Saturday, November 10, 2012

Death Penalty Developments

In the state of California, Presidential election night 2012 was also about crime and punishment. You may be aware that California voters approved Proposition 36, to revise that state's well known "Three Strikes" law [California Penal Code Sec. 667] to no longer apply a life sentence for a third (even non-violent) felony conviction after two previous convictions for violent felonies. Under the revised law, those convicted of a third felony, unless the third felony itself was a violent or serious one, will serve twice the minimum sentence for the third felony and not receive a life sentence.

At the same time, a majority in California also voted to retain that state's death penalty on Tuesday. Proposition 34, which would have replaced the death penalty with sentences of life without parole, went down to defeat. The death penalty, and its economic, social, and policy implications, will remain a "hot topic" issue for legal scholars, attorneys, and law students.  A good starting point for background and all types of resources on the death penalty is the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).  This nonpartisan organization provides news and current developments, reports, maps, statistics, surveys, links to academic articles, coverage of the history of the death penalty with bibliographic references for research papers and projects, and analysis of specific death penalty issues, such as clemency or juveniles.  

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, November 09, 2012

Getting Gas

I hope you are warm and dry and are enjoying the benefits of electricity after these crazy storms.

Getting gas for our cars still remains a challenge.  One great resource is the Storm Sandy Fuel Finder from Gasbuddy.  Search by zip code or town name.  (I found here in Nassau, town name works better).  Click on the words "Has Fuel"  to see details on wait time.  This is crowd-sourcing at its best!

Remember - Nassau, Suffolk and NYC  are now under and odd-even date system.  The last digit of your license plate determines whether you can get gas on an odd or even day.

Good luck!!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

President's Term Ends on a Sunday: What To Do, What To Do?

President Barack Obama’s first term ends at noon on Jan. 20, a Sunday, per the 20th Amendment. Since inaugurations aren’t held on Sundays, President Obama “will likely take the oath that Sunday, in a more intimate setting, and then take it again the following Monday during the inauguration ceremony, to keep appearances.”

“There is precedent. President Ronald Reagan took his 1985 oath in private at the White House, because the 20th fell on a Sunday that year. The inauguration was held the next day . . . Chief Justice Earl Warren swore in President Dwight Eisenhower in a private ceremony, because Jan. 20, 1957, was a Sunday. He went through the motions again the next day, during the inauguration.”

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Communication Innovation For First Responders

"A group of students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has created a wearable communication jacket for first responders in emergency situations.

Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians, for example, need to communicate with each other in an emergency, but smartphones are uniquely unsuited to the task. The mobile phone requires both hands and the attention of the person holding it – a liability when you’re dodging hazards."

The students have created a digital display that is secured in the arm of the emergency worker's jacket and vibrates when a new message is displayed.  Just raising an arm allows the first responder to see the message.  You can see an example of the jacket and video report here:
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, November 05, 2012

Post-storm info on area law schools

The law schools in the New York metropolitan area are working together to provide support for one another during this time of recovery from Hurricane Sandy. To that end, given that some law schools may be off-line next week, and the location of some law schools may be difficult to reach for those with long commutes, faculty and students who may need to access library services may use the resources for the next week of a partner law school, listed below, that may be located closer to their homes.

 Contact information for these partner Schools is as follows. Faculty members and students are encouraged to check the websites of the partner law school to ensure it is open and to call the contact person listed to ensure the resource(s) you need is available. Thank you.

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Address: 55 5th Avenue NY, NY 1003
Open: Building and Library open beginning Monday, November 5: 
Contact: Associate Dean for Library Services and Director of the Law Library 
Lynn Wishart,, 212-790-0222

Brooklyn Law School
Address: 250 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Open: Library
Contact: Director of the Library and Professor Janet Sinder  718-780-7975

Columbia Law School
Address: 435 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10025
Open: Library
Contact: Associate Dean Ed Moroni 212-854-1375  

CUNY School of Law
Address: 2 Court Square, Long Island City, NY 11101
Open: Building and Library
Contact: Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Sarah Valentine, (718) 340-4370

Fordham University School of Law
Address: 140 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023
Open: Library facilities; wireless access
Contact: Associate Director of the Library, Mary McKee

Hofstra University School of Law
Address: 122 Hofstra University. Hempstead, NY 11549. (for GPS, it may be better to use this address: 116 California Ave. Hempstead, NY 11549)
Open: Sunday (11/4) 8am-4pm. Starting Monday (11/5), normal hours are posted on the web site 
Contact: Associate Dean for Information Services and Director of the Law Library Courtney Selby 516-463-5901,

New York Law School
Address: 185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Open: Library facilities beginning Monday, November 5
Contact: Associate and Director of the Library Professor Camille Broussard,

New York University School of Law
Address: 40 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012
Open: Building and Library open beginning Monday, November 5
Contact: Vice Dean Randy Hertz,

Pace School of Law
Address: 78 North Broadway, White Plains, NY 10605
Contact: 914-422-4205

Rutgers School of Law – Newark
Address: 123 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102
Open: Library with internet access beginning Monday, November 5
Contact: Vice Dean Ronald Chen,
Associate Dean for Information Services, John Joergensen  

Seton Hall Law
Address: One Newark Center, Newark, NJ 07102
Open: Check the website for school reopening information. When it reopens, the library offering internet access should be open 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  
Directions: Students can get train service to Newark Penn Station; the school is one block away. For those who can drive to Newark, Seton Hall has an attached parking garage for cash on a daily basis (the School does not own the garage, so it cannot provide free parking). When train service is restored, use the Newark Broad Street Station (trains from Montclair and Summit, for instance, go through this station).  Students can access the law school by taking the Newark Light Rail from Newark Broad to Newark Penn and then walking a block to the law school.
Contact: Vice Dean and Professor Erik Lillquist,
Director of Law Library and Professor Charles Sullivan 973-642-8870

St. John’s University School of Law
Address: 800 Utopia Parkway, Queens, NY 11439
Open: Library    
Contact: Librarian, Martin Cerja;
Associate Academic Dean, Margaret Turano (718) 990 6632,

Touro College Jacob. D. Fuchsberg Law Center
Address: 225 Eastview Drive, Islip Terrace, NY
Open: November 4th 9am to 11:45pm and 11:45pm to 2am (study hall only); regular hours are 7am to 2am for students/8am to 11:45am for visitors. We will extend our student hours to guests from other law schools during this time.
Website: www.tourolaw.eduContact: Assistant Dean and Director of the Library and Professor April Schwartz
Referral Service: Beginning next week, those who need assistance because of Hurricane Sandy can call for assistance or referral to Touro Law Center (631) 761-7198 or email

Hat-tip and thanks to Cardozo Law web site.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat