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Free Access to Court Records Offered at 16 Libraries
A joint pilot project of the Administrative Office and the Government Printing
Office (GPO) has made free public access to federal court records available at
16 libraries in 14 states.
The project offers free access to the federal
Judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at 16
participating federal depository libraries. PACER (www.pacer.uscourts.gov)
allows users to obtain case file documents, listings of all case parties,
judgments, and other information from district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts
online, with the data immediately available for printing or
PACER normally carries an eight-cents-per-page fee, which is
used to fund the system’s costs. That fee will be waived for all users, even
those who already have PACER accounts, when the system is accessed from the 16
Each of the participating libraries has agreed to promote the
PACER service, provide users with a three-question PACER survey, report PACER
activities to the GPO every two months, and provide access only from computers
within the library and its branches. The libraries also have agreed to maintain
login and password security.
The project, which will last up to two
years, is part of the Judiciary’s continuing effort to expand public access to
court records by discovering if a segment of the public desires access to
information contained in the PACER system but is unlikely to go to a courthouse
or become a PACER user.
The federal depository libraries participating in
the pilot are: Alaska State Court Law Library, AK; Lee College, TX; 7th Circuit
Court of Appeals Library, IL; Rutgers Law Library, NJ; San Bernadino County Law
Library, CA; State Library of Ohio, OH; University of Michigan School of Law,
MI; Fordham Law School, NY; Sacramento County Public Law Library, CA; Wayne
State University, MI; University of Tennessee College of Law, TN; Rogers State
University, OK; Nova Southeastern University Law Library, FL; Portland Public
Library, ME; New Mexico Supreme Court Law Library, NM; and Northern Kentucky