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Nonfiction > How to successfully research court cases

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message 1: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Dietz | 273 comments I'm not sure if I'm posting in the correct place, so if not, please guide me to the right one.

A friend of mine is a crisis consultant who deals specifically with crises in schools. She was consulted via phone during the Columbine incident, was called in during 9/11, etc.

She has been asked to write a book about this topic, and needs to find out how to go about researching court case results.

Specifically, she is seeking:
*court case outcomes for school crises events
*any grade level
*limited to the US
*limited to the past 10 years

I have no idea where to direct her, and was hoping for help from authors of non-fiction here.

Thanks for any information you can give me!

You can email me privately if you don't feel this will be of interest to others on Goodreads, or you can post here if it's easier. I'll take any help I can get.

message 2: by Feliks (last edited Sep 20, 2013 11:40AM) (new)

Feliks (Dzerzhinsky) At the very least she would need an account with Lexis/Nexis.

This is a computer system which was built to allow court research. For example, when you are a law student in college and you are doing your homework, if you go into the law library (after enjoying valet parking, bottle service, and hors d'oeuvres in the atrium) you would sit down at a desk and log in to Lexis/Nexis, which the library itself would have an account for. Available to any student with proper law school credentials.

But I believe that for a monthly fee, individuals can also gain access to these records and log-in via their home computer.

Beyond that? Let's see. There's an FBI computer crime records system, called the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). She could inquire there. Not sure what their policy is towards the public.

Depending on the city, there may also be a version of CompStat which was developed in New York City. For example, Denver may have logged all the Columbine data into their CompStat system (whether they call it out there). These records may conceivably be available for research inquiries although there may be plenty of reasons why they might not allow access for her (privacy rights, etc).

She should look in the bibliography pages of all the existing books about Columbine and see where other authors have pulled their references from.

message 3: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Dietz | 273 comments Well, Feliks, I guess you're it.

I appreciate the wealth of information and will certainly pass it along to my friend. It never even occurred to me to suggest that she look in the bibliography pages of other books about specific court case outcomes. Duh. I suppose that's why I'm an editor, not a writer. Or, apparently, a researcher.

Thank you for taking the time to post a thoughtful answer!

message 4: by Yzabel (new)

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 260 comments Maybe , too--although it deals with Supreme Court cases, so perhaps it's a bit too "national".

message 5: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Dietz | 273 comments Yzabel, that's right along the lines of exactly what she needs.

Thank you!

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