Answered By: Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: Jan 15, 2018     Views: 147

Shapiro Library offers access to the Nexis Uni database which does give you online access to federal statutes. However, it is not very easy to search for federal statutes by keyword if you do not know the exact text or wording of the statute.  I would recommend you start with a Google search (which has a much more robust and forgiving search engine) to try and find the statute that covers this situation.  You will have to play around with the keywords and it will take time. 

By using the following keywords (“United States Code” AND homicide on federal property) I was able to find out that Title 18 of the code is probably the one I need to look at.  In order to figure out which chapter and section I used Google’s site search to search Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute which has all of the codes on their Website.  I want to search the title 18 codes to see which one talks about the shooting/murder/homicide of federal employees. The search in Google looks like this:

Site:[Website you want to search] [keywords]

Site: federal employee AND homicide

The sixth result in my results list was Part 1 (of Title 18): chapter 51 § 1114 which speaks to this particular situation.  Now that you have the citation that you need, you can go into LexisNexis and get more details about this specific code.

You may find LexisNexis by clicking on the A-Z Database List link from the Library Home page and clicking on the All Subjects drop down menu above the alphabet and selecting Law from the list. 

Below are instructions to do a federal statute search within LexisNexis, which offers an annotated version of the statute which includes notes, history, amendments, secondary sources (cases that cite the statute) and cross references.

  1. Click on Criminal Justice in the Discover Topics area on Nexis Uni's homepage.
  2. Find the Search Statutes & Legislation box.
  3. Click Federal under Which Jurisdiction. 
  4. Enter the search terms. To search for the Title 18 § 1114 statute, type it in like this:  Cite(18 USCS SEC 1114) (use SEC instead of the § symbol) and then click Search.  This will take you right to the statute.

    Screenshot of Federal Statute search

  5. Once you have the statute that you are interested in, please note that Nexis Uni provides an option to see neighboring sections of the statute if you use the About this Document Browse feature to the right of the document.  

If you still are not able to find the federal statute you need after trying these steps, please contact the Reference Desk through chat, at, or 844.684.0456 (toll free), and we can help you brainstorm keywords or offer additional suggestions.

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