Intro. to Criminal Law - Basic Lexis Searching


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  • Legal Topics are points of law (also called Headnotes) written by Lexis attorney-editors, covering the key legal issues in the case.
  • Use quotations around phrases. This is how you want the phrase to appear in the case.
  • In New York, the Court of Appeals is the highest court, followed by Supreme Court and lower court cases.
  • Lexis provides you with knowledge of whether the case is still good law. Green = go.
  • You can often find the statutory reference to the law in the Headnotes or in the case. You can click on the hypertext link to the statute.
  • Felony murder 1 statute
  • Why are there 2 sections of the same statute? There are so many New York cases interpreting this statute that Lexis made another entry for the statute. It is the same statute.
  • You can search the New York statutory code, the administrative code (rules and regulations), and the New York State Constitution.
  • Note we are searching for the phrase “felony murder” to appear anywhere in the statute.
  • The phrase “felony murder” appears in 140 different statutes. You want the actual felony murder statute; not a statute that may have a minor reference to it. Remember, when you click on Expanded List, you can see how your search terms are used. “Felony murder” is not the actual name of the statute – it is a popular reference to it. For example, “Buster’s Law” is the popular name for New York’s aggravated animal cruelty statute. To effectively search statutes, you need to know either (1) the citation for the statute or (2) the actual “Heading” of the New York code and “Section.” E.g., Penal Code is the “Heading;” Murder in the first degree is the “Section.”
  • It’s much easier to search statutes in Lexis once you know the citation. You can find reference to the citation in case law. Copy and paste the citation and run the search in the citation field.
  • Intro. to Criminal Law - Basic Lexis Searching

    1. 1. Lexis TutorialIntroduction to Criminal Law
    2. 2. Choose a crime to focus on, and a jurisdiction. Felony Murder – New York
    3. 3. Find a statutory reference for the crime you have chosen. New York’s felony murder statute enacted by the N.Y. legislature
    4. 4. Another way to find statutes in Lexis… In addition to locating the statute in the case, you can run a separate search.
    5. 5. Find another case report dealingwith the crime you are researching… …and also involving a procedural issue such as search and seizure.