Monday, 24th May 2010
Resource of the Week -- Legal Research: New PACER Web Site Now Online, A Completely New Look
Resource of the Week -- New PACER Web Site Now Online, A Completely New Look
By Gary Price, Founder and Senior Editor
Here's one to share with the others you know who use PACER.
We're going to provide a more in-depth look after all of us have some time to "look and use" the new site but from the moment the page appears on your screen you'll notice that it looks very different and, in our opinion, much better. Here's a cached version of the page before the change.
Here are a few of the things you'll notice as soon as the page loads.
1. Use of color
2. At the top of the page
Near the of the page (below the maroon line), seven drop down menus including links to the Registration Page (Three types are available). "Find a Case" locator, "E-File," Quick Links (FAQ, account management, individual links to court PACER sites, etc.).
3. The homepage contains a number of links, including:
- Direct links to Frequently Used Resources (in blue box on the left)
- Direct Link to the PACER Case Locator (in another box, to the right of the Frequently Used Resources). At this point you need to log-in to access the court locator.
4. Along the right side (also in a blue box), a listing of new and updated resources on the site, and a set of questions/answers, including:
- Who and How Can Someone Access Pacer?
- Is All Data Available Available to the Public?
- How Much Does Pacer Cost?
Also, the page contains links to user manuals, case codes, popular forms, and statistics.
By the way, the cost is still $.08 per page with a cap of $2.40. The cap does not apply to name searches, reports that are not case-specific, and transcripts of federal court proceedings.
If you're only an occasional user of PACER note the following:
By Judicial Conference policy, if your usage does not exceed $10 in a quarter, fees for that quarter are waived, effectively making the service free for most users.
Of course, services like Recap and Justia can provide access to a growing list of documents. And there are other issues (at least to PACER) about using the RECAP service but that's another story for another post.
Finally -- information on two services -- one just officially released -- that we learned about or discovered via the new PACER web site.
+ Digital Audio Recording Project
Digital audio recordings are now available to the public via internet access to the PACER system...Prior to the pilot [it ran for two years], access was only possible by obtaining a CD recording from a court clerks office for $26. The new digital files cost $2.40.
1) Presiding judge determines if audio will be available via PACER
2) Audio used in many bankruptcy and district courts. Magistrates are the largest group of users.
The following seven courts provide access to audio files through the PACER system: the U.S. District Courts in Nebraska and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts in the Eastern District of North Carolina, Northern District of Alabama, Southern District of New York, Rhode Island and Maine.
Finally, this page provides telephone numbers to automated case info from the U.S. Supreme Court (U.S. Supreme Court), three Appellate Courts (AVIS), and numerous Bankruptcy Courts (VCIS).
Source: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, PACER Service Center
Shirl's note: I use PACER frequently in The Day Job. After spending a little time with it...initial impression -- old wine in new bottles. Of course, my use of the PACER system has always been pretty uncomplicated -- checking to see if someone has filed for bankruptcy, if a civil suit's been filed, if someone's been indicted, and then pulling the relevant documents. If this is how you generally use PACER, you'll not find any significant difference beyond the cosmetic overlay and the access to the additional/new information detailed above. The individual court websites -- at least the ones I've checked -- look and function the same.