A JAILHOUSE LAWYER’S MANUAL
example, 28 C.F.R. § 544.70 (2003) refers to section 544.70 of Title 28 of the C.F.R. of the volume published in 2003. This section discusses the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ literacy program.
The format for citations to state administrative codes is slightly different in each state, but generally contains the same information as citations to statutes or federal regulations. Generally, the citation includes (1) the source that contains the state’s administrative code (for example, the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules & Regulations of the State of New York, cited as N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs.); (2) the title or book number of the regulation (for example, in New York, Title 7 contains the rules and regulations of the Department of Corrections); (3) the specific section of the regulation to which you are referring; and (4) the publishing date of the volume in which you found the regulation. For example, N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 7 § 1704.6 (2003) is the correct citation for Title 7, section 1704.6 of the Codes, Rules, and Regulations of the State of New York. Although the format varies slightly in each state, you may be able to find the correct citation format for your state’s administrative code by looking in the first few pages of any volume of the code. Depending on the publisher of your state’s code, these pages may include information that gives the correct, official citation format.
Any citation in a footnote should be followed by a period.
Important Next Steps
Check Other Sources
A final way to research an issue is to read the JLM. If there is a chapter that discusses the issue or topic that you are interested in, read the cases cited in that chapter. If you want additional cases in a subject area, you can obtain the key numbers by looking at the case headnotes in the relevant reporter. The key numbers will allow you to find additional cases in the digests.
To find out more about a relevant case and its subject matter, you can look up that case in the “Table of Cases” in a relevant treatise. If the case is listed, read what the treatise author has to say about the case and the issues it discusses. While not binding on courts, treatise commentary can be helpful to a researcher and can be used to support your legal arguments.
Although legislation and case law will be the major sources of support for your legal arguments, other sources in your library might also be useful. Another review of general treatises may be helpful in explaining some of the cases you found, and may also provide leads for other potential arguments. You should also read legal magazines and newspapers. Your prison library will likely have the local legal newspaper, such as the New York Law Journal. Any other type of legal aid found in your library should also be consulted. Practice commentaries, loose-leaf services, manuals, form books, textbooks, and legal dictionaries are all useful sources that your law library may have.
2. Update Your Research
It is extremely important that your research be up-to-date. You should make sure that any authority you use is current law. To ensure that statutes are current, consult the latest code editions and supplements. As described in Part C(2)(c)(iii) of this Chapter, a hardcover volume will likely have soft cover updates in the pocket located at the back of the volume. It may also have additional updates shelved after the main volumes. Additionally, you must make sure that any case you use has not been overturned or overruled. Finally, you must confirm that the issue you have been researching has not been reinterpreted or modified by recent cases or statutes. You normally check to make sure that cases and the issues decided in them are up-to-date with a research tool called Shepard’s Citations (“Shepard’s”).
Shepard’s is a research tool that provides a listing of all cases that have cited the case you are checking. Using this tool is called “Shepardizing.” Shepard’s serves two purposes: (1) it allows you to update your research and confirm that the case you wish to rely upon has not been affected by later legal developments (overruled, criticized, etc.), and (2) it points you to more cases that might be helpful.
There is a separate series of Shepard’s volumes for each level of federal courts. Thus, there is a separate series for the Federal Supplement, the Federal Reporter, and the United States Reports (U.S.C.). Shepard’s volumes are also available for state reporters. The basic function of Shepard’s is to list every reported case that discusses a particular case. You use it to check for updates to cases that you want to cite. Updating means checking to see if the case is still good law that you can rely on. Thus, if Miranda v. Arizona is