United States Courts: Judiciary Launches Redesigned PACER Website

United States Courts: Judiciary Launches Redesigned PACER Website. “The Administrative Office of the U.S Courts on June 28 will launch a redesigned informational website for the Judiciary’s electronic court records system, known as PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). The new PACER website includes features that will make it easier for users to learn how to navigate the system, find what they are looking for more quickly, and understand the fee structure for downloading records. The update is also designed to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.”

The Washington Post: Should the public pay a dime for access to court records?

The Washington Post: Should the public pay a dime for access to court records?. “The federal judiciary charges 10 cents per page to pull up court files from its online record repository. The fees can add up quickly, and users must consider whether each click to view a public record is worth the cost. But a lawsuit in court Monday in Washington challenges the government’s paywall to search online for case documents through the service known as PACER, an acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records.”

Politico: The Federal Courts Are Running An Online Scam

Politico: The Federal Courts Are Running An Online Scam. “The U.S. federal court system rakes in about $145 million annually to grant access to records that, by all rights, belong to the public. For such an exorbitant price—it can cost hundreds of dollars a year to keep up with an ongoing criminal case—you might think the courts would at least make it easy to access basic documents. But you’d be wrong. The millions of dollars the courts have reaped in user fees have produced a website unworthy of the least talented of Silicon Valley garage programmers; 18 years since its online birth, PACER remains a byzantine and antiquated online repository of legal information.”

Politico: The Federal Courts Are Running An Online Scam

Politico: The Federal Courts Are Running An Online Scam. “…I’m here to tell you that PACER—Public Access to Court Electronic Records—is a judicially approved scam. The very name is misleading: Limiting the public’s access by charging hefty fees, it has been a scam since it was launched and, barring significant structural changes, will be a scam forever.”

Courthouse News Service: Bill Would Make Online Access to Federal Court Records Free

Courthouse News Service: Bill Would Make Online Access to Federal Court Records Free (YAY!) “House lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would remove online paywalls and make federal court records free to the public. PACER, as the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system is otherwise known, currently charges between 10 cents and $3 for most searches, page views and PDF document downloads.”

New York Times: Attacking a Pay Wall That Hides Public Court Filings

New York Times: Attacking a Pay Wall That Hides Public Court Filings. ” The federal judiciary has built an imposing pay wall around its court filings, charging a preposterous 10 cents a page for electronic access to what are meant to be public records. A pending lawsuit could help tear that wall down.”

Free Law Project: Uploading PACER Dockets and Oral Argument Recordings to the Internet Archive

Free Law Project: Uploading PACER Dockets and Oral Argument Recordings to the Internet Archive. “Part of our mission at Free Law Project is to share this information and to ensure its long-term distribution and preservation. A great way to do that is to give it to a neutral third party so that no matter what happens, the information will always be available. For years, we have been lucky to partner with the Internet Archive for this purpose and today we are pleased to share two pieces of news about how we give them information.”

Free Law Project: Announcing PACER Docket Alerts for Journalists, Lawyers, Researchers, and the Public

Free Law Project: Announcing PACER Docket Alerts for Journalists, Lawyers, Researchers, and the Public. “Today we are thrilled to announce the general availability of PACER Docket Alerts on CourtListener.com. Once enabled, a docket alert will send you an email whenever there is a new filing in a case in PACER.”

Los Angeles Times: Judge orders L.A. Times to alter story about Glendale cop, sparking protest from newspaper

Los Angeles Times: Judge orders L.A. Times to alter story about Glendale cop, sparking protest from newspaper. “A federal judge on Saturday ordered the Los Angeles Times to remove information from an article that described a plea agreement between prosecutors and a Glendale police detective accused of working with the Mexican Mafia, a move the newspaper decried as highly unusual and unconstitutional. The agreement was supposed to have been filed under seal, but it was mistakenly made available on PACER, a public online database for federal court documents.”

National Law Journal: ‘PACER Should Be Free,’ Tech Scholar Argues in New Paper

National Law Journal: ‘PACER Should Be Free,’ Tech Scholar Argues in New Paper. “The federal judiciary’s fee-based access to its public online database, known as PACER, is not just anachronistic and counter to history but harms the structural integrity of the modern judiciary, a new research article claims. The article— ‘The Price of Ignorance: The Constitutional Cost of Fees for Access to Electronic Public Court Records’ —contends the judiciary’s fee structure makes public records ‘practically inaccessible’ for many people and inhibits constitutionally protected activities. ‘PACER should be free,’ the article, posted on Aug. 29, concludes.”

Free Law Project: We Have Every Free PACER Opinion on CourtListener.com

Free Law Project: We Have Every Free PACER Opinion on CourtListener.com. “At Free Law Project, we have gathered millions of court documents over the years, but it’s with distinct pride that we announce that we have now completed our biggest crawl ever. After nearly a year of work, and with support from the U.S. Department of Labor and Georgia State University, we have collected every free written order and opinion that is available in PACER. To accomplish this we used PACER’s ‘Written Opinion Report,’ which provides many opinions for free.”

The Register: US court system bug opened hole for hackers to scoop up legal docs for free on victims’ dime

The Register: US court system bug opened hole for hackers to scoop up legal docs for free on victims’ dime. “The Free Law Project says the cross-site forgery flaw could have allowed an attacker to set up a website that would be able to harvest the PACER account credentials of anyone who visited. This information could be used to download PDFs, charging the victims cash in the process.”

Internet Archive Offers to Host PACER Data

Heh. The Internet Archive is offering to host PACER data. “On Tuesday, February 14, the U.S. Congress will hold the first hearings in over a decade examining the operation of the PACER system. The hearing will be before the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives. The Internet Archive was pleased to accept the committee’s invitation to submit a statement for the record and we have submitted the following, which includes an offer to host the PACER data now and forever to make the works of our federal courts more readily available to inform the citizenry and to further the effective and fair administration of justice.”

Techdirt: With So Much Public Interest In Our Judicial System, It’s Time To Free Up Access To Court Documents

Techdirt: With So Much Public Interest In Our Judicial System, It’s Time To Free Up Access To Court Documents . “Like hundreds of thousands of Americans, I am closely following the “airport cases” around the country. In order to keep abreast of the latest developments in one of the fastest-moving cases, Washington v. Trump, I built a Twitter bot that scrapes the public docket mirror hosted by the Ninth Circuit and tweets about new documents and links as soon as they’re added. This case leads a legal push that has attracted incredible amounts of public attention.”

PACER Lawsuit Is Now a Class Action Lawsuit

The PACER lawsuit is now a class action lawsuit. “U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle said in an opinion she will allow anyone who paid so-called PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) fees between April 2010 and April 2016 to be part of the class in the suit, which alleges that the government is violating a 2002 law that says fees for using the system should not exceed the costs to operate it.”