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"Suggested Practices" for Federal Judges when Citing Internet Sources in Opinions

From The Third Branch, newsletter of the Federal Courts:

The Judicial Conference has issued a series of "suggested practices" to assist courts in the use of Internet materials in opinions. The recommendations follow a pilot project conducted by circuit librarians who captured and preserved webpages cited in opinions over a six-month period....

In approving those recommendations in March 2009, the Judicial Conference agreed that all Internet materials cited in final opinions be considered for preservation, while each judge should retain the discretion to decide whether the specific cited resource should be captured and preserved....

The guidelines suggest that, if a webpage is cited, chambers staff preserve the citation by downloading a copy of the site's page and filing it as an attachment to the judicial opinion in the Judiciary's Case Management/Electronic Case Files System. The attachment, like the opinion, would be retrievable on a non-fee basis through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system....

The Judicial Conference also recommended that the Judiciary avoid including in final opinions working hyperlinks that lead directly to materials contained within commercial vendor databases to prevent a stated or implied endorsement or preferential treatment. To the extent that a court determines that such hyperlinks are to be used in opinions, it is recommended that an appropriate disclaimer be provided.