Author archives

Ken Strutin (JD, MLS) is an experienced law librarian, criminal defense attorney, and well-known writer and speaker. He is the author of The Insider's Guide: Criminal Justice Resources on the Internet, and has lectured extensively about the benefits of using the Internet for legal research at national and local CLE training programs. Mr. Strutin also wrote ALI-ABA's Practice Checklist Manual on Representing Criminal Defendants, and co-authored the award winning Legal Research Methodology computer tutorial, published by the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI). He has contributed chapters to several books and written many articles concerning knowledge management, legal research and criminal law. Mr. Strutin has taught courses in Advanced Legal Research and Law Office Management. He is also listed in Who's Who in American Law. Currently, Mr. Strutin is the Director of Legal Information Services at the New York State Defenders Association and writes a column for the New York Law Journal.

Mass Incarceration and the “Degree of Civilization”

Ken Strutin – law librarian, criminal defense attorney, and well-known writer and speaker, documents the preeminence of the United States as the world leader in incarceration. He states that incarceration is when a person loses their freedom pending trial or by serving a sentence – and mass incarceration is when millions of people are imprisoned and kept there based on a generation of tough on crime policies. The number of persons behind bars, which is higher in the United States than anywhere in the world, creates a ripple effect throughout the criminal justice system and society at large. This fact has inspired intense study of this punishment by many academic disciplines, public interest institutions and government agencies. His article focuses on selected recent and notable publications from these sources along with a list of current awareness sites.

Subjects: Criminal Law, Ethics, Features, Legal Research

Clemency Clinics: A Blueprint for Justice

Ken Strutin’s article presents a significant collection of expertly selected resources on clemency and other established post-conviction projects. It also includes general resources that can be used in the process of starting up a clemency clinic or a project in a law school, bar association, law firm, university, college or any entity interested in undertaking a role in arena of work. Ken documents how innocence projects and law clinics are good models for clemency projects because they pursue claims frequently raised in pardons. He also identifies how schools of journalism, paralegal and legal assistant programs, and private law firms, defense providers, individual attorneys and not-for-profits spearheaded by those directly affected, have embraced a mission to address injustice in their particular ways.

Subjects: Criminal Law, Features, Legal Research

Veterans in the Criminal Justice System: Defending Conditions of the Mind

Ken Strutin’s guide includes key recent and notable cases, surveys, studies, guides, web resources and directories for legal research specific to veterans’ deployed to war who subsequently developed mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).

Subjects: Criminal Law, Features, Human Rights, Legal Research, Surveys

Animal Rights in the Human Legal System

The struggle for human rights has gone on for ages, but the story of animal rights has only begun to be told. Ken Strutin’s guide is a compilation of new and notable legal resources on animal rights and welfare. Its jurisprudence takes into account the various roles that society has assigned to animals, e.g., companion, servant or object, as well the implications of their participation or use in different sectors of modern life. Some of the key legal areas of confluence include: (1) animal rescue; (2) protective legislation; (3) law enforcement and forensics; (4) elder care and end of life issues; (5) abuse registries; (6) environmental hazards; (7) witness assistants; and (8) development of advanced degrees and specialization in animal law.

Subjects: Ethics, Legal Ethics, Legal Research

Forensic Bibliometrics: Information Quality Assurance in Scientific Literature

Everyone is familiar with the “corrections” columns in newspapers and the errata pages in the backs of books. But those corrigenda are a far cry from identifying the problems created when authors deliberately offer for publication fraudulent results. Research misconduct and the publication of fraudulent results in scholarly publications and news media has become a growing concern in many disciplines. Ken Strutin has researched, annotated and compiled core documents that address the causes of misconduct, spotting faked data, and repairing the damage to the information stream.

Subjects: Features

Law Periodical Publishing Practices and Trends

Law librarian, criminal defense attorney and prolific author Ken Strutin brings into focus how electronic access to scholarly information is impacting library collection policies as well as professional publication formats, and as a result, how a new legal research environment is developing. Ken’s article provides a selected collection of resources about the law review publishing process, emerging trends in the information cycle, and practical guides for developing an article and getting it to press.

Subjects: Features, Law Library Management, Legal Research, Publishing & Publishers (Legal), Tech Update

Ghost in the Machine: Managing the Information Afterlife

Ken Strutin addresses how the scope of digital estates is growing by leaps and bounds. Parents are registering domain names for their unborn children and social media sites are creating cyber cemeteries where friends and family can visit the last online impression of the dearly departed. The majority of transactions in modern society are created and deposited in digital environments operated by third parties on remote sites. Yet, the rights of users and their inheritors to that content are not clearly spelled out in statutes or court decisions. Ken’s guide gathers current research about digital content ownership and disposition rights at the points where the life cycle has been interrupted or concluded.

Subjects: Features

Pretrial Detention, Bail and Due Process

Ken Strutin’s guide comprises recent publications and other notable resources concerning the relationship between the administration of bail and the requirements of due process. Pretrial detention of suspects directly impacts the presumption of innocence. The cornerstone of the justice system is that no one will be punished without the benefit of due process. Incarceration before trial, when the outcome of the case is yet to be determined, cuts against this principle. The Founders were aware of the dangers inherent in indiscriminate imprisonment, which is one of the main reasons behind the inclusion of the Eighth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, prohibiting excessive bail.

Subjects: Criminal Law, Features, Legal Research

The Age of Innocence: Actual, Legal and Presumed

Ken Strutin reasons that any accounting of the justice system would put the presumption of innocence at the top of the ledger. The premise underlying this evidentiary rule is that no one should be found guilty of a crime unless the state has convinced a jury with proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The materials Ken has researched and documented for this guide focus on the drift from unitary innocence, which encompasses all possible claims to a wrongful conviction, to factual innocence rooted in exoneration jurisprudence. According to some scholars, factual exonerations may have confounded the wisdom behind the Blackstone Ratio and its overarching message, i.e., criminal law and procedure ought to be weighted in favor of innocence to avoid wrongful conviction, even if there is a chance that the guilty will benefit as well. In other words, a system of justice that is fair to all and seeks to protect the innocent from wrongful prosecutions must apply safeguards that will be over inclusive. The calculations of truth and fairness are rooted in a system of justice based on due process (or a presumption of due process). The scholarship collected here attempts to address questions of whether the concept of innocence is selective or categorical.

Subjects: Criminal Law, Features, Legal Research

Emerging Legal Issues in Social Media: Part II

This is the second installment of an examination of notable and new developments in social media and legal practice. Part One highlighted important statutes, case law, ethics opinions, along with extensive news media coverage of law-related social media issues. Part Two focuses on recent items that have appeared in professional journals and blogs, 1 law reviews, reports, books and secondary resources, along with references to current awareness sources. 2

Subjects: Features
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