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Criminal Law & Procedure: Cases & Statutes

Statutes

State and federal criminal codes are available in annotated (containing editorial notes and research references) and unannotated (text of the law only) versions. Each federal and state code set has an index.  To locate relevant statutes, choose one of the annotated codes and search its index for your keywords.  

FEDERAL STATUTES

  • United States Code - Official, unannotated version. Title 18 covers federal crimes & criminal procedure; it includes the Federal Sentencing Guidelines & the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

         Also available online at GPO's FdSys (free)

  • United States Code Annotated (USCA) - Westlaw's annotated version

         Also available on Westlaw and WestlawNext

  • United States Code Service (USCS) - Lexis' annotated version

         Also available on Lexis and Lexis Advance

STATE STATUTES

To find statutory codes for individual states, visit Lexis or Westlaw. Current, official, unannotated versions may also be found on state legislatures' websites. 

The Law Library has some state codes in print.  Check NUCAT or ask a librarian.

Massachusetts' code may be found here:

  • General Laws of Massachusetts - Official, unannotated version. Part 4 (Chapters 263-280) deals with crimes, punishments and proceedings in criminal cases.

         Also available (unofficially) online from the Mass. Legislature

  • Massachusetts General Laws Annotated - Westlaw's annotated version

         Also available on Westlaw and WestlawNext

  • Annotated Laws of Massachusetts - Lexis' annotated version

         Also available on Lexis and Lexis Advance

For comparative state laws on crimes, consult:

  • Subject Compilation of State Laws and do a subject search for Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Model Penal Code, or related terms

         Full text also available via HeinOnline (research database)

Case Law

FEDERAL CASES

  • Use West's Federal Practice Digest to locate Federal contracts cases in the Federal Reporters. Search the Descriptive Word Index using your keywords for relevant Topics and Key Numbers.  
  • Lexis, Lexis Advance, Westlaw and Westlaw Next also have federal case law databases.  

STATE CASES

  • Digests may be used to locate cases in state reporters.  Some states have their own digest, others use a regional digest, and some have both.  Ask a librarian for assistance. 
  • Massachusetts
    • West's Massachusetts Digest, 2d

  • Lexis, Lexis Advance, Westlaw and Westlaw Next also have case law databases for each state.

** Be sure to update your case law research by checking pocket parts in back of print reporter volumes, and using a citator like Shepard's (Lexis) or KeyCite (Westlaw) to ensure your case is still good law **