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  • InsideTrack
  • February 03, 2016

    Locating Wisconsin Jury Instructions: Turn to Fastcase for New Electronic Edition

    The book Wisconsin Jury Instructions assists judges and attorneys instruct jurors who must reach verdicts during trials. An electronic version is newly available through Fastcase, a legal research service.

    Cheryl O’Connor

    jury listens intentlyFeb. 3, 2016 – For more than 50 years, legal practitioners have relied on the red and blue binders containing Wisconsin Jury Instructions, Civil and Criminal, published by Continuing Legal Education of Wisconsin (CLEW) at the U.W. Law School.

    Drafted by the state Judicial Conference and the U.W. Law School, the book helps judges and attorneys determine the elements of the law to be proven, and helps them to assist jurors in answering verdict questions. This important resource includes commentary and citations to relevant Wisconsin decisions and statutory law, along with references to other related instructions. Since 1996, Wisconsin Jury Instructions – Children helps juries grapple with child protection cases and those involving the involuntary termination of parental rights.

    For researchers preferring electronic access to the instructions, CLEW now partners with Fastcase, a legal research service.

    Fastcase and Wisconsin Jury Instructions

    The State Bar of Wisconsin provides free access to Fastcase as a member benefit. The new Fastcase jury instruction library will require an individual add-on subscription fee. Fastcase offers a pricing plan for law firm libraries interested in networking the jury instructions.

    Cheryl O'Connor is head of reference at the University of Wisconsin Law Library. She is a current member of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin (LLAW), a chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries. LLAW's Public Relations Committee coordinates regular contributions by its members to InsideTrack.

    The Wisconsin State, U.W., and Marquette law libraries have Fastcase subscriptions in place, providing electronic access to the jury instructions. The database is available to on-site visitors at these libraries. The search interface is intuitive, and includes a handy table of contents feature for easy browsing.

    Jury instruction publishing varies from state to state, and surprisingly, Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law do not have comprehensive collections. An interesting article in the November 2015 issue of the Michigan Bar Journal, “Finding State Jury Instructions,” surveys online availability.

    Subscription Information

    To purchase a print subscription or a CD version of the Wisconsin Jury Instructions, contact CLEW.

    For more details regarding online subscription options for the Wisconsin Jury Instructions, please contact the Fastcase reference attorneys at (866) 773-2782.

    New to Fastcase? Learn more in this 2014 article in InsideTrack.

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