Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

The Idea's Good, but No, Thanks

Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

The Idea's Good, but No, Thanks

Article excerpt

While a U.S. Judicial Conference subcommittee likes the concept of a centrally maintained, publicly accessible database of court opinions, it doesn't have the answers to what it regards as some critical questions, and it does not favor the federal courts adopting the electronic citation system recommended by the American Bar Association. As an alternative, the subcommittee recommended that the conference's Committee on Automation and Technology be authorized to explore the answers to the questions and formulate a plan, and this recommendation was adopted by the Judicial Conference at its September meeting.

The ABA-recommended system would require courts to number the paragraphs in their decisions. Each decision would be given a distinctive designation consisting of the year of publication, the identity of the court, and a sequential number assigned to the decision. Pinpoint citations would be made to a numbered paragraph, rather than to a numbered page in a volume of reports, as at present. Until the electronic publication of decisions becomes "generally available to and commonly relied upon by courts and lawyers," the ABA recommendation states, courts still would require citation to "commonly used printed case reports. …

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