Families of Inmates Now Can Have Free Video Visits via the Public Law Library of King County

From the King County Law Library’s Press Release:

Inmates with family support during incarceration are less likely to reoffend, according to the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC). One of the family support programs offered through the DOC allows for video visits with inmates at most facilities, at a cost of $12.95 for a thirty-minute visit.

The Public Law Library of King County is now offering free video conferencing between inmates housed in a DOC facility and their friends or family members who are on an approved visitors list.  The Law Library was awarded funds from a class action settlement regarding inmate collect calls. The settlement funds are generally limited to projects that directly benefit inmates and their families. The Law Library has used a portion of these funds to purchase video conference equipment at both library locations (at the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle and the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent). Each private video visit meeting room is equipped with a large flat-screen television, web camera with audio, and computer.

In addition, the settlement funds will be used to reimburse video visits participants for the cost of the visit. To qualify for reimbursement, the video visit must be scheduled in advance and take place at one of the Law Library locations. A participant will first schedule and pay for his or her appointment through the third party vendor’s website and then contact the Law Library to schedule a video visit appointment.  At the end of the visit, the participant will receive a cash payment of $12.95 as provided by the settlement funds.

For more information, visit http://kcll.org/services/inmate-video-visits, email videovisits@kcll.org or call 206-477-1305

Do Comedians Have Legal Recourse for Joke Stealing?

Photo of a gun by Tanjala Gica/Thinkstock, photo illustration byApparently not.  Slate has an interesting discussion of the long history of joke stealing going back to the oldest known humor book, Philogelos from the 4th century. Two law professors even managed to get a scholarly piece out of the topic.  See Dotan Oliar and Christopher Spirgman, There’s No Free Laugh (Anymore): The Emergence of Intellectual Property Norms and the Transformation of Stand-Up Comedy, 94 Va L. Rev. 1787 (2008). Interestingly enough there does seem to be effective self policing among stand up comedians.  Whoever tells the joke on television first get to claim it.  If two comedians are collaborating and one develops the set-up and the other the punch line, the punch line creator gets to claim the joke.


April is Poetry Month!

Terence-T-EvansThe D. A. was ready His case was red-hot. 

Defendant was present His witness was not.

He prayed one day’s delay From His honor the judge. 

But his plea was not granted The Court would not budge.

So the jury was empanelled All twelve good and true

But without his main witness What could the twelve do?

Judge Evans, Brown v State, 134 Ga.Ct.App. 771, 771-772, 216 S.E.2d 356 (1975).  In the footnotes to the case, Judge Evans explains that the decision was written in rhyme because a Senior Judge of the Superior Courts had demanded (at a party) that if the writer ever reversed another one of his decisions, the opinion be written in poetry.  Judge Evans goes on to say “it was no easy task to write the opinion in rhyme”.

For more law related poetry see:

  • J. Greenbag Croke, Lyrics of the Law: a Recital of Songs and Verses Pertinent to the Law and the Legal Profession (W.S. Hein, 1986) 4th floor – PR1195.L4H3 1986
  • Percival E. Jackson, Justice and the Law: an Anthology of American Legal Poetry and Verse (Michie Co., 1960) 4th Floor – PS595.L3J3
  • Ina Russelle Warren, ed., The Lawyer’s Alcove: Poems by the Lawyer, for the Lawyer, and About the Lawyer (Doubleday, Page, 1900) 4th floor – PN6110.L2W2
  • A law review article written as a poem, see Gary Dubin, The Ballad of Leroy Powell, 16 UCLA L. Rev. 139 (1968).

New and Notable: The Orphan Master’s Son

jcoverAdam Johnson, The Orphan Master’s Son (Random House, 2012) LAW – Walkover Collection (2nd Floor) PS3610.O3076

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs a work camp for orphans. Superiors in the state soon recognize the boy’s loyalty and keen instincts. Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do rises in the ranks. He becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.” (Summary from the publisher)

Legal Research Tune-up

The Seattle University law library is pleased to offer a legal research workshop to help prepare students for summer employment or to brush up on their legal research skills. The workshop will cover state and federal legislative history, regulations, and practice materials using a problem-based approach. Students will have hands-on practice working through research scenarios. Please bring your laptop.

The workshop is free and will be held on Wednesday May 21st from 9:30 – 11:30 am in Sullivan Hall room 109. Coffee and snacks will be provided.

Please RSVP by May 19th.

If you have any questions please contact Barbara Swatt Engstrom.

Check it Out: Writ Writer

Writ Writer tells the story of Fred Cruz, who became a jailhouse lawyer–writ writer in prison parlance–and the legal battle he waged to secure what he believed to be the constitutional rights of Texas prisoners. Check out Writ Writer from the Law Library, and follow Cruz’s courageous journey all the way to the Supreme Court.

Recommended Reading from the Walkover Collection: The Lazarus Project

booksThe Walkover collection is located on the 2nd floor of the library under the staircase.

Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project (Riverhead Books 2009)
LAW-Walkover Collection (2nd Floor)   PS3608.E48L39 2009 (National Book Award Finalist 2008)

“MacArthur genius Hemon in his third book (after Nowhere Man) intelligently unpacks 100 years’ worth of immigrant disillusion, displacement and desperation. As fears of the anarchist movement roil 1908 Chicago, the chief of police guns down Lazarus Averbuch, an eastern European immigrant Jew who showed up at the chief’s doorstep to deliver a note. Almost a century later, Bosnian-American writer Vladimir Brik secures a coveted grant and begins working on a book about Lazarus; his research takes him and fellow Bosnian Rora, a fast-talking photographer whose photos appear throughout the novel, on a twisted tour of eastern Europe (there are brothel-hotels, bouts of violence, gallons of coffee and many fabulist stories from Rora) that ends up being more a journey into their own pasts than a fact-finding mission. Sharing equal narrative duty is the story of Olga Averbuch, Lazarus’s sister, who, hounded by the police and the press (the Tribune reporter is especially vile), is faced with another shock: the disappearance of her brother’s body from his potter’s grave. (His name, after all, was Lazarus.) Hemon’s workmanlike prose underscores his piercing wit, and between the murders that bookend the novel, there’s pathos and outrage enough to chip away at even the hardest of hearts.” (Review from Publisher’s Weekly)

Today in Legal History: Earth Day

Before 1970 there were no legal or regulatory devices to protect the environment. In the spring of 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson, inspired by the student anti-war movement, created Earth Day as a way to force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. On April 22, 1970, Earth Day was observed by millions of Americans who took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to rally for a healthy, sustainable environment. Earth Day was a huge success, and in December 1970 Congress authorized the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency to tackle environmental issues.

More information is available at:

New and Notable: Havana Requiem

9780809053933Paul Goldstein, Havana Requiem (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012) LAW – Walkover Collection (2nd Floor) PS3607.O4853H38 2012

Fueled by alcohol and legal brilliance, Michael Seeley once oversaw his law firm’s most successful litigation. Until it all fell apart. Recklessness and overreach cost him his wife, his job, and likely the life of his last client, a Chinese dissident journalist. Havana Requiem, the latest Seeley novel from the acclaimed author Paul Goldstein, opens after a year’s sobriety has earned Seeley back most of what he lost: the partnership in his Manhattan law firm, if not his corner office; the wary respect of most of his partners; the lucrative clients—but not the gin-sharpened passion.

Then the renowned Cuban musician Héctor Reynoso enters his office with a simple request: help him and other composers who defined Cuba’s musical golden age of the 1940s and ’50s—the music that made the Buena Vista Social Club internationally famous—reclaim the copyright to their work. When Reynoso goes missing, Seeley’s reluctant promise to help draws him progressively deeper into Havana’s violent underbelly and a decades-long conspiracy that runs from the partners in his firm to the U.S. State Department to Cuba’s security police, who are willing to do anything to suppress the truth. In the heat of Havana, Seeley will lose himself to his worst and best passions as his pursuit of justice becomes a desperate gambit to save not only his composers but the stunning Amaryll, who is playing her own dangerous game. (Summary from the publisher)

Copy Machines

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 11.01.42 AMThe library has one self-service copy machine located in the reserve area on the 2nd floor. The copy machine accepts change, one and five dollar bills and Seattle University campus cards that have value added to the debit account. Value can be added to your campus card using e-Accounts. Additional information is available on the “Campus Card” section of the OIT website. Cost for photocopies is $0.10 when using change and $0.055 when using your ID card.

Contact the circulation staff if you encounter any problems with the copy machine. Circulation staff can add paper and fix minor paper jams but cannot repair the machine. Staff will place a service call if required.