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January 29, 2010

Judge Tunheim in Defense of PACER

U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim has written a thoughtful piece about PACER for The National Law Journal. Tunheim has been closely involved with PACER as longtime member and chair of the Judicial Conference's Court Admini­stration and Case Management Committee.

In the article, the judge responds to recent questions and criticism's about PACER's fee structure, functionality and privacy protections. Although I encourage you to read the full article, his conclusion offers a summary of his views:

The infrastructure to provide a secure network for all federal court documents is costly. Those costs are borne by PACER's users, not by all taxpayers. Without a stable revenue base there would be no system, as the countless failed attempts to offer public access in other court systems have demonstrated. The bottom line is that, although PACER can and will improve, it already is a safe and vibrant system that makes federal court documents the most readily available in the world.

Hat tip to my law library colleague, Marc Weinberger of the U.S. Courts Library Western District of Wisconsin.

More Documents Now Available on FDsys

FDsys.gov, the Government Printing Office's replacement for the aging GPO Access website, continues to grow. It now covers the following:

According to a recent article in LLRX, migration is now expected to be complete in April 2010 with a full switchover to FDsys in Summer 2010. See the article for more info, as well as some advanced search tips.

January 28, 2010

Marquette Law Review Available Online from Vol 1 to Present

From Bev Butula's Wisconsin Law Journal blog:

The Marquette Law Review, in full text, is available online from its inception in 1916. The researcher is able to browse by volume or conduct a keyword search. There is a nice summary of the database available on the Marquette Faculty Blog.

There is also an RSS option for researchers to be notified of "newly published" articles "tailored to your interests."

RIP PreCYdent

According to Law Librarian Blog, PreCYdent - one of the free online legal search services - is no longer available. Apparently it folded due to lack of funds.

BJS Launches Redesigned Website

From the BJS Email News service:

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) website has been redesigned and is now available at: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov. Many new features and tools have been added, and the site's content has been completely reorganized to allow users to quickly find the information they're seeking. New features include enhanced search capabilities, prominent placement of new products and announcements on the homepage, RSS feeds, and more. Tutorials are available to help users become familiar with the new site and its features.

Thanks to my colleague, Bill Ebbott, for passing this on to me.

January 21, 2010

Butler Renominated for Western District Seat

The White House announced yesterday that it had renominated former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler for United Stated District Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin.

January 20, 2010

Citer Looks for Legal Citations in Web Pages and Points to Content

Citer is a new tool from the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute that looks for legal citations in ordinary web pages and points to a free, full-text version of the cited source. The concept is very similar to Jureeka, but Citer works in multiple browsers including IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera. Jureeka is only available for Firefox and Chrome.

With Citer, you select an area of text on a web site that contains the cite you would like to look up, click a button in the browser bookmark linkbar, and Citer will attempt to transfer you to a page containing the content.

Jureeka is a little different in that it actually turns the citation into a live link which you simply click on to take you to a page containing the content.

Currently Citer covers the follow citation formats: US Code, US Supreme Court and Circuit court opinions, CFR and Federal Register, Statutes at Large, and federal public laws. They are working to expand it to state courts and some law reviews.

Jureeka's coverage is broader, covering selected federal, state and international sources, as well as some law reviews. See their spreadsheet for complete coverage.

Of the two, I prefer Jureeka - it's less cumbersome and has better coverage (at least for now). But, if you don't use Firefox or Chrome, then Jureeka is not an option for you. Citer is certainly a very good alternative.

Thanks to my law librarian colleague, Bev Butula, for the tip.

Assembly Passes Ban on Texting while Driving

From the Wisconsin State Journal:

The Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill Tuesday to prohibit texting while driving, and the Senate is expected to take up and pass that version of the bill.

Gov. Jim Doyle has said he would sign a ban passed by the Legislature.... Penalties could be up to $400 for first offenses, and $200 to $800 for second or subsequent offenses.

See also the article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Source: The Wheeler Report
Photo: Flickr

January 8, 2010

Wisconsin's Electronics Recycling Law Now in Effect

Wisconsin's electronics recycling legislation, signed last October, went into effect on January 1st of this year. The law, Act 50, creates an electronics recycling program for certain devices used by Wisconsin households and K-12 public schools.

From the Wisconsin DNR's E-Cycle Wisconsin website:

Under the law, manufacturers of covered electronic devices (CEDs) sold to Wisconsin households and K-12 public schools must register and report annually to the DNR. Electronics collectors and recyclers who wish to participate under the program and collect and recycle electronics on behalf of a manufacturer must also register and report annually.
Source: WisBar InsideTrack

January 4, 2010

WSLL Raises Document Delivery Fees

As of the new year, the Wisconsin State Law Library changed their document delivery fees. From WSLL @ Your Service:

For well over 10 years our minimum charge for delivery by fax, mail or email had been $3.00 for anything up to 4 pages. The new minimum charge of $15.00 covers delivery (by email, fax or mail) of up to 20 pages of material from print-based sources, or email delivery of any one document that's already in digital format, regardless of the number of pages. Print-based documents longer than 20 pages are billed at 75 cents per page. These fees are all subject to sales tax where applicable.

For a list of other libraries and organizations offering document delivery, including the UW Law Library, see our Guide to Wisconsin Legal Information Sources.