With A Little Hoop Jumping, You Can Get Those Texas Opinions Without Paying For Them

Don Cruse at the Supreme Court of Texas Blog responds to the outrage that unpublished memorandum opinions have been made precedential authority but ready access to them has not been provided. All but one of the Courts of Appeals can be searched with an operator in Google: “site:courts.state.tx.us/opinions.” For a specific court, add __rdcoa before “courts”, with the underline being the court’s circuit number. Dallas court opinions can be found at http://www.5thcoa.courts.state.tx.us/search_o.htm. Cruse offers additional advice on how to search Texas Supreme Court opinions, even they are all published and do not pose the same problem as the unreported appellate court opinions. Check out the official website here and Don’s website here. Or simply use the same basic Google trick suggested for the appellate opinions, inserting “supreme” for the specific court and adding “historical” after the last slash instead of “opinions.”

Thanks Don for rising to meet this equal access problem with some excellent advice. Although the system is not perfect, and is a bit cumbersome in its reliance on the less than perfect Google, it does offer some means to reach these resources without having to shell out the big bucks.

Hat tip to Legal Research Plus

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Don’t Mess With Texas, When It Comes to Memorandum Opinions Anyway

It seems Texans are of the “opinion” that one should leave no stone or judicial opinion unturned, even if the opinion is only accessible though Westlaw or Lexis. Erika Wayne at Legal Research Plus tipped me off to a recent change to the Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 47 that discusses the use of unpublished and memorandum judicial opinions. Apparently, in 2003, the Texas legislature barred the use of unpublished legal opinions in civil cases, but authorized the use of memorandum opinions in their place. In 2008, the Legislature took matters one step further by giving the memorandum opinions issued since 2003 full precedential value.
So, what’s the problem you ask? Well, these fully binding, precedential memorandum opinions are only accessible by Westlaw or Lexis. Cha-ching!
Hey, Texas! What’s up with this move to lock the law behind a very expensive toll booth? If the Texas legislature insists that memorandum opinions are binding, then the Texas legislature better figure out a way to open access to them. In an age when information is moving steadily towards free and open source, this short-sighted procedural move seems more than a little backward. I suppose the next move is to require lawyers to ride to court on buckboard.

[Caption]

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Don't Mess With Texas, When It Comes to Memorandum Opinions Anyway

It seems Texans are of the “opinion” that one should leave no stone or judicial opinion unturned, even if the opinion is only accessible though Westlaw or Lexis. Erika Wayne at Legal Research Plus tipped me off to a recent change to the Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 47 that discusses the use of unpublished and memorandum judicial opinions. Apparently, in 2003, the Texas legislature barred the use of unpublished legal opinions in civil cases, but authorized the use of memorandum opinions in their place. In 2008, the Legislature took matters one step further by giving the memorandum opinions issued since 2003 full precedential value.
So, what’s the problem you ask? Well, these fully binding, precedential memorandum opinions are only accessible by Westlaw or Lexis. Cha-ching!
Hey, Texas! What’s up with this move to lock the law behind a very expensive toll booth? If the Texas legislature insists that memorandum opinions are binding, then the Texas legislature better figure out a way to open access to them. In an age when information is moving steadily towards free and open source, this short-sighted procedural move seems more than a little backward. I suppose the next move is to require lawyers to ride to court on buckboard.

[Caption]

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]