Today I have several topics of interest, from a new rapid DNA crime-scene analysis technique, to a free pdf download of a 9-1-1 textbook (free downloads end May 6, 2014), to an excerpt from A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers: From Crimes to Courtrooms.

Scientists Develop Inexpensive DNA Sensors

Image credit: Madeleine Price Ball

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed an exceptionally sensitive means for detecting specific sequences of DNA that is cheaper and faster than other DNA analyses currently in use. Plus, it doesn’t require new, expensive equipment to use — just a fluorimeter.

With this new means, all scientists have to do to test whether two pieces of DNA are identical is mix the samples, some dye and polymer in a test tube, turn on the light, and the results shine the answer.

To read the full article at Forensic Magazine, click here.

A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers – Available June 2014

A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers: Players in the Courtroom – Judges

My better half, Colleen Collins, and I just received the cover for our upcoming book A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers: From Crimes to Courtrooms – see cover on right side of this post. Thanks to the talented Kim Killion for the cover design.

Below is an excerpt from the book about players in the courtroom.



The judge is the central figure in the courtroom, which is why he or she is seated higher than everyone else.

In the state courts, where most justice is meted out, the judge is a lawyer — usually a politically astute lawyer — who is either elected or appointed by the governor. Judges are rarely unbiased (no rule of law ever said that they have to be unbiased) and their assigned role is to apply rules of law and procedure. They preside over jury trials and increasingly, they are interested in making the trial experience as fair for jurors as it is for litigants.

Judges make legal decisions based on legal principles. The law that judges use is found in statutes, or in books of rules or procedure, or it is found in a body of law called common law that is the body of legal traditions and principles that has been passed from judge to judge over the last thousand years. Think common law marriage, which is a rule judges created many years ago that deems if two people who hold themselves out as married to the public, and who file official documents as a married couple, are indeed married.

Common law was a part of the legal world for hundreds of years before someone decided to pass a law about it. Judges apply the law, and juries determine whether or not the facts have been proven to them and  support the claims brought in a civil or criminal lawsuit.

Judges are often portrayed in fiction as stiff and, well, rather boring. But judges are people, and they bring their unique personalities to their jobs like anyone else, offering potentially entertaining characters in your stories. One recent TV show, The Good Wife, has mined the peculiarities of judges to great effect.

To read the full article, click here.

Automatically Capitalize Titles

Unsure how to capitalize a title? Worry no more. Plug your title into this free online tool, which automatically corrects your title as you type it in. To use, click here.

 Have a great weekend, Shaun

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Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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