A review of Web sites related to criminal law.
By Erik J. Heels
First published 1/19/1998; LegalResearcher.com; publisher: New York Law Publishing Company
Just as nobody would try to summarize all civil law Internet resources in one fell swoop, we won’t try to cover Net-based criminal law resources in this piece. Tip O’Neill said “All politics is local.” So too with criminal law, which is, quite frequently, difficult to separate from politics. Or from the news, for that matter.
Federal criminal law is a special case, of course. It is at once political, national, and newsworthy. An interesting development is the growing number of Web sites – many with their own domain names – dedicated to specific ongoing federal criminal prosecutions. The U.S. Department of Justice (http://www.usdoj.gov/) and its several sub-organizations – including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (http://www.fbi.gov/) – is currently involved in several high-profile cases. Unfortunately, the DOJ site itself is not very user-friendly. The good news is that there are many places to go on the Web to get your fill of news and information on these cases. For example, there are Web sites for the trial of Terry Nichols in the Oklahoma City bombing case (http://www.cnn.com/US/9703/okc.trial/) and for the Unabomber trial (http://www.unabombertrial.com/).
At the state level, information on the Internet is more scattered. For prosecution-related information, check to see if your state attorney general is on the Web. FindLaw’s state pages (http://www.findlaw.com/11stategov/) are a good place to start. FindLaw also has good indices of subject-specific criminal pages (http://www.findlaw.com/01topics/09criminal/). So if your are researching a particular type of state criminal case – from drunk driving to computer crimes to white collar crimes – FindLaw’s criminal law index is a good place to start.
Smaller law firms have made their presence known in cyberspace by publishing useful materials related to criminal law. These sites are much more difficult to find. For example, Yahoo does not include a criminal law subheading. But that’s what we’re here for, right? We looked at every US law firm Web site listed on Yahoo and came up with the following list of law firms whose efforts at publishing useful criminal law resources stand out from the crowd. In particular, these law firms publish useful information on DUI/DWI/Drunk Driving litigation, perhaps the most common type of criminal case.
Georgia – The Law Office of William C. Head (http://www.drunkdrivingdefense.com/).
New Jersey – Peter H. Lederman, PA (http://www.nj-dwi.com/).
New York – Condon & Taheri (http://www.taherilaw.com/).
Texas – Tom O’Leary (http://www.tomoleary.com/).
Washington – Jon Scott Fox (http://www.duidefense.com/).
American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section site (http://www.abanet.org/crimjust/home.html) includes the full text of their newsletter as well as a library of press releases on various criminal law topics. The Defense Research Institute, Inc. (http://www.dri.org/) is a membership organization serving the defense bar. DRI’s site contains a searchable database of DRI member attorneys as well as member-only forum areas.
There appear to be over a dozen different discussion groups and mailing lists related to criminal law. You can find them at FindLaw (http://www.findlaw.com/01topics/09criminal/mail_usenet.html), the ABA (http://www.abanet.org/discussions/open.html), and “Law Lists” by Lyonette Louis-Jacques (http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/law-lists?search=prosecutors) (http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/law-lists?search=criminal). Note that, according to “Law Lists,” there is only one lists related to prosecutors; most are defense-related lists.
Finally, on the lighter side, check out the Web site for America’s Dumbest Criminals (http://www.dumbcrimes.com/), which includes, among other things, their “Dumb Criminal Story of the Day!” These are the types of stories you may hear during your daily commute on the radio. Very entertaining!