Treatises are books, written by legal scholars, providing in-depth treatment of a single topic of the law. They provide critical analysis, in that they may criticize case law or call into question the reasoning of a court's opinion. They are useful as casefinders. Narrative discussion is provided with the use of supporting footnoted material.
A treatise usually includes an index, table of contents, table of cases, table of statutes, and is updated with an annual cumulative pocket part or separate softcover supplement. Some treatises are looseleafs and are updated by supplements placed in the binders or by replacement pages which are interfiled in the binder.
Use the Law Library's online catalog, WILDPAC, to ascertain whether there is a treatise on your subject of interest. To locate available treatises on a particlular topic (when you do not have a specific title) try using the "Search Now" tab in WILDPAC with relevant search terms. When you find a relevant title and click on the link to the title, a short bibliographic record will display along with a Table of Contents if available. Note that if a Table of Contents to a particular item is available, you will see a Table of Contents link in your results list. Looking at the Table of Contents for a title can be very helpful, especially when your search terms do not appear in the title of the item, but appear in an individual chapter.
Using the "Search Now" tab in WILDPAC is similar to doing a keyword search, with some additional benefits. After your initial search, along with your regular results which display in the center of the screen, you now have the choice to refine your search by using "facets" found on the left-side of the screen.
Once you locate the shelves where the treatises pertinent to your topic are maintained, browse the titles of items shelved nearby, as books relating to topics are generally shelved together.
Many treatises are in high demand by our students so are kept on Reserve.
This LibGuide is a companion to the Criminal Procedure Simulation class at Western New England University School of Law. It focuses specifically on the resources that will be most useful to students writing for that class, pointing out the best secondary sources and other material for Massachusetts. There is a much broader universe of criminal procedure material than this guide contains. Please contact a law librarian if you would like assistance finding further sources on criminal procedure.
A Note about Forms
While forms can be useful, especially for developing the structure of a document, do not rely too heavily on them. Formbooks have to cater to a wide audience of practicioners of varying familiarity with an area of law. Thus, they cannot have the specificity or nuance that an attorney would want in a final work product.
Massachusetts Criminal Practice 4th edition
Professors Arthur Leavens of Western New England University School of Law and Eric Blumenson of Suffolk University Law School have published the 4th edition of their treatise Massachusetts Criminal Practice. This book is available online for free - you will not find it on Westlaw or Lexis.
The book can be accessed through Western New England University School of Law's institutional repository, at http://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/books/2/.
Using Westlaw's KeyCite To Validate your Research
As mentioned elsewhere, since law is constantly evolving, it is an essential part of the research process to ensure that each and every case upon which a lawyer relies in her advocacy has been properly validated using the citators on either Westlaw or LexisNexis.
The following tutorials will illustrate how to perform different tasks using Westlaw's KeyCite system.
Note: It is essential that you determine why and how a case has earned a flag. For an example of a judge scolding an attorney for incorrectly stating that a case with a red flag "was overruled and of no value to this court" see Lewis v. Paul Revere Life Ins. Co., 80 F.Supp. 2d 978, 990 fn 10 ("Such unwarranted claims about the precedential value of cases cited by opposing parties are discouraged.")