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An attorney wants to show the jury the relationship between homicide rates and education levels in a state. Or maybe an attorney needs to beef up a brief with data on how many robberies were reported in the county over the past decade. Whether for the defense or the prosecution, criminal lawyers can use government statistics and other official documents at every stage of a case, from initial investigation to final sentencing. The Web is a virtual warehouse of such information, where sites operated by federal and state criminal-justice and law-enforcement agencies provide easy access to practice guides, primary law, legal pleadings, government studies and voluminous statistics. Start with the U.S. Department of Justice, whose Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs, houses an extensive and useful library of data about crime and victims, drugs, criminal offenders, the justice system, law enforcement, prosecution, courts and sentencing, corrections, expenditures and other special topics. Of particular use to criminal-justice professionals is Crime and Justice Electronic Data Abstracts, at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/dtdata.htm, where the BJS has pulled together crime and justice data from a variety of published sources and made the data available in spreadsheet form to facilitate their use in analysis, graphing and mapping. The files contain thousands of numbers and hundreds of categories, displayed by jurisdiction and time. Wherever possible, the data are the most recent available. Sources for the data include BJS statistics on correctional populations and federal case processing, the Uniform Crime Reporting program of the FBI and the Bureau of the Census. The Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center, at fjsrc.urban.org, has data about specific events and outcomes, such as the number of defendants prosecuted, convicted and sentenced in a given year. This online database contains comprehensive information about suspects and defendants processed in each stage of the federal criminal justice system. It includes data collected from the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Pretrial Services Administration, U.S. courts of appeals and the Federal Probation Supervision Information System, with coverage spanning from 1994 to the most recent data-reporting year. Another useful site for criminal-justice statistics is that of the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data, at www.icpsr.umich.edu/NACJD/home.html. The National Archive houses more than 550 data collections relating to criminal justice. The collections, which can be searched by key word, subject or title, contain a wealth of potentially useful reports and studies relating to sentencing, probation, jury selection and more. For a more general array of reports and information related to criminal justice, try the Justice Information Center, at www.ncjrs.org. This site, by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, lives up to its claim to be “one of the most extensive sources of information on criminal and juvenile justice in the world.” Its holdings are organized by major categories, such as corrections, courts, crime prevention, criminal justice statistics, drugs, juvenile justice and more. Within each category are libraries of documents and reports as well as links to related Web sites. By selecting “Drugs and Crime,” for example, an attorney can download the 2000 National Drug Control Strategy, a report titled “Keeping Youth Drug Free” or any of a number of fact sheets on drug-related crime. BEYOND STATISTICS Beyond statistics, government-sponsored Web sites include other forms of useful information and resources for criminal lawyers. An indispensable site for attorneys who practice in federal court is the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Web site, at www.ussc.gov. Even for those who practice only in state court, it has a wide range of useful information. Among the highlights are the complete text of the Sentencing Guidelines Manual — which can be either downloaded or viewed online in hypertext format — and a library of the commission’s research and reports on matters such as mandatory sentencing and drug policies. Cutting-edge practitioners should pay a visit to Cybercrime, at www.cybercrime.gov. Launched in March 2000 by the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Cybercrime provides information on the expanding number of crimes related to the Internet, focusing on hackers and intellectual property crime. The site includes a variety of materials, such as press releases, speeches by Justice Department officials, Congressional testimony, letters and Justice Department reports. In addition, there is material to assist the general public and law enforcement, including information on how to report Internet-related crime. Materials on the site are organized according to the legal or policy issues involved. Categories include investigating and prosecuting computer crime, protecting intellectual property rights, e-commerce, speech issues, searches and seizures of computers, encryption, privacy and law-enforcement coordination. Many government sites focus on law enforcement and criminal prosecution. Whether in the local post office or in cyberspace, the most recognizable icon of law enforcement is the 10-most-wanted list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The list and much more, including extensive information about the FBI and its operations, and current and recent investigations, can be found at the FBI’s Web site at www.fbi.gov. Topics covered at the site include international crime, economic espionage, wiretapping and electronic surveillance. Moreover, statistics from the Uniform Crime Reporting Program are available at the FBI Web site, as is information about the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System and the National Crime Information Computer. MOST-WANTED LISTS AND MORE Think only the FBI has a most-wanted list? There is another list over at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Web site, at www.atf.treas.gov. The site also has in-depth information about the ATF’s role in policing not only alcohol, tobacco and firearms, but also arson and explosives. Additionally, the site contains the full text of ATF regulations. DOJ, the sponsor of several of the statistical and law-enforcement sites discussed above, also lays claim to being the largest law firm in the nation, and much of its legal work is in criminal justice. Its main site, at www.usdoj.gov, includes information on a number of criminal-justice programs and initiatives and provides a gateway to the sites of various divisions, including the Criminal Division and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Many state and local prosecutors and law-enforcement officials also have Web sites of their own. A quick route to finding them is Prosecutors on the Web, at www.co.eaton.mi.us/ecpa/proslist.htm. This is a collection of links to Web sites maintained by prosecuting attorneys, district attorneys, attorneys general and U.S. attorneys nationwide. It is organized by state, and includes federal and international listings, as well as sites for prosecutors’ associations. Criminal-defense agencies are on the Web as well, and the best of their sites may be Criminal Defense Online, at www.sado.org, maintained by the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office (SADO). Although its focus is on Michigan, this is a useful and comprehensive site for criminal lawyers everywhere. The heart of this site is its criminal-defense database, which SADO aptly describes as an online “motherlode.” Among its contents are appellate briefs filed by SADO attorneys; other pleadings, including trial motions and model appellate pleadings; summaries of criminal opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, the U.S. district courts for Michigan and Michigan state courts; sample voir dire questions; information on expert witnesses who work with criminal defense lawyers; and nonstandard jury instructions. The database is available only to criminal defense attorneys who register and pay a $30 annual fee, but it is well worth the price of admission.

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