“More” might be a bit of a misnomer, but USCOURTS is off and running. This pilot project between the Government Printing Office and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has just launched with opinions from April, 2004 from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida. Free public access with search functionality, and the secure transfer protocol employed by the agencies allows for authentication of the files with digital signatures. Also, once you find the opinion you are looking for, all associated opinions within the same case can be accessed from the opinion’s More Information page.
It’s a nice start, with great promise. Let’s all hope the pilot goes prime time.
Legal decisions are public records, no matter what West and Lexis/Nexis try to sell you. So, why should you care about a court reporting service like Court Listener (link here)? Court Listener’s angle is that it will provide you with “real time” alerts on decisions reported in the 13 federal courts of appeal and Supreme Court. Get a daily report on the decisions that contain your search queries by registering on the site and entering your alert query using boolean connectors in the search box.
Court Listener is a graduate student’s thesis project. From the site:
This site was created by Michael Lissner as part of a masters thesis at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information. Michael was advised by Assistant Professor, Brian Carver. The goal of the site is to create a free and competitive real time alert tool for the U.S. judicial system.
At present, the site has daily information regarding all precedential opinions issued by the 13 federal circuit courts and the Supreme Court of the United States. Each day, we also have the non-precedential opinions from all of the Circuit courts except the D.C. Circuit. This means that by 5:10pm PST, the database will be updated with the opinions of the day, with custom alerts going out shortly thereafter.
The coverage of our corpus for a given court varies, but it is growing on a daily basis. We are working to integrate the documents from other online sites that provide free public access to court documents.
As of today’s date, Court Listener as 166,144 documents in its database. You can also browse recent opinions to see generally what the federal courts have been up to. Not bad for a student project.