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Law Books for Prisoners:
I am happy to announce that the new edition of the LaFave, Israel, and King one-volume Criminal Procedure hornbook has been published, and that this time, it is LaFave, Israel, King, and Kerr. As one of the authors, I have been given twenty-five copies of the new work by the publisher. That's about twenty-two more copies than I need, as I only need one for work, one for home, and one for mom and dad. So the question is, what to do with the extra 22 treatises sitting in my office?

  One idea I had was to give them to prison law libraries. Maybe I have seen The Shawshank Redemption too many times -- it's my favorite move ever -- but I would think such a volume could be useful and desirable to prisoners and more useful than for any other likely audience. I was able to find a number of Books to Prisoners programs on the web, but I didn't know if any of them are better than any others. And I also noticed that some of the programs require that the books be paperbacks, when this treatise is a hardback book. (I suppose ripping off the cover could turn a copy into a softcover book pretty quickly, but I'm not sure if that counts.)

  So I need your help: Do any readers have any experience with any of these programs, or have any ideas of the best way to get about 20 copies of a new criminal procedure treatise into prison libraries -- or whether copies of the treatise would be considered valuable additions to the libraries in the first place? Thanks for your help.
Mike& (mail):
Woo-hoo! Congrats!
9.11.2009 5:14pm
second history:
Why do you want to encourage them? ;)
9.11.2009 5:20pm
Kent Scheidegger (mail) (www):
You could send your 22 copies to a tad less than half of the state attorneys general. Most of them are rather hard up these days.
9.11.2009 5:25pm
bobo linq (mail):
As a federal-district-court clerk who has had to deal with pro se prisoners' complaints about lack of access to legal materials, I think that your idea is brilliant. I don't have anything to say about any particular prison-books program, though.
9.11.2009 5:28pm
Andy Rozell (mail):
Most state bar associations have a Criminal Law section or else there's a Criminal Defense Lawyer's association. They'd probably know how to get them to the prisons.
9.11.2009 5:29pm
OrinKerr:
Kent,

Maybe I should give 11 to the prosecutors and 11 to the defendants? ;-)
9.11.2009 5:30pm
Bruce:
The Shawshank Redemption is your favorite movie ever? How could you be so obtuse?
9.11.2009 5:32pm
ShelbyC:
I'll bet you can get judges to make a big contribution to your favorite charity if you agree not to give them to prisoners.
9.11.2009 5:33pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

I'll bet you can get judges to make a big contribution to your favorite charity if you agree not to give them to prisoners.


On the contrary, the book would probably simplify their lives by giving prisoners some idea of what to do and not to do.
9.11.2009 5:38pm
DiverDan (mail):
From what I've seen (just following 5th Circuit Opinions; I don't practice in that area), most of the annoying prisoner litigation that bothers judges and their clerks is pro se civil litigation - old Civil Rights Act claims for silly stuff like bad prison food, denial of due process claims for prison disciplinary actions, etc. I doubt that a Crim Pro Hornbook would help out those efforts. It might, however, help out the prisoners preparing pro se Habeas Corpus Applications and the like. Though I would consider Public Defender Offices far more deserving and far more likely to put the books to good use.
9.11.2009 5:43pm
jccamp (mail):
Gee, I was going to suggest giving them to a local police academy. Maybe we could stop creating so much restrictive case law based on The School of Moronic Arrests.
9.11.2009 5:50pm
John Jenkins (mail):
Various state public defenders' offices might be a better idea from a pure effect standpoint.
9.11.2009 5:52pm
Steven Lubet (mail):
I am impressed by the generosity of your publisher (assuming that the other active authors also got 25 books each).

Without discouraging your own admirable generosity, may I suggest that you hold on to a few more than three copies. A couple of extras may come in handy, and you will never be able to get more of this edition. Who knows, you might drop your home copy in the bathtub by accident.
9.11.2009 5:57pm
ArthurKirkland:
I think you might have stumbled into the wrong blog, but I am glad you did.
9.11.2009 6:09pm
Anderson (mail):
or have any ideas of the best way to get about 20 copies of a new criminal procedure treatise into prison libraries

I have a relative who works closely with the higher-ups at the Mississippi corrections dep't, so if you want a copy to go to Parchman (our principal and most notorious state prison), I will either get it to the library there or return it to you.

(Congrats on the book btw.)
9.11.2009 6:13pm
Anderson (mail):
Though I would consider Public Defender Offices far more deserving and far more likely to put the books to good use.

This however is not a bad suggestion at all.
9.11.2009 6:15pm
egd:
Bruce:

The Shawshank Redemption is your favorite movie ever? How could you be so obtuse?

I think it's kinda cute.
9.11.2009 6:18pm
David M. Gross (mail) (www):
I used to do some volunteer work for an anarchist group that sent books to prisoners (http://www.prisonersliteratureproject.com/). These were mostly direct shipments to individual prisoners, not to the prison libraries. There seemed to be a wide variety of policies -- we had a binder in which we could look up the latest policies we knew about in each institution. Some prohibited hardcover books; some required that books be sent direct from the publisher; some had topic-based prohibitions; some just seemed whim-based.

I'd imagine the prison library restrictions are probably more liberal, but I'd also guess that they are just as site-variable and arbitrary. Your best bet may be to contact a handful of individual institutions to ask about their policies, or to find some group that specializes in prison library stocking.
9.11.2009 6:35pm
LessinSF (mail):
Does it have these rules on the first page:

1. Do not double underline.
2. Do not use exclamation points.
3. Do not use all caps.
4. Do not cite Dred Scott.

If not, this is not the primer for pro per or pro se litigants that it should be.
9.11.2009 6:41pm
Passing By:
Jerold Israel was one of my favorite professors at UM Law School, and is a genuinely nice guy. His and LaFave's are huge shoes to fill (and yes, alas, eventually their names will be retired from the cover) so congratulations on having proved yourself capable of filling them.

I suspect that if you donate your copies to Prison Legal Services organizations (e.g., New York, North Carolina, Michigan), the inmates will benefit without any need to remove the covers.
9.11.2009 6:46pm
Greek Geek:
Of course you could always give copies to students who show themselves worthy in class, or to former students who may be struggling in the bad economy.
9.11.2009 6:49pm
Jay:
Or to former students who are now in prison.
9.11.2009 7:07pm
ShelbyC:

1. Do not double underline.


It was that second underline that really convinced me.
9.11.2009 7:10pm
Anderson (mail):
Speaking of prison reading ...
9.11.2009 7:18pm
Mikhail Koulikov (mail):
Orin,

County and public law libraries (such as the New York County Public Access Law Library and the LA County and Riverside County Law Libraries) would be very good places to approach with your offer - and probably much easier to deal with than a correctional facility library. If you're interested, I can put together a list of a dozen or so of these that would probably be all about getting copies of anything they don't have to pay for.
9.11.2009 7:37pm
SC Public Defender:
I second giving them to public defenders. ;-)
9.11.2009 7:49pm
Matt P (mail):
Great idea, It helps the innocent and takes away one more excuse from the guilty.
9.11.2009 7:51pm
ChrisTS (mail):
OK:

Please forgive me, but I am going OT for a second. On Bernstein's last open thread, someone suggested I comment about something not directly related to that post. I did not and now it is closed.

However, I have written up my critique of one of DB's posts about Marc Garlasco on my own blog and wanted to invite VCers to take a look. (I hope this isn't self-pimping, which is both vulgar and metaphysicially odd.)
9.11.2009 8:24pm
Specast:
Orin --

I hope you've read the Stephen King novella that was the basis for The Shawshank Redemption. That same collection has the novella on which the movie Stand By Me (River Phoenix, Kiefer Sutherland) was based. Good stuff.
9.11.2009 8:43pm
Mike McDougal:

the book would probably simplify their lives by giving prisoners some idea of what to do and not to do.

That strikes me as reasonable. I have occassionally dealt with pro se civil litigants (never criminal), and they can really make a procedural mess.
9.11.2009 8:46pm
Mike McDougal:

Does it have these rules on the first page:

1. Do not double underline.
2. Do not use exclamation points.
3. Do not use all caps.
4. Do not cite Dred Scott.

If not, this is not the primer for pro per or pro se litigants that it should be.


My firm recently reviewed a matter in which the court ordered a pro se litigant to stop using bold, all-caps, italics, and underlining except where traditionally accepted for citation purposes. Given all those ways of emphasizing text, you'd be amazed at the, uhm, interesting combinations one can make.
9.11.2009 8:51pm
Dave N (mail):
I second Kent Scheidegger--and heck, I'll even support your compromise as long as my state (and particularly my branch) gets one of the copies.
9.11.2009 9:15pm
T_Miller (www):
I suggest sending a copy to Johnathan Lee Riches.
9.11.2009 9:15pm
_Harold_ (mail):
I worekd in the NYS prison system (not as a guard). Inmates have better access to legal materials than ordinary citizens. I suggest giving the books to local, more rural libraries instead.
9.11.2009 9:29pm
Gruest:

I worekd in the NYS prison system (not as a guard). Inmates have better access to legal materials than ordinary citizens. I suggest giving the books to local, more rural libraries instead.

In other breaking news, women have better access to tampons. D'you think prisoners might need/use a treatise on criminal procedure a bit more than the (very small) readership of rural libraries?
9.11.2009 10:07pm
David Hardy (mail) (www):
BUT FOR PRISONER LITIGANTS, SHOULDN'T THE TEXTBOOK BE TYPESET LIKE THIS !!!!!!
9.11.2009 10:09pm
David Hardy (mail) (www):
"Or to former students who are now in prison."

Actually, I had a prof who did some significant time. Lost a paternity suit, refused to pay child support, fled the country to escape contempt proceedings, returned and had the misfortune to go shopping and park next to a police officer from the fugitive squad who was familiar with his looks.

We still laugh over his deposition in the paternity action, in which he admitted paternity but denied any memory of sex with the mother. He gave two explanations, of which the only printable one was that he might have OD'd on some painkillers for his back pain, and she might have raped him while he was a helpless victim of her lust.
9.11.2009 10:14pm
John Skookum (mail):
Orin,

You will want to save more copies than you might think. One of my ancestors wrote a book that was a best seller in its day (1912), but it has long since been out of print. My mom's cousin had a copy when I was growing up, but there was none left for my side of the family. I finally found a copy in an antiquarian bookstore for over a hundred and fifty dollars.

Someday you will have dozens, then hundreds, of descendants who will know that great-grandpa Orin was a big cheese professor who wrote an important book. (Even if you may not think so; that's how it goes with family history.) So set a few aside for each of the great-great-grandchildren you will have someday. Twenty-two sounds about right.
9.11.2009 10:51pm
Hadur:
Congrats. I'm always cheering for my favorite VC blogger to aggrandize his career.

Just don't say too much, don't want to jeopardize the chances of Justice Kerr one day.
9.11.2009 10:57pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Congrats, and agreed on Shawshank (not my very favorite, but certainly top ten). As for deserving beneficiaries of your generosity, my heart goes out to struggling fashion models.
9.11.2009 11:40pm
Hanah Volokh (mail) (www):
I know that prison libraries are regular customers of the Georgetown Law Journal's Annual Review of Criminal Procedure, so I bet they would be interested in your book as well. You might try calling GLJ and asking to talk to their ARCP editor, who might have contact information.
9.11.2009 11:54pm
Larrya (mail) (www):
I presume you already made sure your university library(ies) have one.

Is there a local lawyer's organization in need of silent auction/door prize stuff?

One for your highest-ranking student might also be a good idea.

You might think I just chaired a conference, but you'ld be wrong. My wife did, though, and there were plenty of honeydos involved.
9.12.2009 12:18am
Borealis (mail):
I would rather donate books to the victims than to the convicted criminals.
9.12.2009 12:34am
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

He gave two explanations, of which the only printable one was that he might have OD'd on some painkillers for his back pain, and she might have raped him while he was a helpless victim of her lust.

This happens to me all the time. I've got to stop taking painkillers.
9.12.2009 12:45am
PeteP:
Give them to whoever you consider most in need of the education here on VC.

Did you want my mailing address now or later ? :-)
9.12.2009 6:39am
John Q. Barrett (mail) (www):
Congrats on the book, Orin (and co-authors), which looks great. Re prison libraries, my experience (20 years ago) was that they were thirsty for material, and that defenders' organizations, prisoner rights litigators (on the outside) and even direct calls to local/regional prison switchboards were ways to find the right point of contact, mailing address, etc. I learned this as a federal law clerk who had, in chambers, regular piles of decision reporter advance sheets (the paperbacks) that would become obsolete when the permanent volumes (the hardbacks) arrived. Colleagues and I found the right point of contact/mailing address and started mailing advance sheet paperbacks we no longer needed to the library at a big state prison. The adminstrator was extremely grateful. These regularly-produced paperbacks still exist and by design are temporary in subscribing libraries, so I suggest giving them to prisons as more worthy than regular recycling.
9.12.2009 8:08am
New Esquire:
Given that the book retails for $80, you might consider keeping a few in your office or on reserve at the library for your less fortunate students to borrow.
9.12.2009 10:06am
Anon Y. Mous:
A bunch of ball-washing bastards!
9.12.2009 10:14am
drunkdriver:
I'm sure Orin's involvement will mean vast improvements in this book. In my student days, parts of the book read like liberal advocacy.

John Skookum, that was a neat story- can you get the book on Google Book Search?
9.12.2009 10:19am
stoshy (mail):
I've been dealing with inmates for 40 years in the appellate/post-conviction/collateral attack setting, and I have come upon only a teensy handful who truly understood how to read legal materials. Inmates, few of whom enter prison with high-level reading skills, tend to read everything very literally, cannot read between the lines, do not grasp the difference between dicta and holding, obsess over upon the most absurd technicalities, and are oblivious to the role that facts play in producing judicial outcomes.

Bottom line: Donating the volumes to public defender offices would exponentially enhance their value to defendants.
9.12.2009 11:03am
ChrisTS (mail):
Just out of curiosity - and to demonstrate my age - whatever happened to Scott? (In LaFave, Scott)
9.12.2009 12:04pm
One Man's View:
Odd, isn't it, that o few people actually answer Orin's question. Try the Prison Book Project (http://www.prisonbooks.org/donate/book-donations.html) or the Prison Book Program (http://www.prisonbookprogram.org/books.html). The American Library Association also has a program and I have a vague recollection that the Federal BOP accepts donations directly.
9.12.2009 12:27pm
Dave N (mail):
ChrisTS,

He's busy exploring the galaxy with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.
9.12.2009 1:27pm
Dave N (mail):
ChrisTS,

Seriously, Austin W. Scott, Jr., died sometime prior to 1973, since that is the year the University of Colorado Law School named a lecture in his memory.
9.12.2009 1:30pm
VaKerr (mail):
As a result of the SC decision in Lewis v. Casey, access to prison law libraries has been curtailed and many libraries are being neglected.

I work with a progarm at a maximum security facility in N.J. Your book would certainly be a welcome addition to the prison legal association library.

If you would like to follow up, please let me know via email.
9.12.2009 2:25pm
Dan Galloway:
If you're interested in helping prison litigants, this book may be a good one to donate, too:

Prisoners' Self Help Litigation Manual
9.12.2009 5:19pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Dave N:

Thanks. I liked both the serious and nonserious replies.

Beam me up, Scotty!
:-)
9.12.2009 5:24pm
The_buff (www):
If your going to send them to prison libraries you might write a special insert for those copies that warns against the use of double underlining, as mentioned above, and the use of "stramineus homo" in all pencil briefs. Maybe mention that following argument has already failed, and to not use it again;

I am a vessel, maritime law applies to vessels, I was imprisoned under U.S. laws, and therefore because maritime law was not used to imprison me, I was imprisoned unlawfully."


I agree with the comments that giving the treatises to PDs and DAs would be a more useful donation than to prison libraries. Parish of New Orleans perhaps, or Riverside County, California (In Riverside an overzealous DA has decided to not offer pleas, and has clogged up the courts because most of the civil court rooms are being used for criminal hearings. They've turned an old school into a temporary courthouse in an attempt to handle some of civil case backlog).
9.12.2009 10:56pm
Orleanian:
The_buff,

why do you say Orleans Parish?
9.13.2009 1:39am
The_buff (www):

Orleanian:
The_buff,

why do you say Orleans Parish?


The Public defenders office has been worried it would have to close down until the new fiscal year because it didn't have the money to stay open. I would think that means they need all the help they can get.

New Orleans public defender's office could close if it doesn't receive money from traffic cameras, chief says
9.13.2009 5:07am
Andreas O'Keeffe (mail):
i suck
9.13.2009 9:45pm
2cents (mail):
Congrats! Google will get around to posting the entire book before long (tongue in cheek).

Maybe donate the books to new public defenders/state's attorneys. Or crim appellate advocacy law school clinics.
9.14.2009 1:00am
Smooth, Like a Rhapsody (mail):
Pub Def offices are a good idea;

Also, you might leave a half dozen or so in the Illinois governor's mansion.
9.14.2009 9:14am
Herb Spencer:
Six years work in the Correctional Law section of our state AG's office taught me that inmates frequently cite inability to access their prison law library as a purported constitutional claim. But guess what? Once they finally stop attacking each other and earn enough good time credits to use the LL, many of the materials they find there have been stolen or mutilated beyond use by their fellow IMs. I like your 50/50 idea best: 11 each to some local prosecutor and public defender's office. And, you might include some copies of FRCvP 8 and 28 USC 1915 and 1915A as a "frontispiece" to your donation.
9.14.2009 11:16am
kathryn:
The_buff,

Glad you specified Orleans Public Defenders. If the books were donated to the Office of the Prosecutor, they may be confiscated to pay off the judgments...

Court upholds $14 million judgment against Orleans DA's office
9.14.2009 4:27pm
stephanie davidson (mail):
The AALL's SR-SIS maintains a database of law libraries serving prisoners: http://www.aallnet.org/sis/srsis/llsp/default.asp
9.15.2009 10:32pm

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