Criminal Justice & Legal Research

General Guides

  • The Constitution of the United States of America : Analysis and Interpretation. Ref KF 4527 .U54 1996
  • Fundamentals of Legal Research. Ref KF 240 .J32 1998 Valuable as both a learning and teaching tool, this work provides an examination of legal bibliography and research methods.
  • Illinois Legal Research Sourcebook. Ref KFI 1275 .I4 For legal research in Illinois, this guide covers statutory law, judicial systems, reference and administrative materials, practitioners' books, library resources, and includes an appendix on computer-assisted legal research.
  • Searching the Law. Ref KF 240 .B265 1987 A bibliography of the competing major tools of the legal trade, this work offers information on how to use legal materials effectively in legal research.
  • Legal Research in a Nutshell. Ref KF 240 .C54 1985 This compact guide to research in legal materials offers a means to understand the content and form of legal literature.
  • World Criminal Justice Library Network

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

  • Black's Law Dictionary. Ref KF 156 .B53 2004 This work provides basic definitions of legal terms, a pronunciation guide for non-English terms, and internal cross-references among related terms.
  • Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. (4 vols.; 1986 supplement) Ref KF 4548 .E53 1986 This comprehensive work presents the Constitution in a multidisciplinary manner with five major areas of emphasis, including: l)doctrinal aspects of constitutional law; 2) people; 3) judicial decisions; 4) public acts, such as statutes, treaties, executive orders; and 5) historical periods.
  • The Evolving Constitution. Ref KF 4548 .L54 1992 This work attempts to summarize what the Constitution actually means, as the U.S. Supreme Court has viewed and applied it for rulings on issues from abortion to zoning.

Federal Legislation

  • Congress and the Nation. Ref KF 4945 .C66 Analyses of major Congressional activities over every 4 years (each presidential term).
  • Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report. (2nd Floor Periodicals Collection--Current Year Only) The CQ Weekly reports reliable news summaries of congressional action and developments. A subject and name index is cumulated throughout the year.
  • Congressional Quarterly Almanac. Ref JK l .C663 [1948-- ] The CQ Almanac surveys legislation for one congressional session, and offers a summary of events in politics, lobbying, as well as congressional action within specific categories of legislation subdivided according to specific topics. Includes voting information on individual measures, summaries of laws passed, a directory of lobbyists, and texts of presidential messages.
  • House and Senate Measures
  • The texts of House and Senate measures are available on microfiche from the U.S. Government Printing Office. Government documents microfiche are housed in microfiche cabinets on the 2nd Floor of the Library, on the Southeast wall, behind the Documents shelves. Specific measures within each subclass are designated by the number of the Congress in which they were considered and a bill or resolution number. The nine relevant subclasses of documents are listed below with the appropriate Sudoc numbers:
    • Yl.4/1: Senate Bills
    • Yl.4/6: House Bills
    • Yl.4/2: Senate Resolutions
    • Yl.4/7: House Resolutions
    • Yl.4/3: Senate Joint Resolutions
    • Yl.4/8: House Joint Resolutions
    • Yl.4/4: Senate Concurrent Resolutions
    • Y1.4/9: House Concurrent Resolutions
    • Yl.4/5: Senate Printed Amendments
    • Many legislative materials are now available on the Web, see:
    • GPO Access--Legislative &
    • GPO Access--Congressional Hearings

Federal Laws and Regulations

  • Public & Private Laws The U.S. Federal government no longer publishes Slip Laws in paper. Newly enacted laws are first published as individual documents, now available on the web. These documents are later arranged in chronological order, and published as Statutes at Large.
  • United States Code. The U.S. Code is the official edition of the federal statutory code. All current laws are arranged by subject into titles, and over time, subsequent amendments are incorporated into the original laws. Code volumes are issued every six years with supplements being issued int he intervening years.

Federal Court Decisions

  • Supreme Court Opinions The Supreme Court's full written opinions issued when the decisions are handed down are included on this site. Written opinions are subject to formal revisions before publication in the United States Reports. United States Reports are available on the Court's web page from 1991. The Library has United States Reports from volume 332 (see below).
  • United States Reports. Ref KF 8748 .R42 This is the official edition of the reported opinions of the Supreme Court. Each term of the Court usually produces three or four volumes of opinions. Bound volumes are updated by opinions issued on the Court's web site.
  • United States Supreme Court Digest. Ref KF 8748 .D5 [Lawyer's Edition, vols. 1 - 22] The digest summarizes all of the Supreme Court decisions, and incudes updates with annual cumulative pocket supplements. Included are: Vol. 15 "Table of Cases" by case name with references to U.S. Reports; Vol. 16 subject "Word Index;" and Vol. 17 contains the text of the U.S. Constitution with references to related subject matter in the body of the work.
  • United States Supreme Court Reports (Lawyers Edition). Ref KF 8748 .R41 [Lawyer's Edition, vols. 1-111, includes 1992 Case Table] Though more current than U.S. Reports, this work publishes opinions exactly as they appear in U.S. Reports with the addition of case summaries and headnotes which precede the opinions. For important cases, an appendix offers summaries of attorney's briefs and articles on significant legal issues.
  • Supreme Court Cases are also available in Lexis-Nexis, in the "Legal" section, under "Federal & State Cases".

Illinois Laws and Legislation

  • Illinois Court Rules and Procedures. Ref KFI 1230.5 .S82 [Current two years on shelf] This series of booklets provides access to laws passed during the General Assembly's current session. A chronological arrangement of Public Act numbers and a cumulative subject/topical index are provided in each issue.
  • Legislative Synopsis and Digest. ILL. 328.2 L (IL Govt. Publications- 2nd floor) This service reports actions on all bills and resolutions before the General Assembly, along with summaries of the legislation and legislative histories that include dates of filing, reading, amendment, passage,and transmission to the Governor. The "Statutes Amended" section list the chapter and paragraph number of statutes and the numbers of bills that have affected them. The Digest also includes indexes to subjects and sponsors. Some Illinois Legislative materials are now available on the web, at: Illinois General Assembly.
  • West's Smith-Hurd Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated. Ref KFI 1230.5.S80 [includes 3 vol. index, tables, and general index] This publication presents the text of all laws plus "Historical Notes" that list antecedent statutes, "Cross References" to related or qualifying provisions in other sections of the law. Also provided are "Law Review" references to pertinent articles and commentaries, "Library References" to pertinent sections of Corpus Juris Secundum, and references to Key Numbers in the American Digests System. Current laws and annotations are cumulated in pamphlets and annual pocket parts.

Illinois Court Decisions

  • Illinois Reports. [vols. 1 - 113] Ref KFI 1245 .A2 This series reports opinions of the Illinois Supreme Court from 1819 until 1885 when the North Eastern Reporter began coverage.
  • Illinois Supreme Court Opinions from recent years are available on the Court's web site.
  • West's Illinois Digest. [1938 -- ] Ref KFI 1257 .W472 This digest reports on state and federal cases decided since 1938, and provides references to Corpus Juris Secundum, Illinois Law and Practice, the opinions of the Attorney General, and law review articles. Indexes are also provided for cases, defendants and plaintiffs, words and phrases, and descriptive words.

Legal Citations

The basic format for legal citations contains:

The volume number of title cited, the abbreviated title including appropriate series or notations, and a page or section number. It may include a date.

Note the following examples from the U.S. Code and U.S. Reports:

  • 46 U.S.C. 761-68 (1970)
  • 343 U.S. 579 (1952)

At times the popular name of a law or the names of parties in a court case are listed with the citation, as in the examples below:

  • Civil Rights law of 1964, 28 U.S.C. 1447
  • Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka, 346 U.S. 483 (1954)


At times a citation will include both a reference to the official reporter and a reference to a commercially published reporter, as shown in the following examples:

  • Maxwell v. O'Connor l Ill. App. 1d. 124, 117 N.E. 2d. 326,328 (1953)
  • Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 98 S.Ct. 2733, 57 L.Ed. 2d. 750 (1978)

Common Legal Abbreviations

Legal citations can be confusing because they are so heavily abbreviated, but the abbreviations are somewhat standardized. A list of frequently found legal abbreviations is given below:

  • A.L.R. Fed. American Law Reports Federal
  • Am.Jur. 2d. American Jurisprudence. Second Series
  • C.F.R. Code of Federal Regulations
  • C.J.S. Corpus Juris Secundum
  • Ill. Illinois Reports
  • Ill.App. Illinois Appellate Court Reports
  • Ill.App.2nd Illinois Appellate Court Reports. Second Series
  • Ill.Rev.Stat.1977 Illinois Revised Statutes 1977
  • L.Ed. U.S. Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition
  • L.Ed. 2d U.S. Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition. Second Series
  • N.E. North Eastern Reporter
  • P.A. Public Act, passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by the Governor
  • U.S. United States Reports
  • U.S.C. United States Code
  • U.S.C.S. United States Code Service
  • U.S.L.W. U.S. Law Week

A complete list of legal abbreviations can be found in Doris M. Bieber's work, A Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations [Ref KF 246 .B46].

Legal Resources Online

Denise Johnson
Reference/Government Documents Librarian

Library 109
(309) 677-2840
johnson@fsmail.bradley.edu