dancing with the stars] results or [exxon earnings], you’ll see the latest information.”
  • “Frequent updates. There are also searches for information that changes often, but isn’t really a hot topic or a recurring event. For example, if you’re researching the [best slr cameras], or you’re in the market for a new car and want [subaru impreza reviews], you probably want the most up to date information. “
Google recently eliminated (or ‘subtracted’) the power search “Plus” operator.   With all of these changes, it might be time for a bit of a re’fresher’ for some of us…..

“We don’t know what it is that they’re not putting online”

According to a new report from the Reynolds Journalism Institute, reporters regularly turn to government (Federal, State and Local) websites for data needed in their stories.

David Herzog writes on the RJI site, “The findings from the survey, conducted as part of my fellowship at RJI, show that government data – whether it’s a spreadsheet or database file – has become a key ingredient of U.S. daily newspaper reporting.”

Of those surveyed, many reporters noted deficiencies in government websites.  According to one reporter, “We don’t know what it is that they’re not putting online.”

Herzog shares a few of the notable complaints from reporters using government websites:
“They just don’t put enough of it there”
“I end up going to Google”
“Getting current records is often difficult”

 

 

 

 

FOIA Court Challenges Up 27% in FY 2011

The FOIA Project has just announced that FOIA court challenges were up 27% over last year.

The release states:

“The recently completed 2011 fiscal year saw 378 court challenges to the withholding of information by the federal government, up 27% from the previous fiscal year, according to district court information compiled as part of the FOIA Project.”

The FOIA Project contains information on 949 cases either filed or closed since October 2009.  The site has also has new features and charts, including:

“Closed cases: All FOIA cases filed in district courts and closed since FY 2010 (October 1, 2009) are now listed on the site….”
“New charts: Two new graphics have been added to the foiaproject.org website: a chart showing counts for closed cases and a map detailing the geographical distribution of closed cases.”
“New searches: You can now search the court documents database by the date in which a FOIA case was closed. In addition, you can also now search by the name of the judge who presided over the case.”

Survey: Will the PACER Fee Increase Change Your Research Habits?

Will the upcoming 25% fee increase for PACER documents change your research habits?

I wonder what other librarians and researchers are thinking about this increased cost.

If you have a moment, please take this one question poll and feel free to add comments to this post, too.

PACER Fees Increase

According a press release on the U.S. Courts website, PACER fees will be going 25% effective November 1st:  

“The Conference also authorized an increase in the Judiciary’s electronic public access fee in response to increasing costs for maintaining and enhancing the electronic public access system. The increase in the electronic public access (EPA) fee, from $.08 to $.10 per page, is needed to continue to support and improve the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, and to develop and implement the next generation of the Judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Filing system.”

The release continues to describe a few exemptions:

“The Conference was mindful of the impact such an increase could have on other public entities and on public users accessing the system to obtain information on a particular case.  For this reason, local, state, and federal government agencies will be exempted from the increase for three years. Moreover, PACER users who do not accrue charges of more than $15 in a quarterly billing cycle would not be charged a fee. (The current exemption is $10 per quarter.) The expanded exemption means that 75 to 80 percent of all users will still pay no fees.”

The expanded fee exemption (from $10 to $15 a quarter) offers additional help, but an exemption for academic institutions and law libraries, or at least GPO depository libraries, would serve the public good.

Might be a good time to teach your students and attorneys about using RECAP.