Wisconsin State Law Library

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December 27, 2012

Libraries Closed: Dec. 31 and Jan. 1

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Monday, December 31st and Tuesday, January 1st for state holidays. We will respond to questions and requests on Wednesday, January 2nd.

To submit a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online.

December 25, 2012

WSLL Recommends: The Law of Computer Technology

With a title like The Law of Computer Technology: Rights, Licenses, Liabilities, extensive coverage of software development, contracts, liabilities, and licensing is unsurprising. What may surprise some users of this set is the information throughout that can be applied to ordinary business or end-user technology concerns.

This four volume set is organized into three broad sections:
  • Intellectual property issues 
  • Transactional issues 
  • Contemporary information issues 

The intellectual property issues section spans the first two volumes and covers typical issues of concern to a software business. Software copyright, patents, trade secrets, and ownership are discussed in depth. Domain name ownership and the related issues of cybersquatting, infringing content, and domain protection are of interest to the average business owner looking to set up or protect their online identity.

The transactional issues section is useful for businesses with both a deep history of software sales and those looking to start up a new enterprise. Learn about standards for contracts and end user license enforcement. Find guidance for service, programmer, or consultant contracts. This section covers popular issues in the news, like the rule of first sale, and ownership of free or open source software.

Further contemporary issues are covered in the third section, including online defamation, spam, spyware, and threats. Uploading, downloading, and content sharing are examined in the context of copyright law. An overview is provided of different types of computer crimes, as well as jurisdiction over websites and individuals.

Each chapter includes detailed case, article, and treatise references for further research.

December 20, 2012

Dane County Legal Resource Center Closed Friday, Dec. 21

The Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Friday, December 21st due to the snow storm. The Dane County Courthouse will also be closed. 

The Wisconsin State Law Library and Milwaukee Legal Resource Center are open on Friday.

Thank you, and be safe out there! 

Madison Libraries Closed Due to Snow

Due to weather conditions, the Wisconsin State Law Library and Dane County Legal Resource Center are closed on Thursday, December 20th. 

According to a weather statement on wicourts.gov, all Madison-based court administrative offices and the Dane County Courthouse will also be closed on Thursday.

The Milwaukee Legal Resource Center is currently scheduled to be open. Watch this site, our Facebook page, or our Google+ page for further updates.

We will respond to questions and requests on Friday, December 21st.

To submit a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online.

December 19, 2012

Dane County Legal Resource Center Closed Thurs. Dec 20

The Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Thursday, December 20th due to the snow storm. The Dane County Courthouse will also be closed. 

Currently the Wisconsin State Law Library and Milwaukee Legal Resource Center are scheduled to be open on Thursday. Watch this site to get updates on library closures. We'll post first thing tomorrow with any new closings or truncated hours.

December 18, 2012

Libraries Closed: December 24 & 25

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Monday, December 24th and Tuesday, December 25th for state holidays. We will respond to questions and requests on Wednesday, December 26th.

To submit a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online.

All three libraries will also be closed for the Monday, December 31st and Tuesday, January 1st state holidays.

December 14, 2012

Shopping Guides from the FTC

This week the Federal Trade Commission rolled out a new website for consumers: http://consumer.ftc.gov
Learn more about your consumer rights by browsing through topics on a variety of issues, watching videos, or playing games. Keep informed on the latest scams by visiting the new Scam Alerts page.
If you're a business trying to learn how you can protect your customers, be sure to check out the guides on http://business.ftc.gov/.

Those with shopping still to do may want to check out the guides linked from FTC's Happy holiday shopping guide, including:

Many of these guides are also linked from our consumer legal topic pages like Consumer Complaints, Consumer Protection, Internet Shopping, and Warranties.

December 7, 2012

2011-2012 Wisconsin Statutes Availability & Purchase Information

The Department of Administration's Document Sales & Distribution Unit will soon have the 2011-2012 Wisconsin Statutes for sale. Currently they are distributing the sets that are supplied to government offices under Wis. Stat. s.35.84. Document Sales does not accept orders or post pricing information until after the statutory distribution of this title is completed. You can watch their website or online catalog for availability information. The State Law Library will also post additional information when it is available.

December 6, 2012

WSLL at Your Service: December 2012

The December issue of WSLL @ Your Service is now online! Get new book recommendations, library news, and online legal research tips.

In this issue:

As always, your comments are welcome.  Please direct them to the editor, Connie.VonDerHeide@wicourts.gov

December 3, 2012

Toys for Tots Donation Deadline this Thursday

This year the Wisconsin State Law Library (WSLL) is serving as a dropoff site for the local Toys for Tots annual campaign. The last day to donate toys is Thursday, December 6th.

New, unwrapped toys brought to WSLL during November and December will be collected by the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation of Madison and delivered as Christmas presents to less fortunate children in Dane County. Toys may be dropped off at WSLL, 120 MLK, Jr. Blvd, 2nd floor, during regular library hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday.

If you don't have time to shop or stop by WSLL, consider donating online.

In 2011 the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program distributed over 15.6 million toys to over 7.2 million less fortunate children nationwide.

November 22, 2012

WSLL Recommends: American Law of Products Liability 3d

This month our highlight is the print set, American Law of Products Liability 3d. If you are working on a products liability case this 32 volume set has everything you need.

American Law of Products Liability is broken down into the following looseleaf binders:

Primary Source Documents with Federal and State Laws, Uniform laws and the UCC.

Practice Aids Binders with forms, checklists, pattern discovery and jury instructions.

Main treatise binders containing elements of products liability cases, negligence and warranty liability, design and manufacturing defects, defense and procedural directions, and damages and fees. There is also an in-depth analysis of types of cases including food, packaging, cleaning supplies, clothing, toys, machinery, and agriculture. Litigators will also appreciate the ability to find names of expert witnesses and attorneys involved in specific products liability cases.

Rounding out the set are the detailed Index, Table and Citator binders. The Citator is a treasure trove containing research references to Westlaw databases, digests, ALR articles, forms, law reviews, legal encyclopedias, other treatise and practice aids, and case law by jurisdiction. Please note these "finding tool" volumes do not circulate.

This set is updated four times a year with the next supplement scheduled to arrive in December. There is also a monthly newsletter with relevant products liability news and information. Check this set out the next time you are in the library!

November 19, 2012

Libraries Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Thursday, November 22nd for a state holiday. WSLL and MLRC will be open the next day on Friday, November 23rd; DCLRC will be closed until the following Monday.

To submit a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online. We will respond to questions and requests on Friday, November 23rd.

November 14, 2012

FLAC and SCAP Volunteer Training in Madison

The Family Law Assistance Center (FLAC) and the Small Claims Assistance Program (SCAP) are weekly pro se legal assistance clinics that meet in the Dane County Courthouse. Both clinics are looking for new volunteers!

FLAC and SCAP services are in heavy demand. FLAC serves over 500 pro se litigants a year; SCAP is close behind with an average of 400 annual visitors. Data suggests those numbers are on the rise for both clinics. In 2013, Dane County would like to expand SCAP's Spanish language assistance to twice monthly.

In addition to new volunteers, those continuing in 2013 are strongly encouraged to attend as well. Each training session is worth 2 CLE and 1 Ethics CLE credit, plus there is no registration fee.

Click on each image below to view the training session details, and to get more information about each clinic.

Contact Dane County Legal Resource Center librarian Lisa Winkler to RSVP.

November 12, 2012

Toys for Tots Dropoff Site

As the holiday shopping season approaches, don't forget that the Wisconsin State Law Library (WSLL) is serving as a dropoff site for the local Toys for Tots annual campaign. The last day to donate toys is Thursday, December 6th.

New, unwrapped toys brought to WSLL during November and December will be collected by the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation of Madison and delivered as Christmas presents to less fortunate children in Dane County. Toys may be dropped off at WSLL, 120 MLK, Jr. Blvd, 2nd floor, during regular library hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday.

If you don't have time to shop or stop by WSLL, consider donating online.

In 2011 the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program distributed over 15.6 million toys to over 7.2 million less fortunate children nationwide.

WSLL's Toys for Tots collection box is on the 2nd floor just inside the door.

November 9, 2012

Celebrating Veterans Day

Veterans Day is observed on November 11th, a day to honor America's veterans and thank them for their service to our country. We'd like to thank our own veterans, Pete Boll and Julie Tessmer! (pictured below)

Learn more about Veterans Day at the US Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Day page, covering history, educational resources, observances, and ceremonies. Find out how Wisconsin is observing Veterans Day at the WI Dept. of Veterans Affairs events calendar.

We encourage researchers to explore our Veterans and Military Law legal topic pages. We also link to legal assistance resources for active military, veterans, and their families on our Legal Assistance legal topic page. Do you have a question? Ask us!

While Veterans Day is a national holiday, it is not a Wisconsin state holiday, so we will be open the following Monday, November 12.

WSLL Librarians and veterans Pete Boll (left) and Julie Tessmer (right) at the Veterans Law Center launch celebration in Madison, Wis.

November 6, 2012

Sign Up Now for November Classes

There are still a few seats available in the hands-on legal research classes being held in the State Law Library's training room this month.

On November 13th and 28th, learn how to do ethics research on Westlaw. The class will review Westlaw sources and students will learn online searching techniques for researching ethics and professional responsibility questions. This class offers ethics CLE credits. For details and registration forms, please visit our Classes web page.

On November 27th learn about the process and materials used in researching the legislative history of Wisconsin statutes. This class offers CLE credits. For details and registration forms, please visit our Classes web page.

It's Election Day!

It's election day! Check https://myvote.wi.gov/ for your polling place information and to see your sample ballot. Do you have questions about voting today? Remember to check the information on the MyVote WI website, or our latest Frequently asked questions about voting post. 

While researching a ballot question last month, we came across these old sample ballots folded into the 1951 Wisconsin Statutes. Click on each image to enlarge.

November 2, 2012

Library Access During Nov. 5 Campaign Rally

The Wisconsin State Law Library will not be physically accessible during the presidential campaign rally on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on Monday morning, Nov. 5. Library staff will be available to assist you by phone or email. Our website is also available 24/7.


Because of preparations being made within and around the Law Library and the entire Risser Justice Center in advance of the rally, we are suspending After Hours library access from 5:00 p.m. Friday, November 2 through 8:00 a.m. Monday, November 5.

We sincerely apologize for these temporary disruptions in library service.

November 1, 2012

WSLL at Your Service: November 2012

The November issue of WSLL @ Your Service is now online! Get new book recommendations, library news, and tips for managing the search options in your browser.

In this issue:
As always, your comments are welcome.  Please direct them to the editor, Connie.VonDerHeide@wicourts.gov

October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

For a little Halloween fun, we have put together a quick Trick or Treat Trivia game! The answers are at the bottom of this post.
  1. Which Chicago area serial killer is represented in our library collection?
  2. How many years has the Wisconsin State Law Library been hanging around?
  3. Which library service did we have available in 1999:
    Website, Public Access Westlaw, Borrow by Mail, or HeinOnline? 
  4. Which keyword does not result in any hits in our library catalog? Ghost, Goblin, Witch, or Vampires? 
  5. What title do we not have in our collection: Enter the Corpse, Death in Wisconsin, Stalking Justice or Goodbye Lizzie Borden
  6. What three types of creatures inhabited the library in the capitol building?

Below is a tag cloud of some of the types of questions we have received in the past year. Are you in need of our spookily speedy research help? Ask a Librarian!

Happy Halloween!

Click image to enlarge picture.
  1. Herman W. Mudgett alias H.H. Holmes aka Devil in the White City. The Trial of Herman W. Mudgett Alias H.H. Holmes
  2. 176
  3. Website
  4. Goblin
  5. Stalking Justice: the Dramatic True Story of the Detective Who First Used DNA Testing to Catch a Serial Killer
  6. Bats, Birds and Mice

October 30, 2012

Can the election be postponed due to the hurricane?

The authority to determine a date for presidential elections is found in the US Constitition, Article 2, §1. This section authorizes Congress to determine the timing of the election, which is detailed in 3 USC §1 "Time of appointing electors."

"The electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and Vice President."

As far as whether a Federal election would be rescheduled, the Congressional Research Service published a study on this question in 2004: "Postponement and rescheduling of elections to Federal office". The report notes that while Congress has the authority over the timing of presidential elections, there is no express constitutional direction or federal law which "provides express authority to 'postpone' an election." Follow the link for the report to read more about the issue!

October 29, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions about Voting

With the November 6th election fast approaching, here are answers to some questions we get at the library. Wisconsin residents can check on their voting status, view sample ballots, and locate their polling place on the Wisconsin Voter Information website (https://myvote.wi.gov/).

To get ready for November 6th, check out the Government Accountability Board's (GAB)  Election Day Voting Guide

Do I need an ID to vote?

Currently no photo identification is required to vote.

From the GAB's FAQ:
Voter Photo ID provisions of 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 are currently enjoined orders of by two Wisconsin circuit courts. Those decisions have been appealed by the Attorney General, but until they are resolved, no photo ID is required to receive a ballot in Wisconsin.

When and where can I register to vote?

Check the GAB guide on registering to vote for general information and start the process of registering. Wisconsin residents can start the registration process at https://myvote.wi.gov/ by using the registration form wizard. You can also contact your local city clerk's office or register at your polling place on November 6th. If you intend to register at the clerk's office, be aware that registration at the clerk's office ends the Friday before the election at 5:00 p.m. or close of business, whichever is later. With the election next week, proof of residence will be required to register at the clerk's office or at your polling place.

The GAB has compiled a voter registration deadlines guide for the upcoming election.

Can I vote early?

See this GAB information page, What Are The Deadlines for Making an Absentee Ballot Request?, and learn more about absentee ballots from their main FAQ page.

By mail: request must be received in the office of the municipal clerk no later than 5 pm on the Thursday preceding an election.

In-person: a request made in person at the clerk's office may be made until 5 pm on the Friday preceeding the election.

Hospitalized electors and sequestered jurors have further options, and can learn more by contacting their local municipal clerk.

How are active military members voting?

There are a few ways that military members can request and complete ballots. Those methods are outlined on the GAB military voters information page. There is also a special starting page for military and overseas voters on the https://myvote.wi.gov/ website.

I just moved. Can I still vote?

According to the GAB voter registration guide,
Voters who will reside at their address for at least 28 days by Election Day are eligible to vote.
Voters who have moved within Wisconsin less than 28 days before the election must vote from
their previous address, either by absentee ballot or at the polling place. Voters who have moved
to Wisconsin from another state less than 28 days before an election are only eligible to vote in
Presidential elections.
For those newly arrived in Wisconsin, learn more about obtaining a presidential ballot from the instructions on page 2 of the GAB form for Application for presidential ballot - new Wisconsin resident, or contact your local municipal clerk for more information.

What determines the order of names on a ballot?

The rules for the order of names on ballots for president can be found in Wisconsin Statute 5.64.
The party candidates shall be arranged consecutively from top to bottom based on the number of votes received by their party's candidate for governor at the last election beginning with the party that received the most votes. The independent president-vice president candidates shall be listed together in an order drawn by lot by or under supervision of the board, following under the party candidates. Along with the names of the independent candidates shall appear the party or principle of the candidates, if any, in 5 words or less, as shown on their nomination papers. Following under the independent candidates, a space shall be left for writing in the names of a candidate for president and vice president.- Wisconsin Statute 5.64(1)(es)
See also, the GAB's How is the order of candidates' names appearing on the ballot determined?

If I register to vote, am I also signing up for jury duty?

No. Jury duty rosters are pulled from the WI Dept. of Motor Vehicles records, not from voting registrations. If you have a Wisconsin drivers license or state ID, then you will be in the DMV's records.

Can convicted felons vote? In Wisconsin? Elsewhere?

The US Justice Department publishes a book called Civil Disabilities of Conviction Felons: A State by State Survey. This book covers not only voting restoration but other rights, such as sitting on a jury and holding public office.  Firearm possession is also covered.
According to this book, "the effect of a federal felony conviction upon the right to vote is determined by the law of the state in which the felon seeks to vote, and thus varies from state to state.

In Wisconsin, a convicted felon may vote after serving all time - prison, probation / parole.  ProCon.org provides a state-by-state chart and is more up-to-date then the USDOJ publication.

Can the election be postponed due to the hurricane?

See our recent blog post on that topic: Can the election be postponed due to the hurricane?

Where can I learn more?

For more helpful FAQ's, see the GAB's page on the topic: http://gab.wi.gov/faq

October 26, 2012

Librarians Speak Out

Our October newsletter had a short blurb on DCLRC librarian Lisa Winkler speaking at the September 18 public hearing of the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission. From our newsletter:
The Commission was created in 2009 by the Wisconsin Supreme Court at the request of the State Bar of Wisconsin to aid the courts in improving the administration of justice by supporting civil legal services to those who cannot afford them. Its mission is to develop and encourage means of expanding access to the civil justice system for unrepresented low-income Wisconsin residents. Through the Commission's series of public hearings being held around the state, local community members, judges, lawyers, social services agencies and others are sharing their experiences, and challenges, in providing or finding civil legal assistance for low income people in Wisconsin. In her remarks, Lisa described the services and access to legal research materials DCLRC provides for self-represented litigants, who comprise more than 70% of its 20,000 users each year.

The Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission has a summary of the session on their website: Milwaukee and Madison speakers highlight the fraying legal safety net for the poor, by Jeff Brown.

October 18, 2012

Wisconsin Law Ebooks

A few months ago we wrote about free legal ebooks available from different educational and governmental organizations. As a follow-up to that post, the Wisconsin Legislature just came out with a new beta version of the Wisconsin Statutes in ebook formats.

A link to download the ebooks and technical recommendations can be found on the Wisconsin Statutes home page. Ebooks are available in .epub and Amazon Kindle .mobi formats. Quick instructions for using the books on smartphones, iPads, Kindle, and Nook devices are included.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

October marks the 9th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC). 

Learn about how to stay safe online from the Dept. of Homeland Security's Cyber Security Awareness Month pages. Highlights include the Stop.Think.Connect. public education campaign, resources for defending against cybercrime, information for business owners, lesson plans for teachers, and information technology security guidelines.

Go to the following pages on our website for more information:

October 17, 2012

Catalog and E-Journal Access Limited Thursday Morning

The online catalog, HeinOnline, and LegalTrac may be temporarily unavailable from 6:30 to 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 18th.

Regular access will resume after 8 a.m. on Thursday morning. Thank you for your patience during this brief down time.

October 15, 2012

Americans with Disabilities: Practice and Compliance Manual

This month the library is highlighting a print set called Americans with Disabilities: Practice and Compliance Manual. It is a valuable and well-respected treatise and practice manual. Comprised of 4 main topics, the set is housed in 7 looseleaf binders. All the volumes circulate to our library card holders.

The 4 main practice areas include: Programs, Services and Accommodations; Employment; Education; and Housing. Forms are included at the end of each main topic making this set a valuable tool for practitioners. It also contains relevant statutes, regulations, and agency materials, as well as ALR annotations and strategies for trial from Am. Jur. Trials.

This set is updated quarterly and our set was most recently supplemented in August 2012. This well organized manual might be just the place to start your disability law research, whether you are researching compliance requirements, defending against, or filing for a discrimination suit under the ADA.

October 4, 2012

WSLL at Your Service: October 2012

October brings us beautiful fall colors and a very full newsletter. Highlights include a reminder to sign up for our fall CLE classes, information about our upgraded wireless network, and a new guide on major employment law treatises. 

Contents include: 

October 3, 2012

Library Open to Madison Law Students

The UW Law School library may be closed on Thursday for the President's visit, but our library will be open as usual, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We encourage law students looking for a place to study to come on by.

Our library features a variety of seating areas: the Reading Room, smaller group or individual tables with great views of downtown and Lake Monona, the quieter atmosphere of the Rare Book Room, or sequester yourself in one of the individual user workrooms available on a first-come first-served basis. We also have electrical outlets and internet jacks all over the library, or you can use our free WiFi service. Stop by the Circulation Desk to pick up a bookmark with this month's WiFi password or sign out an ethernet cable if you need one. Storage lockers for use during library hours are also available.
Scan this code to your mobile device to save our WiFi network connection information!

September 28, 2012

Tips and tricks: WI Legislature website

If you missed our September class on using the Wisconsin Legislature website, you can still take advantage of these quick tips. We link to both the resources discussed below from the legislative branch section of our Wisconsin Law legal topic page.

Drafting Records

The 2011-2012 drafting files, official records of the bill drafting process, are now available online. Coverage for this valuable resource now spans from 1999 to 2012. Prior records (back to 1927) are only available in microfiche, which may be used at the Wisconsin State Law Library or the Legislative Reference Bureau Library.

Drafting records on the WI Legislature's website

Wisconsin Acts

Did you know that you can access older versions of the Wisconsin statutes, as well as Wisconsin acts from prior years from the legislature's website? The Wisconsin Law Archive provides access to statutes back to the 1969-1970 session and acts are linked back to the 1957-1958 session. Here's a tip we recently learned to access acts older than 1957.

If you edit the URL for any year back to 1949, the Acts for those years are available online as well.
  1. For example, take a link for the 1957-1958 acts:
  2. Edit the date in the URL to reflect the first date of a prior session (as far back as 1949). To access the 1951-1952 session's acts, we would type this into the browser:
Access acts from 1949 to 1956 with this quick URL-altering trick
If you have any questions about finding Wisconsin laws or using research resources, please Ask a Librarian.

September 25, 2012

Today is National Voter Registration Day

Tuesday, September 25th is National Voter Registration Day. Are you registered to vote? If not, learn how to register to vote at the WI Government Accountability Board (GAB) website.

The GAB also recently released a new Wisconsin Voter Information website. This site includes information for the typical Wisconsin resident, as well as a new system for overseas and military voters who wish to vote by absentee ballot.

Check our Voting legal topic page for links to laws and more information.

September 21, 2012

New Classes for Fall

Recently added to our website, we now have three CLE classes open for registration. In October, sign up to learn about the free Westlaw provided at the Wisconsin State Law Library. Instruction will cover databases and included treatises, and the class will offer useful tips on boolean and natural language searching. 

Also in October, Finding Wisconsin Public Records will help researchers discover criminal, state and local court, business, real estate, lien, foreclosure records, and more.

Our November class features tips for finding and using free Wisconsin appellate briefs online.

Learn more and sign up for all these classes from our Classes page!

September 19, 2012

The Life and Trial of Albert Hicks, Pirate!

In recognition of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, we bring you this short excerpt from a book in our Rare Book collection, Celebrated Trials. This collection includes the following account of the crime of Albert W. Hicks, pirate and murderer.

"On Thursday, March 16th, the sloop "E.A. Johnson," sailed from the foot of Spring street, New York, for Deep Creek, Va., for a cargo of oysters.

...Wednesday the 22nd of March, the sloop was picked up by the schooner "Telegraph" of New London, in the lower bay, between the West Bank and the Romer Schoals. On being boarded, she was found to have been abandoned, as also to bear the most unmistakable evidence of foul play having taken place at some time, not remote. It was also evident that a collision had taken place with some other vessel, as her bowsprit had been carried away, and was then floating alongside, attached to her by the stays. Upon further examination, her deck appeared to have been washed with human blood, and her cabin bore dire marks of a desperate struggle for life."

The opening statement for the government instructs the jury on the difference between robbery on a street corner and the same act when it occurs in open water.
"The punishment, as you will perceive, for the offence [sic] committed upon the high seas [death], is different from its punishment when committed upon land. It is to protect more effectually and punish more thoroughly offences occurring upon vessels upon the high seas, where the protection for person and property is not so great as it can be on land, where individuals are so much surrounded by the police regulations to protect them and their property."

A detailed description of the evidence, crime scene, and Hicks' every move around the time of the crime followed the opening statement. Additional witnesses brought further tales of the Hicks' past pirate and privateer exploits.

The life, trial, confession and execution of Albert W. Hicks, pirate and murderer, executed on Bedloe's Island, New York Bay, on the 13th of July, 1860, for the murder of Capt. Burr and Smith and Oliver Watts, on board the oyster sloop E.A. Johnson ; containing the history of his life (written by himself) ... with a full account of his piracies, murders, mutinies, high-way robberies, etc., comprising the particulars of nearly one hundred murders! To which is added the account of his arrest, imprisonment, trial and execution. Also, his phrenological character, as described by L.N. Fowler

September 17, 2012

WSLL Recommends: The Law of Premises Liability

Our latest recommended title is The Law of Premises Liability, by Glen Weissenberger and Barbara B. McFarland.

This treatise addresses personal injury actions brought by entrants against owners or occupiers of land. Previously published as a hardbound volume with a paperbound annual supplement, it is now in looseleaf format with several updates ("releases") published each year. As such, it remains one of the most complete and up-to-date resources available on the law of premises liability.

Individual chapters cover:
  • Liability to trespassers, licensees or invitees for unintended harms
  • Public employees and recreational entrants
  • The Slip-and-fall case
  • Liability for other-than-negligent torts
  • Landlord and tenant
  • Suits against government: federal, state, municipal, and public housing authorities
  • Liability for harm caused by criminal acts of third persons
  • Liability of dramshop (bar or saloon) owners, social hosts and others for harm caused by intoxicated persons
Though this treatise discusses the latest case law from all 50 states, it does not provide a way to pinpoint the discussion of any particular state's cases or to determine which opinions of any given state court are discussed. Therefore, researchers interested in Wisconsin law might also want to consult titles such as Wisconsin Safe-Place Law, Premises Liability: Preparation and Trial of a Difficult Case in Wisconsin; and Elements of an Action (Wisconsin Practice Series, vol. 14).

September 14, 2012

Dial 7-1-1 to communicate!

Deaf Awareness Week is September 24-29, 2012. Did you know you can dial 7-1-1 to connect and communicate with any caller 24 hours a day? Dialing 7-1-1 will connect you with Wisconsin Relay, a free service throughout Wisconsin for people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, and speech-disabled. All calls are private and confidential.

Deaf Awareness Week is a great time for businesses to educate their employees about Wisconsin Relay and the Please Don’t Hang Up campaign. The 7-1-1 service does not work with all business phone systems. See these alternative toll-free numbers to contact Wisconsin Relay.

September 9, 2012

National Grandparents Day

Did you know that Sunday, September 9th is National Grandparents Day in the United States? Thanks to the Utah State Law Library for bringing this to my attention. According to their blog,
"36 U.S.C. §125 states this commemorative day is designated the first Sunday after Labor Day. U.S. President Jimmy Carter declared the first National Grandparents Day in 1978 in a presidential proclamation."

This year's presidential proclamation by President Barack Obama can be read on the White House Briefing Room website.

We are regularly asked about grandparent rights and responsibilities, so we have a few pages on our website with information on the topic:

September 7, 2012

September is Juror Appreciation Month

Several county courts are planning activities to recognize the contribution of jurors this month. According to a Wisconsin Court System press release, activities across the state may include school visits, radio appearances, open houses, and decorations recognizing jurors for their service.

Contact your local clerk of circuit court for more information on how your county is observing Juror Appreciation Month.

Our library has many books dedicated to jury service and history. We also have several practical treatises on working with juries, including popular books of jury instructions. Here is just a sampling of them:

We also have a page on our website dedicated to juries, including links to information about jury duty and instructions to juries. Wisconsin Statutes on jury trials can also be found on our Civil and Criminal Law legal topic pages.

WSLL at Your Service: September 2012

The September issue of WSLL @ Your Service has been published.

In this issue: 

As always, your comments are welcome. Please direct them to the editor, Connie.VonDerHeide@wicourts.gov

September 3, 2012

Upcoming Class: WI Legislature Website

Sign up for our next class on the Wisconsin Legislature website - Wednesday, September 26 from 9-10 a.m.

In this hands-on overview of the Legislature's site you'll learn how to track legislative activity, locate bills and acts, and search the online Wisconsin Statutes. You'll also learn about the Legislative Notification Service, and where to find publications of the various Legislative Service Agencies.
Fee: $35.00. 1 CLE credit applied for.

Registration is limited to 8. You can register online now or print and send in a registration form.

August 29, 2012

BNA Bulletin to Management

With management bulletins from BNA, keep current on the latest legislation, regulations, and trends relating to pay, benefits, employee relations, safety, and more. Of interest in the latest issue:
  • Taking its cue from recent headlines about mass shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, the feature article discusses steps employers can take to mitigate the risk of workplace mass homicides. See: Employers can take steps to mitigate risk of workplace mass homicides, experts say.
  • Always a swiftly changing issue, a special report focuses on employee/employer use of social media and the National Labor Relations Act.
  • Other articles examine flexible scheduling, sick leave, and the results of recent employment law cases.
BNA's Bulletin to Management service is intended to provide practical tips and information on improving workplace performance and limiting liabilities. This weekly bulletin is available for checkout from the Wisconsin State Law Library. To request a copy of one of the articles mentioned above, fill out our Order a Document form or call us at 608-267-9696.

August 28, 2012

Libraries Closed: September 3rd

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Monday, September 3rd in observance of Labor Day.

To submit a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online. We will respond to questions and requests on Tuesday, September 4th.

August 26, 2012

For Your Convenience: Legal E-Books

The Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute has released the 2012 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence ebooks, formatted for use on mobile phones and other devices.

The books are available in DRM-free ePub format, which means they can be used on iPads, iPhones, Nooks, and any other device that supports ePub. Books can be downloaded by visiting the Institute's Federal Rules ebooks page from your handheld device and clicking on a link to download directly to your device, or downloading to a computer then transferring to your device.

In related news, be sure to read the latest WisBlawg post which highlights the new Bluebook mobile application, or this InsideTrack article on Mobile apps from the Federal government.

August 19, 2012

WSLL Recommends: BNA Human Resources Library

The Bloomberg BNA Human Resources Library is a one stop shop for information on many important human resource (HR) and employment law topics. The online database provides news, analysis, tools, and research aids to help find and understand the various and complex federal and state employment laws and regulations.

 Examples of the types of information you'll find and how it is organized include:
  • HR Topic Navigator
  • National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) Rights in the Nonunion Workplace
  • State Law Summaries and Quick Reference Charts
  • HR Policy Handbook
  • Attorney Resources
  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Compliance Analysis
This valuable source of HR related information is only available to on-site users at the State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center. Please ask a Reference Librarian for assistance.

August 10, 2012

Mars and Beyond

This week NASA tumbled back into international headlines with the recent triumphant landing of the latest Mars rover, Curiosity. Thinking about Curiosity (yes, you can follow it on Twitter and Facebook) set me to imagining again a teeming spaceport nestled in our own Wisconsin. Ever since I stumbled across the term "spaceport" in the Wisconsin Statutes, I can’t help but dream a little about the potential behind that word.

Video from
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology

I had expected to find the origins of "spaceport" as it appears in the WI Statutes, and the accompanying Wisconsin Aerospace Authority, to be rooted somewhere in the 70's – a bold legislative vision spurred by the moon landing. Instead, I was surprised to learn the originating act passed just a short time before I arrived in Wisconsin - with 2005 WI Act 335. The act was intended:

[To create] the Wisconsin Aerospace Authority to develop and operate spaceports and related facilities and services and other aerospace facilities and services and providing the authority with the power of condemnation, authorizing municipalities to develop and operate spaceports, and making an appropriation.

Researching the act further, I learned that the legislation was primarily intended to build a space science educational facility in Sheboygan – the Great Lakes Aerospace Science and Education Center.

With the facility now established the Wisconsin Aerospace Authority is currently unfunded. But it's still fun for space nerds like me to see those mentions of "spaceport" in the statutes – a little dream for the future scattered throughout our laws.

The Federal Aviation Administration has an interesting guide on their site for those who want to learn more about spaceport support in the United States: State support for commercial space activities. Their summary for Wisconsin says:

Though not focused specifically on space transportation, Wisconsin offers a wide range of incentives geared specifically towards high technology business. Many of these incentives are accessible to space transportation companies who locate within Wisconsin. 

With commercial space vehicles in development, perhaps this will become relevant again someday soon. For more on the law and spaceports, see P.J. Blount's "If you legislate it, they will come: using incentive-based legislation to attract the commercial space industry" (Air and Space Lawyer. 22.3 (July 2009)) Sign in with your library card to read this article.

As others have mentioned, be sure to watch around 7:50 when the room erupts in cheers when the safe arrival has been confirmed and telemetry begins to come in.

August 3, 2012

WSLL at Your Service: August 2012

Newly added books, tips for researching the publication date of a website, and recommendations for fun reading as well as discovery research fill the August newsletter.  

Contents include: 
  • What's New - In the good ol' summertime...; Have program, will travel; Library staff news; Closed for holiday
  • This Just In... - New and updated library materials
  • Tech Tip in Brief - "How old is this web site?"
  • WSLL Recommends: Bender's Forms of Discovery
  • Odds 'n' Endings: Drought information sites; Books that shaped Wisconsin

July 29, 2012

New to the Website: July 2012 Update

We recently added two new resources to our Sports Law legal topic page: a link to a recent State Bar of Wisconsin InsideTrack article, "Concussion law and youth sports: a new law that protects the head", and a link to the concussion and head injury law in the Wisconsin Statutes.

Also new to our website:
Do you have suggestions for or comments about our website? Contact the webmaster!

July 20, 2012

What is on the book cart?

Have you noticed staff working with materials near shelves and wondered what they were doing? In a typical week about 25-30 titles will receive some type of supplement to bring them up to date. The frequency and style of updates depends on editorial choices made by publishers, and our subscriptions. Common types of supplements are looseleaf filing, which integrates page into books, or pocket parts found in the back of each volume.

A filing cart ready to go.

To determine the last time a book was updated, check our catalog which will display the last update received. Other useful information can be found in cover dates or revision statements on the title pages of the volume or pocket part, or on the last filing instructions used to update a book - found in the front of the first volume of a set. If you need help determining when a title was updated, ask a librarian.

Check the catalog record for the latest update.

July 15, 2012

WSLL Recommends: Bender’s Forms of Discovery

Combining procedural analysis along with sample forms, the 17 volume Bender's Forms of Discovery is a comprehensive guide to discovery in state and federal practice. Volumes 1 – 10A include countless subject specific interrogatory forms contributed by attorneys who have prepared and used them in their practices. Each interrogatory is focused on a single, concise question to "safeguard against evasiveness in answers". Interrogatories are grouped into chapters by subject, with subjects arranged alphabetically. Chapters begin with a scope note providing a brief analysis of the topic, along with references to related subject chapters and to other treatises. Table of contents for individual chapters include detailed entries for each sample form, for easy browsing; volume 10A includes an index to forms.

Volumes 11-17 focus on discovery practice with full coverage of federal discovery law and related state laws, along with practice forms. Noteworthy chapters include those on Civil Rule 26 duty to disclose, medical discovery, depositions, criminal discovery, FOIA, and e-discovery. Individual chapters include bibliographic guides for further research. Volume 12a contains case digests on entry on land and on the production and inspection of documents and things. The set includes charts comparing the discovery rules of the 50 states with federal discovery rules and state rules at variance with federal rules. Volume 17 includes an index to the practice volumes. Bender's Forms of Discovery is available for checkout from the Wisconsin State Law Library.

July 8, 2012

Alcohol Beverages Regulation in Wisconsin

We recently added to our collection a new title from the State Bar of Wisconsin: Alcohol beverages regulation in Wisconsin.

Written by Attorney Aaron Gary of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, this two volume set explains the rules and legislation that regulate the alcohol industry in Wisconsin. This new title addresses alcoholic beverage laws including definitions of different kinds of beverages, production, taxation, transportation, sale, storage, and enforcement and penalties.

A detailed table of contents can be found on the State Bar of Wisconsin's website.

Copies will be available from each library, as well as through the Library's subscription to Books Unbound on our public access computers.

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