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
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.
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
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
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."
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)