Aug 13, 2015
The thing with legal research is that once you know the basics, it is pretty easy. I mean you have two primary tools for finding things (which you have been using for like forever): Table of Contents (front of each chapter) and Index (found at the back of the book or in the last volume). That's pretty much it; table of contents and index - what do you think attorney's use to do research?
So, let's walk through an easy example. Say you've been running a fever for the last few days and are not really all that steady on your feet. On your way home from work, you are stopped at a DUI check point and, as luck would have it, the police make you get out of your car. As you are standing by your car, the police notice that your eyes are bouncing around. Between the fever in your head and the fact that you just put in 8 hours at work, your face is flushed and you can't keep an even gaze (as part of the Nystagmus test) and get charged with driving under the influence.
What are you going to do now? Well, if I were you, I'd head on over to your local county law library and ask your friendly neighborhood law Librarian if they have any books on defending against DUI. As it turns out, the Riverside County Law Library has a great resource right up your alley called Attacking and Defending Drunk Driving Tests (James Publishing). First thing I'd do is take a look at the Table of Contents. What you'll notice in the table of Contents is Chapter 8: Attacking and Defending Field Sobriety Tests and Evaluations. From there, you can scroll down and see Section III. Attacking Field Sobriety Tests, B. Cross-Examination of the Arresting Officer, 3. Field Sobriety Tests, § 8:50 (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus). Open up to section 8:50 and you'll find a whole bunch of questions you can ask the arresting officer about how they conducted the Nystagmus test. Yeah, pretty powerful stuff there.
Two other great resources related to defending against a DUI charge include:
See what we did there? We went to our local county law Library, spoke with the friendly neighborhood law Librarian, opened a law book to the Table of Contents, and scanned the contents of the book to something we could use. See? Easy peasy! If ever you find yourself in a bind, know that the good folks at your local county law library has what you need to help you get back on your feet (and out of hot water).
Bret is a Legal Research & Instructional Services Librarian at our Main Library.