Court opinions dating from

court opinions dating from-14
Collections are divided into appellate, district or bankruptcy court opinions and are text-searchable across opinions and across courts. Presently, more than 600,000 opinions dating back to 2004 are available.Opinions from the pilot are already one of the most heavily used collections on FDsys, with millions of retrievals each month.

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While it appears that some states are not addressing these issues systematically, many others are forming committees and proposing initiatives to establish statewide rules and policies regarding electronic access to court records in order to make the information the state provides uniform, consistent, and user friendly.A pilot project giving the public free, text-searchable, online-access to court opinions now is available to all federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts.The Judicial Conference, the policy-making body of the Federal court system, approved national implementation of the project with the Government Printing Office, Federal Digital System (FDsys), which provides free access to publications from all three branches of federal government via the Internet.At the same time, a review of current practices indicates that the state and local courts are engaged in a series of difficult and novel balancing acts.One involves the balance between privacy and accountability. Many states make judicial opinions at the appellate levels freely available online but do not offer online access to trial court proceedings, which generally contain more detailed and sensitive evidence.On the one hand, this movement to post court information online represents a quiet revolution in citizen access and government accountability, part of the growing reality of e-government.Public access to electronic court records provides a convenient way for the public to monitor the judicial system and ensure the fairness and equality of its operations.Some states provide access to both criminal and civil records while others restrict users' access to records that may contain sensitive personal information.And while some states offer free comprehensive access to their court records, many others charge users a range of fees for online access.During three project advisory committee meetings during 2002, the committee agreed to shift the focus from the product as a seeks to outline the issues that local jurisdiction must address in developing their own rules, and provide sample language developed by the project committee or by other jurisdictions.The project does not aim to provide standard implementation and operating guidelines for state and local courts.


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