Judicial Branch Publications

Judicial Branch Publications Peggy Roebuck Jarrett, guest lecturer http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/judbranch.h tml


Judicial Branch Publications. Peggy Roebuck Jarrett, guest lecturer http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/judbranch.html. Sources of Law. Statutes passed by legislative bodies Regulations promulgated by administrative agencies Case law created by judges Constitutions. Case Law. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Judicial Branch Publications

Page 1: Judicial Branch Publications

Judicial Branch Publications

Peggy Roebuck Jarrett, guest lecturer


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Sources of Law

Statutes passed by legislative bodies Regulations promulgated by

administrative agencies Case law created by judges Constitutions

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Case Law

Created by judges in the course of resolving disputes

The written resolution of the issues The words “case,” “opinion,” and

“decision” are often used interchangeably

Not a jury verdict

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Opinions and the Court System

A generic court system consists of trial courts intermediate appellate courts the appellate court of last resort

Specialized courts Courts of limited jurisdiction

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The Federal Court System

U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals U.S. District Courts Bankruptcy Courts Courts of Special Jurisdiction

Federal Claims, Int’l Trade, Tax, Veterans Claims, Armed Forces

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Publication of Opinions

Only opinions of precedential value are published in reporters Precedent allows similarly situated

people to be treated the same Published v. unpublished

Some courts allow citations to unpublished opinions in briefs

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Publication of Opinions

United States Reports only major reporter in Federal Depository Library Program

Lower federal court and state appellate opinions are commercially published

Some states have official reporters Opinions in commercial reporters are

primary law

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How to Find Case Law

Use Free Law Online to find free sites Use a commercial database, such as

LexisNexis Academic (UW restricted) Use an annotated code Use secondary sources

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Update, Update, Update

Reversed or overruled opinions are not deleted from reporters or databases

Use Keycite or Shepard’s

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Free Sites for Case Finding

Washington State Courts LegalWa.org

U.S. Supreme Court Official site Cornell Legal Information Institute FindLaw GPO just has bulk data from 1937-1975

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Free Sites for Case Finding

U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and States other than Washington Federal and State court websites FindLaw Public Library of Law Google Scholar

U.S. District Courts Google Scholar

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United States Court Opinions collection (USCOURTS)

Collaborative effort between GPO and Admin Office of the US Courts (AOUSC)

Dates back to 2004, but earlier years incomplete


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As of November, 2013: 9 Circuit Courts (75%) 20 District Courts (21%) 34 Bankruptcy Courts (36%) 9th Circuit – yes District/Bankruptcy for Washington - no

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Google Scholar

US Supreme Court cases, 1791-date Federal district, appellate, tax, and

bankruptcy cases, 1923-date State cases, 1950-date Cons: unknown source(s) Pros: it’s Google

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LexisNexis Academic

Federal: all published appellate and district court cases

State: all available appellate court cases

Shepard’s Citations Finding tools: secondary sources and

annotated codes UW Restricted

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Public Access to Court Electronic Records

Case and docket information from Federal courts

Fee-based PACER Service Center

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First Pilot Limited number of libraries Free Suspended early

Second Pilot “Access and Education Program” Libraries train public, for a credit Public users still need account

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Alternatives to PACER

RECAP: Turning PACER Around Firefox extension PACER results go to the RECAP archive Archive is not authenticated (but it’s

free) Bloomberg Law

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Public Access to Law

Many law libraries are cancelling print reporters and digests

How will this affect public? Free Law Online

Good enough? Cases without indexing or editing? Unauthenticated?

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Court Briefs & Oral Arguments

Briefs are written arguments submitted to an appellate court

Larger law libraries may have paper or microfiche

Patrons may need to obtain them directly from the court clerk

Some briefs & oral arguments are online

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Court Briefs & Oral Arguments

Audio of U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments at Oyez

Audio (and some video) of Washington State Supreme Court at TVW

Gallagher Law Library, Briefs & Oral Arguments

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Judicial Branch Business

Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts

Federal Judicial Center Judicial Conference of the U.S. Courts Reports, studies, monographs,

newsletters, and statistics

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US Sentencing Commission

Develops guidelines for sentencing in Federal courts

In 2005 US Supreme Court made guidelines advisory, not mandatory


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Administrative Agency Decisions

Most administrative agencies have a quasi-judicial function

Decide (adjudicate) individual cases arising from the application of their rules and regulations

Few agency decisions are distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program

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Gallagher Law Library

We are located on L1 and L2 (lower level) of William H. Gates Hall. We are open to the public!

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