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Criminal Justice & Sociology (Penn State Berks)

Welcome to the library guide for criminal justice and sociology students at Penn State Berks!

Laws and Court Cases

Scales of justiceThere are three basic types of laws: statutes, regulations, and court cases (case law). 

Here are some databases with U.S. and PA laws and cases. 

For citation examples, please see A Brief Guide to Legal Citations in APA Style.




Statutes are primary legal sources.  Statutes are laws enacted by Congress or the state legislatures.  A collection of statutes is sometimes referred to as a code.

Federal Statutes

screen shot of the 'search by keyword or citation' box in

State Statutes


Administrative regulations are primary legal sources.  Administrative regulations are laws created by an executive branch agency or department such as the EPA, ATF, FCC, or FAA.

Court Cases

Court cases (case law) are primary legal sources.  Case laws are generated by the application of general laws to specific court cases. 

button that has the text 'Look up a  Legal Case" on the top line and "Federal and state cases." on the bottom line

>Type in the parties to the case, or type in your topic to find cases on that topic.  Click "Go"

>Please scroll through the list.  Please note that some of the items you find may be petitions filed after the case. You can keep clicking through the items until you find the actual transcript of the case.


Power Search Tip: If you are not able to find the case, try Googling your case and identifying the citation.  Then, use the citation feature under "Look Up A Legal Case" in LexisNexis to try to pinpoint the case.

Law Reviews

Law reviews are secondary legal sources. They are scholarly legal journal articles that analyze the law.

Try searching the resources below for law reviews:

CJ Videos

video-icon by Farmeral


 Instruments (surveys, tests, quizzes) can be hard to find because they are often not included in CJ articles and books.  You can start by searching in  PsycTests.  You can also search in CJ article databases with keywords like instrument, survey, test, questionnaire, inventory.

monitor showing a sample survey


bar graph with different colors and ascending in height left to right

Power Search Tips: You can also search for data in article databases by typing in keywords like statistics, rate, frequency, quantitative.