Daily Archives: Monday 3 June 2013

Great Resources: HeinOnline – Session Laws Library / State Statutes: A Historical Archive

This third installment continues our series on HeinOnline’s digital collections.

HeinOnline Logo   State Statutes: A Historical Archive

Researching state session laws? HeinOnline’s comprehensive Session Laws Library provides access to state session laws for each of the 50 states as well as materials for Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C.

Characteristic of many HeinOnline collections, the coverage is extensive: for example, South Carolina session laws are available from 1694-2010, with new materials regularly updated. Many other states are similarly well represented, with both pre-statehood and modern materials available.

Very closely related to the Session Laws Library is Hein’s new database: “State Statutes: A Historical Archive.” Here, one may access superseded state statues going back as far as 1717. South Carolina materials include copies of the nineteenth century Statutes at Large  as well as SC Code volumes spanning the time period 1902-1942.

To access the Session Laws Library or State Statutes: A Historical Archive in Hein, click here, select Hein Online under “Legal Search Engines Research,” and select either collection from the list to your left. Happy Researching!

To read up on other HeinOnline digital collections, see our coverage of the Congress and the Courts collection and the History of Supreme Court Nominations collection.

Legal News of the Day: Police Can Take Suspect DNA Without Probable Cause

In a close 5-4 ruling this morning, the Supreme Court held that police do not need probable cause to take DNA samples from criminal suspects upon arrest. Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Breyer, and Kennedy (who wrote the opinion) agreed that a DNA swab does not constitute an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment and can be used in the event of an arrest “for a serious offense.”

The case came out of the Maryland Court of Appeals where justices ruled DNA sampling of criminal suspects without probable cause to be unconstitutional. In 2009, Alonzo King was arrested for second degree assault and subjected to a DNA swab. When officials ran it through their databases, they found that it matched DNA taken from an unsolved rape case six years prior. King argued that the swab amounted to an unconstitutional search under the Fourth Amendment, and the Court of Appeals of Maryland agreed. The US Supreme Court has now reversed that decision, providing law enforcement with more latitude to collect DNA from suspected criminals.

Justice Scalia, writing on behalf of the minority, wrote that the Court’s holding that DNA sampling without probable cause does not violate the Fourth Amendment “taxes the credulity of the credulous.”