Latest & Greatest – U.S. Congressional Serial Set

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HeinOnline has recently announced the release of Phase I of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. The digitization of these documents was and is a vast undertaking, considering that the set spans more than two centuries and includes more than 17,000 bound volumes. The ability to access these documents in one database is of great importance to legislative history researchers and history buffs alike.

For those of you who may not know, the U.S. Congressional Serial Set is comprised of House and Senate documents, reports, and journals, first published in 1817 for the 15th Congress. Examples of congressional documents include letters submitted to the House or Senate, presidential messages, patent decisions, diplomatic papers detailing the foreign relations of the United States at a given time, and Senate treaty documents, to name a few. The release also includes access to the American State Papers, legislative and executive documents published between 1789-1838 in 38 volumes. The documents contained in the American State Papers predate the U.S. Congressional Serial Set and comprise the 1st through 25th Congresses. The papers are divided into 10 classes: Foreign Relations, Indian Affairs, Finances, Commerce and Navigation, Military Affairs, Naval Affairs, Post Office Department, Public Lands, Claims, and Miscellaneous. Of note: the very first document in the set is the inaugural speech of President Washington delivered on Thursday, April 30, 1789.

With the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, researchers also have access to these additional resources:

  • Congressional documents and reports from the 114th-115th Congress (2015-2019);

  • American Indian Documents in the Congressional Serial set 1817-1899;

  • Overview of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set;

  • Using the Congressional Serial Set for Genealogical Research, and

  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set: What It Is and Its History.

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As with other HeinOnline databases and libraries, searching the Serial Set could not be easier. There is a Volume & Citation Quick Locator for those who already know the volume or particular citation. Researchers can also browse through the list of Congress numbers to find the desired volume. You can also search by Congress, document number, keywords, title, volume and/or year and narrow your search to specific sections, including congressional bills, House reports, Senate reports, Senate treaty documents, etc. HeinOnline has also provided direct links to specific Serial Set volumes that are not yet available on its database but have been digitized and are accessible at the HathiTrust Digital Library.

Latest & Greatest – Trial Manual 6 for the Defense of Criminal Cases

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HeinOnline has recently introduced a new addition to its American Law Institute Library: Trial Manual 6 for the Defense of Criminal Cases. Written by Anthony G. Amsterdam and Randy Hertz, the Trial Manual, as it is called, is designed to be a handbook for managing and handling criminal cases. Arranged chronologically, the Trial Manual takes the reader step-by-step through the criminal defense process, from the initial stages following an arrest through postconviction proceedings and appeals. Chapters covering the initial case to the arraignment address such topics as bail, case planning, preliminary hearings, grand jury, and guilty pleas. Proceedings included in the period between arraignment and trial include pretrial motions, pretrial discovery and conference(s), and suppression motions and hearings. Matters relating to the jury and the conduct of the trial itself are addressed in the trial chapters. Lastly, post-trial motions, sentencing, appeals, and probation and parole revocation are discussed in the final chapters dealing with post-trial matters.

As with resources found in other HeinOnline libraries, this full-text treatise features hyperlinks, which take the reader to the highlighted cases and law review articles cited in the Trial Manual. There are also handy flow charts detailing the procedure for cases involving felonies, cases dealing with misdemeanors, and cases before a magistrate. Moreover, there are checklists throughout the Trial Manual to ensure that the attorney has performed all of the necessary steps at a particular stage. Additionally, the authors, knowing that an important part of any trial, civil or criminal, is an understanding of the attorney-client privilege and the ethical rules concerning the practice of law, provide an excellent summary of the duties owed to the client and refer to the American Bar Association Standards of Criminal Justice, the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (also available at the Law Library), and the ABA Code of Professional Responsibility. (Another good source on ethics that is available here at the Harris County Law Library, but not specifically referenced, is Professional Responsibility in Criminal Defense Practice.)

Incidentally, the authors stress that, while the Trial Manual is a helpful resource for the novice attorney and can provide him or her with the necessary information to competently represent a criminal defendant, criminal law remains a specialty. Thus, they recommend that those lawyers who are not well-versed in the handling of criminal matters consult with a more experienced criminal attorney for assistance. Nevertheless, the Trial Manual has been and continues to be an invaluable resource for those who are called upon to defend an individual in a criminal case. Look for it on HeinOnline at the Harris County Law Library.

Legislative Histories of Cybersecurity Laws Enacted by the 113th and 114th Congresses

January is Data Privacy and Information Security Law Month at the Harris County Law Library. All month long, we are promoting the data privacy resources in our collection to raise awareness of the need for data security in the practice of law. We are also featuring relevant electronic sources, including the Cybersecurity Law Institute at Georgetown University, and the Cybersecurity Law Report, both of which are freely available on the Internet.

The Law Library's subscription databases provide access to even more good resources, including legislative histories of key cybersecurity laws. HeinOnline has just added several new cybersecurity law resources to its U.S. Federal Legislative History Library. The new collection, Legislative Histories of Cybersecurity Laws Enacted by the 113th and 114th Congresses (William H. Manz, ed.) (2016)  is a compilation of eight laws enacted in 2014 and 2015 including: 

  • Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act
  • Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014
  • National Cybersecurity Protection Act of 2014
  • Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014

Four additional Acts grouped into the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 are also part of the compilation. The legislative histories include the text and chronology of the Acts, bill versions, related bills, committee reports, congressional debates and hearings, GAO reports, and presidential materials. 

To access these legislative histories and a world of other content, visit the Law Library or access HeinOnline on your mobile device.