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June 29, 2015

WSLL Recommends: Exculpatory Evidence

Black's Law Dictionary defines "exculpatory evidence" as evidence tending to establish a criminal defendant's innocence. The authoritative text on exculpatory evidence is Exculpatory Evidence: the accused's constitutional right to introduce favorable evidence. Written by renown experts Edward J. Imwinkelried, UC Davis School of Law and Norman M. Garland, Southwestern University Law School, it is now in its third edition.

This detailed treatise offers a comprehensive examination of a defendant's right to present exculpatory evidence. Criminal defense attorneys will appreciate the commentary on successful trial defense strategies and ways to improve the effectiveness of their arguments.

Newer counsel and seasoned litigators will benefit from reading the introductory chapter on the English common law behind the accused's right to present a defense and how it developed into a constitutional standard in American case law. Subsequent chapters break down individual rules such as:
  • Procedural restrictions on the admissibility of defense evidence
  • Rules rendering persons incompetent as witnesses at trial
  • Rules excluding logically irrelevant evidence
  • Hearsay rule excluding unreliable testimony
  • Defense advocacy for the accused's right to present evidence
Check out Exculpatory evidence to help you present the best possible defense in your cases.

June 22, 2015

Fireworks Laws in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Statute 167.10 addresses the regulation of fireworks in Wisconsin and lists various firework-related devices that aren't regulated, such as sparklers or toy snakes. Anyone looking for a concise summary of fireworks laws should look at the WI Dept. of Justice's Wisconsin Fireworks Law memo. This guide includes a list of items that are generally legal in Wisconsin without a permit, as well as those that are illegal without a permit throughout Wisconsin.

It's important to note that further restrictions and enforcement rest with local authorities, so be sure to check local ordinances. Permits are generally issued by local authorities (i.e. the mayor or person designated by the mayor). The Wisconsin Fireworks Law memo also covers examples of laws and practices you might see for local fireworks regulation.

Image credit: ericnvntr, Wikimedia Commons

June 18, 2015

Webinar on Criminal Justice Websites

Sign up now for a live webinar from the FDLP Academy, The Abundance of Federal Criminal Justice Websites: Criminal Justice Websites You Should Know. This free webinar is offered on Tuesday, June 23rd from 1-2 p.m.

The U.S. Federal Government publishes a variety of resources on criminal justice. The webinar will look at websites for federal departments, statistics, research tools, and evidence based research.

June 12, 2015

Vacation Rental Laws in Wisconsin

Homeowners wishing to rent out their homes as vacation rentals can look to the local level as well as state regulations.

Check local ordinances for laws about vacation rentals. If your town or city isn't on our list, contact the municipal clerk's office. If the clerk doesn't maintain the ordinances, check with the corporation counsel office or a local public library. The local building and zoning department may also be a useful contact for information about zoning restrictions or permits.

The Wisconsin Department of Health issues permits to individuals and businesses for lodging facilities in Wisconsin. Read more at their tourist rooming houses and bed & breakfast permits & laws page. Wisconsin Administrative Code chapter DHS 195 regulates hotels, motels, and tourist rooming houses and DHS 197 regulates bed and breakfasts. 

Renters may want to check their lease for sublet or guest clauses. Legal publisher Nolo.com has a page on their website for tenants looking to use Airbnb. Nolo also has a broader interest page for homeowners: Airbnb and other short-term rentals of your home.

June 5, 2015

Magna Carta at 800

This month marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. On June 15, 1215 King John of England added his seal to the Magna Carta, a document that is frequently cited as inspiring principles outlined in the U.S. and Wisconsin constitutions.

We have a number of library resources to share this month. Several books, such as the ABA's Magna Carta and the rule of law, examine its history in the context of our own legal documents. We also have a 1759 Blackstone treatise examining the Magna Carta which includes the text in original Latin with beautiful illustrations (pictured).

Stop by the library in mid-June to see our display of books about and related to the Magna Carta and view a framed duplication of the original document.

Library cardholders can log in to HeinOnline to search the English Reports collection, which dates back to 1220. Search for "Magna Carta" in the Early American Case Law collection to read older discussions of this historical document in Federal case law.

A search in HeinOnline's Law Journal Library for "magna carta" turns up thousands of matches with subjects ranging from prison law to environmental law.

Be sure to check out the British Library's translation from Latin to modern English of the original 1215 edition. The U.S. National Archives also includes research sources on their website, relating the Magna Carta to U.S. law.

June 2, 2015

WSLL at Your Service: June 2015

Add our June newsletter to the top of your summer reading list. Get updates on summer CLE classes and catch up with library news. Skim new books in our collection - we've added new ABA books, information technology guides for firms and lawyers, contract and family law form books, and more. 

Don't miss this month's tech tip: an illustrated guide to legislative history research on the Wisconsin Legislature's website. Use these time saving tips in your next project. 

In this issue:
  • What's New: Upcoming Classes;
  • This Just in: New & updated library materials; Monthly list of new titles;Tech Tip: A Faster Start to Legislative History Research;
  • WSLL Recommends: Legal Research in Wisconsin;
  • Librarians in Action: Law Day, National Library Legislative Day, and Government Information Day
Please direct comments to the editor, Lisa.Winkler@wicourts.gov.

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