Author Archives: Alyson Drake

New Scholarship: Crimes of Terror, by Prof. Wadie Said

saidbookProfessor Wadie Said’s new book, Crimes of Terror: The Legal and Political Implications of Federal Terrorism Prosecutions, was published in May by Oxford University Press.  The book examines the advantages the U.S. government has over suspects in criminal prosecutions of terrorism, and how the practices in place impede the usual aims of criminal prosecution.

After a brief introduction, the book includes the following chapters: Chapter I: Information, Spies, Radicalization, and Entrapment; Chapter 2: Material Support; Chapter 3: Evidence and the Criminal Terrorist Prosecution; Chapter 4: The Implications and Broad Horizons of the Terrorism Prosecution; and Chapter 5: Sentencing and Confinement–Even When Imprisoned, the Terrorist is Exceptional.

Crimes of Terror is available for checkout in the library at call number KZ 7220 .S235 2015.  Check it out today!

Superheroes and the Law

lawandthemultiverseMy new favorite read (nerd alert!) is the Law and the Multiverse Blog, which contemplates the legal ramifications of events happening in comic books and super hero movies.

Most recently, they’ve been delved into issues like whether Tony Stark and Bruce Banner could be held liable for the damage caused by Ultron and questioned whether Thor is an illegal immigrant.  Previous posts have considered issues stemming from the Walking Dead, Lara Croft, and Orphan Black, among others.

Check it out!

What are 50 State Surveys and How Can They Help You?

Have you ever had a professor to ask you how all fifty states have legislated a particular issue?  Then, 50 State Surveys are the tool for you!  Rather than sifting through fifty state codes trying to find what a state says on a particular issue, see if you can find a 50 State Survey.


50statesurveysWestlaw has them for both state statutes and state regulations.  Once you identify whether you want statutes or regulations, Westlaw takes you to a topical list.  If you were interested in the marriage age requirements in all 50 states, you would select Family Law, and then find the Marriage Age Requirements

Inside, you will find a report providing the citations for each of the state codes, saving you the time you would send browsing an index or trying to formulate a keyword search for each jurisdiction.  There will usually also be a summary at the top of the page.  In Westlaw, keycite flags are also provided to let you know whether the law has been repealed, recently amended, etc.; make sure you check this before going on to the attached State by State Analysis report (a PDF in the top left corner).  This opens up a handy chart summarizing what each state says on the particular issue.

Lexis Advance

To find 50 state surveys in Lexis, start typing “50 state surveys” in the red search bar.  LexisNexis 50 State Surveys, Statutes & Regulations will be an option.  Select the Table of Contents.50statesurveyslexisThis brings up a topical list that you can browse through, or search using the Narrow By feature on the left hand side.  If you want to look up Housing Discrimination Law, you would look under Civil Rights Law and then select Protection of Rights > Housing Discrimination.  In Lexis, there will be an overview, followed by a chart describing state treatment of that legal issue.


Cool Tools: The Constitute Project

ConstituteProject3In the past few years, new constitutions have emerged in a number of countries, including Egypt, South Sudan, and Libya, to name just a few.  Constitutions are very frequently composed based on other countries’ constitutions, and there’s a neat new comparative tool that allows used to see side-by-side comparisons of Constitutions.

The Constitute Project contains English versions of most nation states, as well as a few in Arabic.  You can search by topic for constitutions that include a provision on a certain subject area.   For example, if you were interested in finding those constitutions that guarantee equality regardless of sexual orientation, you would select Rights and Duties from the list of topics, this would open up a number of categories within that broad area.  To find equality regardless of sexual orientation, you would select Equality, Gender, and Minority Rights.  Under that category, there are a list of specific provisions that can be found in some national constitutions.


Then, from the list of results, you can select which constitutions you want to compare.  You can select up to eight countries to compare, and then select two to view side-by-side.  When you pick those countries, it will highlight the sections of the constitutions having to do with the topic you selected.


For those doing international legal research, it’s an invaluable tool for both finding provisions on a specific topic.  For those trying to write a constitution, it would be an extremely helpful aid by allowing the user to compare constitutional provisions on various topics.

2015 Silver Gavel Award Winners

The following are the list of 2015 winners of the ABA’s Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts.

NewspapersTill Death Do Us Part, by the Post and Courier

A Post and Courier Special Investigation, it looks at the extremely high rate at which women are killed in domestic violence situations in South Carolina.


Burning Down the HouseBooks:
Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison, by Neil Bernstein.

The book argues that state-run juvenile detention centers should be abolished completely, and “lays bare our nation’s brutal and counterproductive juvenile prisons.”



The Case Against 8

Looks at the historic case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage.



RadioSerial: Season One






Go here to see the list of runners-up.

Images courtesy of the American Bar Association.

Feeling Blue?

bluebookNever fear!  The new 20th edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation that we’ve been hearing for a while was going to come out this spring has finally arrived.  Yes, some of us here in the library are ridiculously excited about this!!!!  Okay, probably really just me, Professor Drake!  We’ve ordered new copies to replace all the 19th editions (which rolled out after my first year of law school) in various locations in the library.

When you buy The Bluebook in print, you will receive a free trial to the Bluebook online.  If you already have subscription access to the electronic version, you will be able to view the new edition online.

You might wonder what the major changes have been included in this shiny, new edition.  Awesome law librarian Janelle Beitz has put together a list of the differences between the 19th and 20th editions on Google Drive.  It’s definitely worth taking a look at.

A few things that stood out to me:

1)  The typeface rules have been relaxed to align with practitioner used of large and small caps.

Prof. Drake’s awesome I <3 the Bluebook mug.

2)  As expected, new material was added to Rule 18, which deals with the citation of electronic resources, including how to format citations for e-books and how to cite social media platform posts.

3)  The new version of the Bluebook retains its preference for print editions for certain citations, including the date of statutory code volumes, but allows for the use of online newspapers as a substitute for print.

Order your new copy today!  Then, if you’re a Bluebook nerd like me, you can spend a few hours tabbing it!  :)

A New S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice

It’s the end of an era.  Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal will be handing over her gavel to Justice Pleicones at the end of this year after fifteen years as Chief Justice.  Pleicones was unanimously elected as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and begin his tenure early next year.  Both Chief Justice Toal and Associate Justice Pleicones are USC Law graduates of the Class of 1968.

Justice Pleicones served first as a public defender, then as a municipal judge, county attorney, and private practice attorney before being elected to the circuit court in the early 1990s.  His term as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court started in 2000.

Pleicones will only serve as Chief Justice until December 2016, as justices on the Supreme Court traditionally step down at the end of the year they turn 72.

Help Pick the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction Winner!

The Finalists for the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction were recently announced by the ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law.  Each year, the prize is awarded to a book in the legal fiction genre published during the previous year that best exemplifies the role that lawyers play in society to effect change.  The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges, with the voting public serving as the fifth judge.

Go here to vote, and read about the three nominees below!

This year’s nominees:

secretofmagicThe Secret of Magic:
“Opening the mail for her mentor and employer, Thurgood Marshall, at the NAACP office in New York, Regina Robichard is captivated by a letter from famous southern author M. P. Calhoun, asking for an investigation of the murder of a young black man, Joe Howard Wilson. Robichard is a fan of Calhoun, having read her book about a magical forest and an unsolved murder. As a stand-in for Marshall, Robichard travels to Revere, Mississippi, to find out the truth behind the murder of Wilson, who was among scores of black men returning from the war, unwilling to put up with the humiliations of racism. What she discovers are parallels between life in Revere and Calhoun’s book. How much of the book is real, and how does it connect to the murder? Inspired by her grandfather, who fought in WWII and was a huge admirer of Thurgood Marshall, and her own admiration of Marshall colleague Constance Baker Motley, Johnson (The Air between Us, 2008) offers a completely engaging southern gothic with unforgettable characters in this fictionalized account of a pivotal NAACP case from the 1940s”–description from Booklist

My Sister’s Grave:mysistersgrave
“Dugoni’s latest novel . . . combines the best of a police procedural with a legal thriller, and the end result is outstanding. Seattle police officer Tracy Crosswhite lost her sister Sarah over 20 years ago, and she has never forgiven herself. With no corpse discovered, there was still enough evidence to convict the man thought responsible for Sarah’s disappearance. Now a body has been found and Tracy learns the remains are of her sister. Tracy has had her doubts about the guilt of the man behind bars, and she’s absolutely sure there is a murderer still loose. Can she get a new trial to free an innocent man and also find out the truth? “–description from Library Journal

220px-TerminalCityTerminal City:
“Assistant DA Alex Cooper and Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace are called to investigate when the naked body of a young woman is found in the tower suite of the prestigious Waldorf Astoria. Within days, a second body turns up bearing the same bloody symbol—train tracks carved into the skin. The focus shifts to Grand Central Terminal, where the president is scheduled to arrive for a UN meeting later in the week and where they suspect the killer is hiding out. Coop and her sidekicks struggle to get a grip on the layout of the vast terminal, from its aqua-colored celestial ceiling to the levels far beneath the ground, which are home to some 600 people, some of whom have carved apartments out of the concrete walls.”–description from Booklist

Maymester Hours


The law library will be open from 8:00am-7:00pm Monday through Friday during the month of May.  The library will be closed on Saturday and Sunday during May.

As usual, the Reference Desk will be staffed from 8:30am-5:00pm.

Featured Scholarship: “The Social Medium” by Prof. Colin Miller & 3L Charles White

In a new feature, we are highlighting scholarship coming out of the University of South Carolina School of Law.  “Social Medium: Why the Authentication Bar Should Be Raised for Social Media Evidence” is the inaugural article published in the Temple Law Review Online, a new publishing platform meant to highlight shorter articles, articles on timely issues, or responses to the articles published in the print edition of the Temple Law Review.  Written by Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Colin Miller, and 2015 graduate Charles White, the article looks at the recent trend of using social media evidence and why a more strict authentication standard is needed for social media evidence to be used.

Check out the article here.