Legal Research Blog

 

Lawdable Quote: Abraham Lincoln

“Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear that charter of his own and his children’s liberty.”

~ President Abraham Lincoln

Fastcase on Fox Business News!

Fastcase was recently featured on the Digital Dollars segment on Fox Business News. Watch our CEO (Ed Walters) and President (Phil Rosenthal) discuss Fastcase and the disruption we’re creating in the legal research market below:

Source: Fox Business News

Learning to Share is Harder Than it Looks

This week the New York Times reported on the prevalence of evidence sharing that has prosecutors all worked up despite legal requirements to do so. Evidence is a precious material to anyone entering the court room; a key material to bringing justice that can take months or years to dig up and only a matter of minutes to destroy. As a rule, courts require the prosecution to share certain pieces of their evidence with the defense attorneys who in turn may share it with the defendants themselves. While evidence sharing may not necessarily pose a dangerous threat in all cases, prosecutors argue it can and does have a negative affect on the outcome of many trials.

Citing cases involving gangs, drug rings and other organized crimes, prosecutors working on a recent case in the Federal District Court of Manhattan raised a number of concerns to the presiding judge. Although they find no problem in releasing information related to the crime-scene, weapons and other more fact-based materials, the prosecutors on the case were appalled at the request by the defendant to bring the testimonies to his cell for reviewal over the weekend. Evidence known as 3500 materials include statements from witnesses scheduled to appear in court, available for the judge and jury’s viewing so there is no confusion over whether or not the truth is being told. According to one prosecutor on the case, 3500 materials are, “confirmation that someone has cooperated” and insists that it poses a risk for anyone who has agreed to provide testimony.

Another possible threat is the recent decision by the Supreme Court to rule any statements invalid when they have been previously issued by a witness that is now unable to appear in court. By eliminating the validity of missing witnesses and allowing suspects to view all testimony prior to their court appearance, the courts have created a dangerous situation for anyone still willing to come forward. Prosecutors argue that suspects awaiting trial have strong connections on the outside who can easily be called on to interfere with anyone holding incriminating evidence.

Free Book of the Month: The Common Law by Oliver Wendell Holmes


Selected Quote: “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience”

Download the entire publication below:

The Common Law by Oliver Wendell Holmes (PDF)

Read the entire publication online (Courtesy of Harvard’s Law Library)

Lou Pearlman Discovers New Act: Police Informant

Music producer Lou Pearlman, whom we have to thank for the “boy band” phenomenon of the mid-1990s, has recently tried to clean up his image by revealing to authorities information he has gleaned about a murder case while he serves his time in prison. Pearlman, convicted of fraud and sentenced to 25 years in prison for bank and investment scams, overheard a conversation between two inmates from his cell in a federal prison. Pearlman claims he heard Davin Smith, accused of murdering a cop during a failed robbery attempt, confess his guilt to another inmate. According to Pearlman, Smith and another man, Hugo Terry, were attempting to use a stolen bank card to rob a local bank when a stranger walked up. They attempted instead to rob the man, who turned out to be a cop, and according to Pearlman, Smith shot the officer before he could pull his own gun on them.

Pearlman’s account did not skimp on the details of his exchanges with Smith and the conversations he overheard, as his information could win him an early release from his own sentence. Joy Ragan, attorney to Hugo Smith, argues that Pearlman has no concrete evidence of the conversations, and that his cooperation is simply a ploy to help himself. Pearlman’s lawyer, however, asserts that he is only fulfilling his “duty as a citizen.” Pity that Pearlman did not feel the same duty to those from whom he stole that $300 million…

Source: CNN and the Orlando Sentinel