Vol. 76, No. 7, July
Federal Habeas Corpus Commentaries and Statutes
By Steven M. Statsinger (Notre Dame, IN: National Institute
of Trial Advocacy, 2002). 58 pgs. $19.95. Order, (800) 225-6482
Reviewed by Bruce Bower
This is a compact treatment of habeas-type relief. The book covers
relief from state custody and from federal custody. The author notes the
pertinence of the writ of habeas corpus in our times, as well as the
roots of the Great Writ in the Magna Carta and in the Habeas Corpus Act
of the English parliament in 1679.
The book's discussion of present U.S. statutes begins with the
relationship among 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (authorizing federal courts to
grant writs of habeas corpus), 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (governing writs by
state prisoners), and 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (governing relief from a
federal sentence). The author points out the complexity of habeas corpus
litigation, noting that "[i]t is governed not just by statute, but by
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, two sets of procedural rules
promulgated solely for habeas corpus petitions, various courts' local
rules, and a significant body of case law not codified in any statute or
The author discusses the issue of appointment of counsel (not
mandatory in habeas cases except when the indigent prisoner has been
sentenced to death) and the relationship of the Anti-Terrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) to writs of habeas corpus. Sections
of the book then briefly treat "Form, Content, Timing and Stays" (for
relief from state custody under 28 U.S.C. § 2254); the types of
issues that can be the subject of habeas petitions; AEDPA's "one bite of
the apple concept;" and the timing of applications, including AEDPA's
one-year statute of limitation. Concerning relief from federal custody
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, the author discusses the custody
requirement and procedural default. The work addresses standards of
review under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and § 2255, and discusses
evidentiary hearings (governed by 28 U.S.C. § 2246), appeals, and
second applications (if there are new grounds).
The book contains the full text of the federal statutes that govern
writs of habeas corpus and motions for relief from federal custody. For
major points along the way, the author has provided federal case
Thus, the author treats the core concepts of habeas corpus and relief
from federal custody. To render competent representation in these types
of cases, many practitioners will want more detailed guidance than such
a compact book would claim to provide. This book, though, is a good
overview of the main concepts that must be mastered.
E-Health Business and Transactional Law
Edited by Barbara Bennett (Washington, D.C.: ABA Health Law
Section, BNA, 2002). 728 pgs. $54.95. Order, (800)
Reviewed by Mike Lamb
E-Health Business and Transactional Law carries a warning
and a promise that make the book well worth the reader's time and
investment. "To be incompatible or unconnected are no longer mere social
sins. They are commercial oblivion," caution the authors. The authors
promise and deliver a "down-to-earth reference ... written by
practitioners for practitioners" in this comprehensive, well-organized
working volume on business/legal issues for health-related Internet
As the authors note, "E-health businesses combine components found in
a triad of commercial enterprises - traditional business models,
specialized health industry operations, and e-commerce Web-based
endeavors." And so does this book. Linking commerce, technology, and
health care in a reader-friendly format, this work speaks equally well
across a wide range of Internet transactions as it treats broad areas of
common interest such as privacy, liability, antitrust, due diligence,
ethics, and intellectual property. From a chapter devoted to general
business and financing issues, and throughout the book, the authors
thread practical business concerns as commerce intersects with law in a
Each chapter begins with a brief overview and table of contents that
allow readers to quickly orient to the subject matter. Appendices
include a glossary of Internet and health terms, lists of health-related
Web sites and government agencies, and selected forms. An accompanying
CD-ROM is clumsier to use than necessary because of a lack of links from
its table of contents to the information on the disk. One hopes that
future editions will remedy this slight oversight in an otherwise
The editor of E-Health Business and Transactional Law
acknowledges that fast-paced advances in law on the Internet require a
brave heart, but she promises annual updates to keep pace. With this
book as a standard reference, businesses and their advisers competing in
the electronic marketplace can bravely go forth.
An Estate Planners Guide to Qualified
Retirement Benefits, 3d Edition
By Louis A. Mezzullo (Chicago, IL: ABA Real Property, Probate
and Trust Law Section, 2002). 171 pgs. $99.95. Order, (800)
Reviewed by Robert G. Alexander
This book is one of the essential references for anyone who does
estate, tax, or retirement planning for qualified plan benefits. The
author, Louis A. Mezzullo, is one of the premier practitioners, authors,
and lecturers in America on this topic. This third edition, as with the
first two editions, is a "must read" for anyone who practices in this
area. Although published prior to issuance of the new minimum
distribution rules in 2002, the book's addendum discusses the new
The advantages of this volume are its organization, useful forms, and
in-depth coverage of the topics, all accomplished in a format that makes
this volume a very practical reference source. Almost all of the issues
that practitioners confront daily can be located easily in this
easy-to-use volume. The volume includes discussions of nontax rules
relating to qualified plans, the many penalty taxes that can be assessed
against qualified plan benefits, minimum distribution requirements,
income taxation of benefits, transfer tax issues, spousal rights, and
community property law considerations.
Planning opportunities with respect to qualified plan benefits are
discussed in a particularly useful chapter that includes illustrations
that bring together the technical rules discussed in the previous
chapters and demonstrate their day-to-day use in retirement planning,
beneficiary designation planning, and post-death planning. Finally, the
volume concludes with a number of useful indices, including uniform
distribution tables, life expectancy tables, and revenue and case
rulings. Appendix B contains several excellent forms that should be
integrated into every professional's daily practice. This volume is
highly recommended and is a bargain at its low price.
Going to Trial: A Step-by-Step Guide to Trial
Practice and Procedure, 2d Edition
Edited by Daniel I. Small (Chicago, IL: ABA Publishing,
2002). 298 pgs., w/diskette. $99.95. Order, (800) 285-2221.
Reviewed by Jon G. Furlow
Going To Trial is far too modest a title for this book. This
is not just another book about trial practice. It is a comprehensive
guide to the fundamentals of litigation from the initial interview
through post-trial motions and all steps in between.
The strength of Going to Trial is its devotion to practical,
nuts-and-bolts advice about how to handle a case. The presentation is
chronological, starting with the chapter on the initial interview and
concluding with the closing argument. There are chapters devoted to
discovery, trial preparation, and trial advocacy points such as opening
statement, direct examination, cross examination, rebuttals, and closing
argument. These chapters provide an excellent baseline of information
about litigation and trial technique and provide plenty of practical
advice for practitioners. For example, on interviewing new clients, the
authors highlight red flags that should raise a question about whether
to undertake the representation. On trial presentation, the authors
emphasize a lesson often overlooked - "juries like to discover things
Going to Trial is written in a clear, concise, and
easy-to-follow style. The central theme focuses on the well-worn advice
that preparation is everything. Each chapter is supported by helpful
checklists on subjects ranging from fee agreements to evidence
foundations to subjects to cover in lay and expert witness examinations.
The authors provide a multitude of forms to assist with such things as
client questionnaires, witness lists, and exhibit lists. A disk
containing the checklists and forms for ready reference and use is
included. As a further supplement, each chapter is supported by helpful
lists of secondary reference materials.
Although put out by the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm
Section, Going to Trial is not just for the small firm or solo
practitioner. With only a smidgen of imagination, any lawyer involved in
litigation - large or small - will benefit from the advice in Going
to Trial. This book is a particularly valuable resource for new
lawyers just starting in a litigation practice because it provides
solid, practical advice that would otherwise take years to learn by
carrying a partner's bag.
Litigants Without Lawyers: Courts and Lawyers
Meeting the Challenges of Self-Representation
By Patricia A. Garcia (Chicago, IL: ABA Coalition for
Justice, 2002). 32 pgs. $5. Order, (800) 285-2221.
Reviewed by Donna M. Jones
Increasingly, people are choosing to represent themselves in legal
matters. A 1999 survey conducted by the American Judicature Society
"found 95% of participating courts reporting an increase in [pro se]
litigation during the previous five years." Litigants Without
Lawyers presents the challenges posed by this trend and offers
possible reforms to address it.
Too many risks are involved. Pro se litigants can unknowingly give up
legal rights, fail to recognize important aspects of the case, or ask
for too little during mediation or arbitration. Without legal
representation, they also lose protections like bar association client
protection funds and lawyer disciplinary processes.
Courts, judges, and lawyers are exposed, too. The additional demands
that pro se litigants place on courts add more strain to already limited
resources. Self-representation is a constitutional right that raises
ethical concerns. Judges "must balance their duty to remain impartial
with their duty to provide a fair hearing to all parties." Pro se
litigants may need or expect more assistance from judges, yet "there is
no clear point at which such assistance unfairly impacts on the party"
that has an attorney. Court personnel are required to act with
neutrality, but when "does friendly assistance become legal advice"?
Lawyers are obligated to advocate for their clients, and "should not
take advantage of [a pro se] party's lack of knowledge of the rules and
Examples of solutions include developing training programs, protocol
for judicial officers during hearings, and guidelines that direct court
staff on what is and is not permissible. Solutions that directly assist
litigants include on-site self-help centers; on-site clinics with
paralegals; and more "understandable" forms. Lawyers can assist by
providing free or low-cost legal assistance, or charging fixed or flat
fees for routine services. Lawyers also can offer "limited" services
that cover only part of a case instead of an entire case.
This book ends with summaries of reform initiatives from six states,
ABA policy, and an excellent list of resources.
To Review a Book...
The following books are available for review. Please request the book
and writing guidelines from Karlé Lester at the State Bar of
Wisconsin, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158, (608) 250-6127, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publications and videos available for review
- Corporate Ethics: The Business Code of Conduct for Ethical
Employee, by Steven R. Barth (Boston, Mass.: Aspatore
Publishing, 2003). 153 pgs.
- Forensic Aspects of Communication Sciences &
Disorders, by Dennis C. Tanner (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers &
Judges Publishing, 2003). 393 pgs.
- Forensic Aspects of Driver Perception & Response, 2nd
ed., by Paul L. Olson & Eugene Farber (Tucson, AZ:
Lawyers & Judges Publishing, 2003). 372 pgs.
- The Good, The Bad & The Difference: How to Tell Right
from Wrong in Everyday Situations, by Randy Cohen (New
York, NY: Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, 2002). 284 pgs.
- Homeland Security Statutes, 2003 Ed., edited by
Government Institutes Research Group (Rockville, MD: Government
Institutes, 2003). 600 pgs.
- International Franchising in Industrialized Markets: North
America, the Pacific Rim, and Other Countries, edited by
Dianne H.B. Welsh & Ilan Alon (Riverwoods, IL: CCH Inc., 2002). 368
- Law Partnership: Its Rights & Responsibilities, 2nd
ed., by George H. Cain (Chicago, IL: ABA Senior Lawyers
Division, 1999). 362 pgs., with diskette.
- Legal Cases of the Civil War, by Robert Bruce
Murray (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2003). 352 pgs.
- Medical-Legal Aspects of Drugs, by Marcelline
Burns, Ph.D. (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges Publishing, 2003). 468
- Medical-Legal Aspects of Long-Term Care, edited
by Jeffrey M. Levine, MD (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges Publishing,
2003). 361 pgs.
- The Nature of the Farm: Contracts, Risk, and Organization in
Agriculture, by Douglas W. Allen & Dean Lueck
(Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003). 280 pgs.
- Paralegals, Profitability, and the Future of Your Law
Practice, by Arthur G. Greene & Therese A. Cannon
(Chicago, IL: ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2003). 174 pgs., with
- Taking Sides on Takings Issues: The Impact of
Tahoe-Sierra, edited by Thomas E. Roberts (Chicago, IL: ABA
State & Local Government Law Section, 2003). 109 pgs.