Accessing PACER At No Cost
According to a government documents listserv email from Judith C. Russell, Superintendent of Documents and Managing Director at the U.S. Government Printing Office, the Judiciary is considering a one year pilot project to assess the effect of offering free public access to PACER through the Federal Depository Library Program. (What's PACER?)
Currently, PACER is available at no cost in Federal courthouses by visiting the office of the clerk of courts. But note that printing costs may be high. For example, the cost for printing in the Western District of WI Clerk of Courts office is 50 cents/page. However, anyone can request their own PACER account and the service is "free" in that no billing is done until $10.00 in charges are generated.
According to Marc Weinberger of the U.S. Courts Library, Western District of WI, individual PACER account applications can be obtained a couple of ways: 1) from the PACER Service Center [800-676-6856]; 2) via the website http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/ There is an instant registration option (with a valid email address and credit card number) or a regular account with billing can be set up and it takes about a week to get a confirmation.