The Law Library is pleased to announce that Assistant Director Diane Rodriguez was elected Vice President/President-Elect of the national American Association of Law Libraries for 2020–2022. This is a great honor and a measure of Ms. Rodriguez's outstanding leadership and accomplishments as a champion of Access to Justice.
New Resource: New Titles LibGuide
The San Francisco Law Library's collection of print materials continues to grow. Keep track of our collection with our newest LibGuide: New Titles. This guide highlights new additions in various subject areas including civil procedure, criminal law, and real estate. You can search by topic or year, and the lists link directly to our catalog so that you can immediately check for availability. We will update this guide regularly, so be sure to check back in for more new titles! Find the guide here.
Consumer Rights Legal Clinic
This free clinic is held at the SF Law Library on the fourth Thursday of each month. There is no clinic in December; it resumes in January 2020. RSVP is required—please call 415-982-1300 to reserve your spot. At the clinic, you can speak with an attorney for free about bankruptcy, student loan debt, collection actions, debt collectors, resolving errors in your credit report, judgments regarding unpaid debt, foreclosure, and wage garnishment.
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Law Library Book of the Month
The road to hell may very well be paved with federal statutes and regulations, as demonstrated by our December Book of the Month, How to Become a Federal Criminal: An Illustrated Handbook for the Aspiring Offender by Mike Chase. As the title promises, this book enumerates (with pictures!) the seemingly endless ways anyone can descend into a life of crime, even by accident. Chase writes with his tongue firmly in cheek, but even without the rude humor the actual statutes, regulations, and congressional hearings are outrageous and absurd enough to amuse and shock everyone. Here you will find lurid accounts of the depraved Yellowstone Off-Leash Cat Walker, and those wayward souls who dress like postal workers—when they aren’t even postal workers. Divided into eight sections based on type of offenses, this book barely scratches the surface of the innumerable crimes proliferated by Congress and various federal agencies.
Chase, an attorney who also runs the popular Twitter account @CrimeADay, clearly revels in the madness of it all, writing with a mix of juvenile glee and genuine befuddlement over how ridiculous these crimes can be. But he includes more than just illustrations on how to mail a mongoose; it’s clear that he has put extensive time and research into his work. This “handbook” also serves as a simple and easy to understand primer on the basics of the criminal justice system and how to read a federal statute, useful for aspiring offenders and law-abiding folk alike. He explores how there came to be so many federal crimes—more than it’s conceivably possible to count—tracing the labyrinthine path from the three listed crimes in the Constitution to the thousands upon thousands of criminal statutes and rules carrying criminal penalties we have today. There are also brief summaries of some of the stranger cases that went to court (some involving margarine).
This book not only gives you endless facts to share at cocktail parties, but also leaves you with some important takeaways. Such as, don’t bother trying to modify the weather with your weather laser unless you’ve filled out the right forms first. Or how the only thing standing between you and a cell might be how properly you label that box of dead bees you want to mail. And don’t even think about leaving the country with a pocketful of nickels.
Find How to Become a Federal Criminal (along with our other criminal law materials) at the library today!