Law Day 2019 - Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society

Today, we celebrate the rule of law.

Today is Law Day. Law Day was established by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 and subsequently codified by Congress in 1961 (see 36 U.S.C. §113) as a day for celebration of the rule of law. Each year, the American Bar Association establishes a theme to help focus our attention on an area of law that is timely and pertinent. This year, the theme is “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.”

Free Speech: A view from the bench

To honor this year’s theme, the Harris County Law Library has created an online exhibit entitled Free Speech: A view from the bench. Visit the exhibit to learn about different factors judges take into account when reviewing issues concerning freedom of speech under the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


Houston Bar Association Law Week Poster Contest

Each year the Houston Bar Association holds a poster contest and encourages area K-12 students to express the meaning of Law Day artistically. The Harris County Law Library is proud to partner with the HBA to display award-winning entries throughout this week-long celebration of the rule of law.

Latest & Greatest – Confessions

By Alan K. Curry  Published by Texas District & County Attorneys Association  KFT 9664 .S76 2019

By Alan K. Curry

Published by Texas District & County Attorneys Association

KFT 9664 .S76 2019

Confessions are a crucial part of the evidence that is gathered during the investigation and prosecution of a criminal defendant. As such, it is important for attorneys, both on the prosecution side and the defense side, to understand the law surrounding these statements, especially those obtained during a custodial interrogation. In this regard, Confessions begins with the basics of confession law: what is a confession, what are the pertinent federal and Texas statutes that govern confessions, and what are the differences between federal and state confession law. The author then moves on to the heart of confession law: the custodial interrogation. Here, the reader will find a discussion of Miranda, its required warnings, and the exceptions to that requirement; in-depth explanations of the two key events that trigger Miranda: custody and interrogation; and an analysis of what occurs when a defendant invokes his rights under Miranda. Subsequent chapters address written and oral statements and some of the rules governing the admissibility of such assertions, statements and confessions made by juveniles, and hearings and trials. The author also explains some interrogation techniques and discusses false confessions and recantations and how those false confessions can be identified. Of course, no discussion of interrogation and confessions would be complete without an examination of the prosecutor’s ethical duties in obtaining or using a defendant’s confession. 

Confessions is one of many books in the Law Library’s collection published by Texas District & County Attorneys Association. If you are looking for resources that concisely explain various aspects, issues, and topics of interest to the criminal lawyer, have a look at this book and others, including Traffic Stops, Expunction and Nondisclosure, Predicates, DWI Investigation & Prosecution, and Punishment & Probation.

Law Library Recognized by American Association of Law Libraries

Yesterday, the American Association of Law Libraries announced the individuals and institutions honored as part of the organization’s 2019 Awards Program. The Harris County Law Library was recognized with two awards, both of which highlight our work to ensure access to information for those who need it most in Harris County.


JOSEPH L. ANDREWS LEGAL LITERATURE AWARD

The Law Library’s Pro Se Litigant Handbook was recognized with the Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award. The Handbook combines information about sources of forms and local assistance for self-represented litigants with guidance on courtroom procedure and decorum. The Award highlights “a significant textual contribution to legal literature.” Our staff is immensely honored to receive such a prestigious award for our efforts to help those in our community who are unable to afford legal representation access the legal information they need.


EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AWARD

The Law Library was also honored to receive the inaugural Excellence in Community Engagement Award for our Harvey Recovery Resources webpage. When Hurricane Harvey poured record-setting rains on our community, assistance came from all directions. Our law librarians jumped into action - even before our facility reopened - to collect and organize information about programs meant to help our neighbors impacted by the storm with their legal needs. Hundreds in our community accessed the page and community partners shared it with clients. For us, it was a natural way to show the same spirit so many in our community exemplified to pull together and lend a hand to those in need. Our staff is very honored for the recognition and we hope it inspires law librarians throughout the AALL community to lend their talents when their neighbors need access to legal information the most.

For more about the American Association of Law Library and the Annual Awards Program, visit www.aall.org.

The Mueller Report

Today, the U.S. Department of Justice released the much anticipated Mueller Report, or Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election. A copy of the Report may be downloaded from the Department’s Special Counsel’s Office webpage along with documents related to the special counsel’s appointment, expense reports, and prosecutions related to the investigation.

The Report is presented in PDF format. A free download of the Acrobat PDF Reader is available on the Adobe website.

Latest & Greatest – Mortgage Servicing and Loan Modifications and Home Foreclosures

By John Rao, et al.  Published by National Consumer Law Center  KF 697 .R3 M63 2019

By John Rao, et al.

Published by National Consumer Law Center

KF 697 .R3 M63 2019

National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) publishes a series of legal treatises designed to address and explain consumer law issues. Their target audience are those who have limited income and limited access to justice. The treatises cover areas of consumer concerns, such as debtor rights, mortgages and foreclosures, credit and banking, deception and warranties, and consumer litigation.  As part of its consumer credit and sales legal practice series, NCLC has published Mortgage Servicing and Loan Modifications. Originally part of NCLC’s Foreclosures and Mortgage Servicing*, this book has expanded coverage of the business of mortgage servicing as well as mortgage loss mitigation alternatives for borrowers who are having difficulty making their payments. The treatise begins with an introduction to the mortgage market and the entities involved in the mortgage process, including mortgage servicers, before moving on to a discussion of common mortgage servicing problems and servicing requirements and claims under federal and state law. The next section of the treatise focuses upon loss mitigation and loan modifications. In this section, the reader will find a discussion of loss mitigation options for various types of loans and the result of failing to handle such loss mitigation properly. Lastly, the authors address considerations attendant to litigating mortgage servicing claims. 

By Geoff Walsh et al.  Published by National Consumer Law Center  KF 697 .R3 F6 2019

By Geoff Walsh et al.

Published by National Consumer Law Center

KF 697 .R3 F6 2019

Another new treatise from NCLC is Home Foreclosures, and it features a lot of the same material originally found in Foreclosures and Mortgage Servicing but with more in-depth discussion. From analyzing and defending a foreclosure case to handling issues arising from a foreclosure sale, the authors provide readers with practical information regarding this challenging and stressful process. The authors address the foreclosure of traditional homes as well as manufactured homes and condominiums as well as foreclosures involving Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, government-insured loans and mortgages, and reverse mortgages. Foreclosures comprise an area that is a target for deceptive practices, and in this regard, the authors include an explanation of foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams, steps to fight these scams, and legal theories that can be used to attack such scams. In the appendices, you can find pertinent state and federal statutes.

Visit the Law Library to have a look at these and other volumes in our NCLC collection. These resources can also be accessed via the NCLC databases available on our Law Library research computers.

*Note that Mortgage Servicing and Loan Modifications and Home Foreclosures supersede and replace the prior Foreclosures and Mortgage Servicing.