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Maybe Millions of Court Records no longer offered online

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posted on Aug, 27 2014 @ 05:15 PM
There may be some who feel this is a bit of irrelevant news to them... no effect, no impact.

However, one of those things that rang true about our technocratic legal interface with the government has changed rather significantly.

You see, once upon a time we as a nation could rest assured that, generally speaking, the entire body of rulings and cases which define the legal landscape of the nation (by demonstrating the rationale behind precedent law) was 100% the property of the people. They were intended to allow every citizen potentially research their legal equality.

You see... we could always access the laws of the land, but something changed... and now we are more the land of laws... and you will be subject to them, even if you can't research them.

Part of what tax payers pay is for the "service" of maintaining this access, so ANYONE can search old decisions, and study case law. It wasn't "for" the lawyers, it was for the people... apparently a Court of Appeals spokesperson sent an email that 'declared' the following "change"

Court dockets and documents at the US Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 7th, 11th, and Federal Circuits, as well as the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California are being excluded from the accessible database ...

Why? Because they changed their database system and those other courts on-line databases (all working) were not compatible with their new toy called "PACER".

Of the exclusion the following was said;

"The dockets and documents in these cases can be obtained directly from the relevant court," said Redmond. "All open cases, as well as any new filings, will continue to be available on PACER."

If you're wondering if "obtained directly" means "obtained in person," the answer is yes.

Source: (

Now, to be fair... it's not all records... only the older cases....

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit Cases filed prior to January 1, 2010
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit Cases filed prior to January 1, 2008
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Cases filed prior to January 1, 2010
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Cases filed prior to March 1, 2012
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California Cases filed prior to May 1, 2001
ref: (

That's New York, Vermont, and Connecticut, for the 2nd Circuit; Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana for the 7th Circuit; and Georgia, Alabama, and Florida for the 4th Circuit... then include the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (patents - especially "foreign" claims) ... to that add for one of the nations most robustly populated Bankruptcy Courts - California... (I break it down just in case anyone prefers it specified that this affects a whole lot of courts... as opposed to the idea offered that it is but a mere inconvenience for a few.)

The second circuit seems to be structured as it is since 1866, as has the 7th; the 11th structure is the newcomer - only separated into existence in 2004 (they used to be the 5th).

Ultimately I suspect the clerks could count the number of cases in the collective excluded group in the millions... that's millions of cases that now can no longer be accessed electronically (something tax payers already paid for) ... but not since they "upgraded" their database system (to track and collect data on inquiries and inquirers, I'm certain.)

Rather than lament over the lost data... now available if you 'show up' to scour the records (although NY alleges to be willing to entertain e-mail requests - but I would like to see that work it in action)

How much "law" is being removed from easy access... the decisions and arguments - the judicial commentaries and rationale, all available to anyone who lives close enough.... look for opportunists to start a business service on the "public records" (nothing new under the sun).

By the way...about the "US Court of Appeals" we should know that....

"The 94 U.S. judicial districts are organized into 12 regional circuits, each of which has a United States court of appeals. A court of appeals hears appeals from the district courts located within its circuit, as well as appeals from decisions of federal administrative agencies.

In addition, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals in specialized cases, such as those involving patent laws and cases decided by the Court of International Trade and the Court of Federal Claims."

ref: (

Thanks for reading!

edit on 27-8-2014 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)

edit on 28-8-2014 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 27 2014 @ 05:43 PM
The 'system' doesn't even speak properly to itself. Maybe they should all be upgraded so you get the same response in every department that looks into something.

posted on Aug, 27 2014 @ 06:34 PM
a reply to: Maxmars

That's just the federal courts. The same trend of making online state court information unavailable to the public has gotten worse each year under the guise of consumer identity theft protection.

When most courts first made their records available online 10 or 15 years ago, they upped the fees for physical copies. Now you can pay as much as $65-$100 for a single case record and have no online option.

posted on Aug, 27 2014 @ 06:46 PM
a reply to: loam
Those online options are great when you think someone's a creep. You can go online and see evidence, they're creeps STAY AWAY!!

Best thing ever!

posted on Aug, 27 2014 @ 07:22 PM
What mostly concerns me is the idea that we don't have access to a huge collection of important information. Of course, that's assuming you place a high value on access to learn how our laws come to be applied in real life.

It sort of irks me that those of the legal education professionals won't be affected by this, since part of their mercenary fees include their costly subscription to arcane data systems like Lexis/Nexus. You can be certain that attorneys (or even their slave labor paralegals) won't be lining up to do their research at the clerks office.

This is one small step towards solidifying the division between those who can practice law, and those who can only be subjects of it.

posted on Aug, 27 2014 @ 08:31 PM
a reply to: Maxmars

That division has already well taken place.

Pro se is nearly dead.

Now one needs legal representation to accomplish slmost anything that is meaningful. It's just getting worse.

posted on Aug, 28 2014 @ 01:56 AM
a reply to: Iamthatbish

Not cool. If someone has done their time and paid their debt for something in the past, it should be no one's business. Some might say that you're the creep for checking up on people like that.

edit on 8/28/2014 by ItCameFromOuterSpace because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 28 2014 @ 02:07 AM
I don't suppose any of this might have anything to do with those scam artists that redistribute all these cases to their own site with an option to pay to have such material "removed from public view"?

There seem to be opportunists lurking all over information of that's disgusting.

I had two minor incidents in my youth that were blown out of proportion (both cases dropped) and my name still comes up on these "mugshots" and second,third and fourth party "court records" sites.

I'm all for Freedom of Information and so forth, but being subtly blackmailed isn't my idea of a good time...or justice.

posted on Aug, 28 2014 @ 03:06 AM
Court records are not simply "criminal" records. It's not like the DOJ files which are replete with such things as "priors" etc. These court cases are the very things that define what the "law" is in actual effect. They are a transcript of the proceedings by which the law is made purposeful.

A matter of guilt or innocence can be included in the transcript, but the key is that the deliberations of the lawyers, the admission of evidence, and the exact meaning of the judges ruling are also found there. Without access to this information it is possible to lose a case... ask a lawyer to try a case WITHOUT it... I suspect few would agree.

posted on Aug, 28 2014 @ 05:02 AM
Misuse and misappropriation in the online landscape still remains.

In a day and age when anyone can copy/cut/paste and build a revenue based website - when hacker groups dominate in "doxing" and public harassment from said information - what assurance do we have that third parties won't manipulate original legal documents by proxy for personal profit or gain?

I know it's a terrible inconvenience for those who have legitimate interest in the subject - especially for the housebound, older and honest persons in search of an alternative to costly lawyers and so forth - but in light of the new wave of technological sociopathology that seems to be gaining in traction with many, isn't it better to leave such important documents safe in books and more traditional venues such as guarded libraries and courthouses as opposed to leaving the online door open to those who would willfully abuse the public interests "just for the lulz"?

edit on 8/28/14 by GENERAL EYES because: formatting/clarity

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