Last night while grading student assignments for my legal research classes, I encountered an anomaly in the text of California Jurisprudence 3d. I'd asked students to locate a secondary source discussing California's criminal charge of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a Minor. (Yes, I used the Roman Polanski case for my fact pattern.) For those who chose to use Cal. Jur., the experience differed depending on whether they used Lexis or Westlaw.
First, the section numbers don't match. In Westlaw, the general discussion of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse (which falls hierarchically at Criminal Law: Crimes Against the Person -> X. Unlawful Sexual Intercourse -> A. In General) begins at 18 Cal. Jur. 3d Criminal Law: Crimes Against the Person § 595. In Lexis, however, this same discussion begins at § 487 (found in the same hierarchical location). In the Westlaw version, there is a link to something called a "Correlation Table" which shows a column of section numbers aligned with another column of section numbers. Sure enough, in this table § 487 in the left column correlates with § 595 in the right column. Unfortunately, the table offers no explanation as to what this correlation is. I finally tracked down the explanation in the print edition of Cal. Jur., which reads as follows:
This table shows where the subject matter in the various sections of the former edition of California Jurisprudence 3d is set forth in this revised volume. This table enables the user to translate references found in the prior edition and other legal publications into references to this edition.
Thus, it appears Lexis's version of Cal. Jur. still uses the section numbers found in the former edition and have not been updated to reflect the numbering scheme in the revised volumes.
This is not, however, the only problem. The second problem with using Cal. Jur. in Lexis and Westlaw is that the text itself doesn't match. Take, for example, the first paragraph of § 595/487. In both Lexis and Westlaw, the first two sentences are identical:
The Penal Code defines unlawful sexual intercourse as an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person who is not the spouse of the perpetrator if the person is a minor. The provision further defines a "minor" as a person under the age of 18 years, and an "adult" as a person who is at least 18 years of age.
Both versions place footnote 1 after the second sentence. In Westlaw, the paragraph concludes with this sentence:
Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor is a general intent offense.
Footnote 2, citing a 2009 California Court of Appeals case, appears here in Westlaw. Lexis, on the other hand, includes neither the sentence about general intent nor the footnote containing a citation to a 2009 case. Instead, Lexis continues the first paragraph with:
This offense was formerly incorporated in the section of the Penal Code defining rape, during which time it was often referred to by the courts as statutory rape.
In Westlaw, this sentence is in the second, not first, paragraph. The discrepancies continue from there, with sentences arranged in a different order depending on which system you consult. Further, Westlaw's version of the section has 13 footnotes, while Lexis's only has 10.
I'm not sure what the problem is at this point. Lexis includes a copyright notice at the top of its § 487 that reads "Copyright © 2009 West Group," and its Source Information page for Cal. Jur. states the following:
UPDATE-SCHEDULE: Within 1 day of publication
All of this suggests that the Lexis version should be up to date. Did the updates simply slip through the cracks and not make it into the system? Or did West fail to submit its updated text to Lexis? Or is it something else?
I sent an email to Lexis Librarian Relations earlier today explaining the problem, so hopefully there will some sort of explanation or resolution soon.
Who says grading can't be fun?