Skip to Content
ublogo print

University Libraries

Charles B. Sears Law Library SUNY Buffalo Law School

Law Library News

Observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Posted on: | by Nancy Babb |

The Law Library will be closed on Monday, January 15, 2018, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

MLK photo

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking in Buffalo, NY, November 1967 (photo from University at Buffalo Libraries Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Buffalo collection

Each year, people throughout the country gather in service to honor Dr. King. You can find local opportunities with UB Student Engagement and the IDC and explore resources via the national service site.

You may also enjoy browsing the University at Buffalo Libraries’ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Buffalo collection, highlighting Dr. King’s visit and speech, “The Future of Integration”, in Buffalo, New York on November 9, 1967.

New chapter by David A. Westbrook

Posted on: | by Nancy Babb |

The Law Library has received a new publication, Power, Policy and Profit: Corporate Engagement in Politics and Governance, featuring a chapter by University at Buffalo School of Law Professor David A. Westbrook, “Reflections: Leaving Flatland? Planar Discourses and the Search for the G-Axis.”

Looking for more? Enjoy exploring Professor Westbrook’s works via his Faculty Profile and Publications list.

Bootleg Bluebooks???

Posted on: | by Brian Detweiler | 1 Comment

Yes, you read that right! According to our colleagues at the Brooklyn Law School Library, some law students who purchased Bluebooks through third-party vendors unknowingly bought scanned knock-off copies:

Bluebook Prohibition

You can check your Bluebook using the images in the original BLS Library Blog post, and if you did pick up a bootleg 20th edition, don’t worry! The UB Law Library has several (legitimate) copies you can use:

Happy New Year

Posted on: | by Nancy Babb |

Welcome to the new year at the Charles B. Sears Law Library!

The Law Library will be open on the following schedule for January:

Tuesday, January 2 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Law School Winter Session (Bridge) – January 3-27, 2018 *

Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday Closed
* Exceptions:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday 1/15/2018 Closed

Last Week of Law Winter Session (Bridge) – January 28-February 4, 2018

Sunday 1/28 Closed
Monday 1/29 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday 1/30: Last Day of Law Winter Session Classes 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Wednesday 1/31: Law Winter Session Reading Day 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Thursday 2/1: Law Winter Session Exams 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Friday 2/2: Law Winter Session Exams 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 2/3-2/4 Closed

Full Law Library hours are posted at Hours at other University Libraries are posted at

Winter Recess hours and closures

Posted on: | by Nancy Babb |

The Law School’s Winter Recess begins on Saturday, December 16th.

The Law Library will be closed this weekend, Saturday, December 16-Sunday, December 17, and will be open 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 18-Friday, December 22.

The Law Library will then be closed from Saturday, December 23-Monday, January 1, re-opening at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 2.


Snowy view of Flint Loop from the Second Floor Reading Room

image of winter recess schedule

Full Law Library hours available at

Massachusetts’ Highest Court Cites UB Law Professor Guyora Binder in Narrowing Scope of Felony Murder Rule

Posted on: | by John Beatty |

In a recent opinion, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts relied in part on University at Buffalo School of Law professor Guyora Binder’s 2004 article The Origins of American Felony Murder Rules, 57 Stan. L. Rev. 59, to significantly narrow the scope of the felony murder rule. The case, Commonwealth v. Brown, 81 N.E.3d 1173 (Mass. 2017), concerned the felony murder conviction of a man who supplied a hooded sweatshirt and gun to a friend that he knew intended to commit an armed robbery. Two men were killed in the in the course of that attempted armed robbery.

Under the felony murder rule, if a person dies during the commission of certain dangerous felonies, it is considered a murder regardless of intent. The Massachusetts implementation of the rule removed the jury’s discretion to decide whether such a death was first-degree or second-degree murder.

A unanimous court agreed that, under this version of the rule, the jury verdict was proper, but also that the result was unjust. Consequently, the Court, in the interests of justice, reduced the first-degree murder conviction to second-degree murder and remanded the case to a lower court for sentencing.

A majority of the Court, however, went further. In a concurring opinion authored by Chief Justice Gants, four justices narrowed the scope of the felony murder rule. Relying in part on Professor Binder’s “exhaustive analysis of the origins of the American felony-murder rules,” the Court required that in all future murder trials, all elements of murder must be found before applying the felony murder rule to increase the degree of the crime. In doing so, the Court abolished the theory of constructive malice, requiring that the jury find actual malice under the murder statute.

The Court used Professor Binder’s history of the rule to track the rule’s development in Massachusetts law. The rule began as a “felony aggravator statute” that merely increased the degree of murder whether or not it was premeditated or performed with extreme atrocity or cruelty. Prior to the statute’s adoption, there was scholarly writing on such a rule, but no English or American court had ever convicted a defendant of murder in absence of a finding of all of the elements of murder.

The Court found that the first case in Massachusetts imposing such liability was Commonwealth v. Campbell, 89 Mass. 541 (1863). The Court further found that the opinion in Campbell rested on two principles of law that have been otherwise rejected in the state’s jurisprudence: “vicarious substantive criminal liability for every act committed by a joint venture, and the conclusive presumption of malice from the intent to commit an inherently dangerous felony.” Because the rule “contravened two fundamental principles” of Massachusetts criminal law, the Court removed the constructive murder aspect of the rule, allowing it only to increase a second-degree murder to first-degree where all of the elements of second-degree murder have already been found.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Massachusetts’ Highest Court Cites UB Law Professor Guyora Binder in Narrowing Scope of Felony Murder Rule

Reading/Exam Period Law Library hours

Posted on: | by Nancy Babb |

Is it really almost December? Indeed, it’s true — this Friday is December 1 and the last day of Law School classes for this semester. As classes finish and exams begin, the Law Library will be observing the following schedule:

Friday 12/1:   7:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Reading/Exam Period – December 2-15, 2017

Saturday 12/2:   9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday 12/3:   10:00 a.m. – 12:00 midnight
Monday-Thursday 12/4-12/7:   7:30 a.m. – 12:00 midnight
Friday 12/8:   7:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday 12/9:   9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday 12/10:   10:00 a.m. – 12:00 midnight
Monday-Thursday 12/11-12/14:   7:30 a.m. – 12:00 midnight
Friday 12/15:   7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Law Students in O'Brian Hall Photograph: Douglas Levere

Law Students in O’Brian Hall
Photograph: Douglas Levere

Law Library holiday hours

Posted on: | by Nancy Babb |

The Law Library will be observing the following schedule for Thanksgiving and Fall Recess, November 22-November 26:

Wednesday 11/22:   9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday 11/23 (Thanksgiving):   Closed
Friday-Saturday 11/24-11/25:   Closed
Sunday 11/26:   10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.


The full schedule of Law Library hours is available at The schedule of all University Libraries is at

Heeeeeeeeeelp! Do you need help with research papers?

Posted on: | by Marcia Zubrow |

Now that it is paper writing time, remember that the Law Library reference librarians are available to show you how to do research for seminar and other research papers and projects. We will help you discover the treasure trove of information hidden in databases, books, and on the internet and assist you with search techniques.

Our reference desk hours are:
Monday – Thursday 10 am to 6 pm
Friday 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday 9 am to 3 pm

Also, you can call the reference desk 716-645-2047 to set up an appointment.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Heeeeeeeeeelp! Do you need help with research papers?