Research Tip: How to Quickly Find (for Free) Cases Supporting a Rule of Law

Often when writing a legal memo I come to a point where I want to recite a widely accepted rule of law, like a canon of statutory interpretation. For example, when interpreting a statute the court must determine and give effect to the intent of the legislature. I know there are hundreds of cases which recite this principle. But in legal writing any rule of law should be supported by citation to authority. Running a search on LexisNexis or Westlaw could be expensive. The solution is to search the Illinois Supreme Court website for an opinion supporting the rule of law. Here’s how to do it:

  1. The Illinois Supreme Court website does not make it easy to find the opinions search page. If you click on the opinions link
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Will Google Provide a Free Web OCR App?

Today I had an image of a document that I needed to convert to text. In this age of free web apps I wondered whether there was a Free OCR web app. I found Jon Galloway’s post which basically concludes there are no satisfactory free OCR app. He did find Microsoft Office Document Imaging acceptable, but its not free and its not on the web. It comes with Microsoft Office XP and Microsoft Office 2003. I also discovered this web OCR app, but I did not get a chance to try it because the document I needed to OCR was in PDF format.

All this got me wondering whether Google will provide a free OCR app in the future. Google is doing a load of OCR work with their Book

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Documentarians All Around

The talks hosted by TED are incredible. TED is an annual conference were speakers talk about the latest ideas in Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED), and also Business, Sciences, and The Arts “… in fact any subject area offering something fresh and important.” The talks are available at TedTalks and you can subscribe to their podcast feed.

Today I was listening to Peter Gabriel’s talk. He described the work of Witness, the organization he founded in 1992. Witness describes its mission:

WITNESS uses the power of video to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. By partnering with local organizations around the globe, WITNESS empowers human rights defenders to use video to shine a light on those most affected by human rights violations, …

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Video: Changing the way Teachers and Adminstrators Act

Cnet and This Week in Tech reported on the story where a teacher was recorded yelling at a student. The recording later ended up on YouTube. Two thirteen year-old girls worked together. One provoked the teacher while the other secretly recorded the teacher’s response. The Canadian school suspended the two girls and the teacher took a stress leave of absence.

It seems the suspensions were imposed because of the provocation and the coordinated nature of the event. I wonder if the school had a policy concerning the use of video and audio devises. If they don’t, I’m sure they are drafting one now.

The Cnet article quoted Abdu Mansouri, a spokesman for the region’s teachers’ union, saying: “The teacher will be the master of his class–a closed class and …

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The Launch

I have been thinking of starting a blog for a while. As I read more blogs it became obvious that blogging was an excellent idea. I particularly like Jay Rosen’s idea of a blog as “a little First Amendment machine.” Ideas are quickly dispersed and tested in the blogosphere. It provides an excellent forum for the Marketplace of Ideas.

I must thank Professor Diane Murley for introducing me to blogs in my Advanced Electronic Legal Research Course in 2004. I know some of my classmates thought blogs were a waste of their time, but I’m glad they were covered. Blogs have and continue to expose me to new ideas, subjectmatter, and products, which I would not otherwise discover. They influenced the direction of my legal career. They …

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