Magazine article Information Management

U.S. to Shred Millions of Court Records

Magazine article Information Management

U.S. to Shred Millions of Court Records

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

About 10 million bankruptcy case files and several million district court files dating from 1970 to 1995 will be shredded, pounded to pulp, and recycled, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has announced.

According to the Associated Press (AP), U.S. officials said they are destroying the millions of federal court records to save on storage costs, but those who rely on the files--private detectives, lawyers, and historians--are incensed.

Federal archivists said they have spent years talking to legal scholars, historians, and others about which files to purge after learning that sorting and digitizing just the bankruptcy cases would cost tens of millions of dollars, the AP reported. None of the civil or criminal case files scheduled to be destroyed went to trial, and docket sheets that list basic information, such as names of defendants and plaintiffs, will be saved from each case.

NARA said thousands of files designated as historically significant will be kept in storage, including all civil rights and government corruption files, regardless of whether they went to trial. …

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