1L Guide on Criminal Law

This is an introductory guide for 1Ls enrolled in Criminal Law during the 2014-15 academic year.

What Stacks?

Don't be confused by the location "Law Library Stacks." (Look in the OSCAR record, left-hand column, for Location.) Most of the library consists of Stacks.

The Library of Congress call numbers for Criminal Law materials begin at about KF 9219, which is on the second floor, above the compact shelving. Here you will find all the treatises that are not housed in the reserve collections.  California criminal treatises can be found in the California Collection on the first floor starting at KF1100.


Recent issues of most law periodicals are shelved on the second floor, above the reference and circulation desks. Law Periodicals will appear in the OSCAR Location column. The journals in Law Periodicals are shelved in alphabetical order, with some variation. The titles of some periodicals have changed over time; shelving order may reflect the current or former name. Call number for Law Periodical are K1 - K29.

The following periodicals focus on criminal law topics:

A few periodicals do have an OSCAR Location of Law Library Stacks. These journals usually focus on a particular topic and are shelved at the Library of Congress call number assigned to that topic.

Law journal Issues published more than ten years ago are generally shelved in Remote Storage. Law library staff go to our nearby storage facility once a day, Monday through Friday, to retrieve requested materials. Ask at the reference or circulation desk if you need help requqesting materials from Remote Storage.

Court Reporters

Federal Court reporters are available on LexisNexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law and other databases. Print copies are on the first floor of the law library, beginning with the United States Reports (the official reporter for United States Supreme Court decisions), continuing with the Federal Reporter (United States Court of Appeals decisions) now in its Third Series, and the Federal Supplement (selected United States District Court decisions) now in its Second Series.

California State Reporters are available in the California Collection on the First Floor of the law library (see KFC45 and ff.).

Selected State Reporters are available on the Second Floor (KFA for Alabama through KFW for Wyoming) but most are not currently updated. Use the West Regional Reporters instead to locate state supreme court decisions and some state appellate court decisions. You will find the foolowing Reporters and Digests at KF135 on the first floor of the law library:

Earlier series of these reporters are available in Remote Storage or in microfiche. Cases reported in these reporters are generally vailable on LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Bllomberg Law.

Legal Encyclopedias

There are two major U.S. legal encyclopedias:

The law library stopped updating the print copy of CJS in 2009 but continues to update AmJur2d.

Both encyclopedias are available electronically on Westlaw. Older editions of both are available in print: Corpus Juris and American Jurisprudence.

There is also a California Legal Encyclopedia -- California Jurisprudence (CalJur), now in its third Edition -- in the California Collection on the first floor of the law library, KFC80 .C29. CalJur is also available on both Westlaw and LexisNexis.

American Law Reports (ALR)

American Law Reports (ALR) started out as a selective case reporter. It succeeded because the court decisions published in ALR were accompanied by detailed discussions (annotations) of those decisions. The opinions themselves --  readily available elsewhere -- are no longer published in ALR, but the annotations remain.

ALR is confusing at first, because it has changed over time and includes a variety of indices. It is now in its sixth series and is divided into ALR (discussions of state law) and ALR Federal (annotations on federal law).

ALR articles/annotations are also available on LexisNexis and Westlaw. 

Several law schools have created research guides about using ALR:

Heafey Law Library Research Team