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Citation Primer. 5 basic parts to a case citation: Parties Volume Reporter Page Year In addition, there are other parts for some cases from some courts. Breaking out a cite: US Supreme Court. Rothgery v. Gillespie County, Texas, 128 S.Ct. 2578 (2008)

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Citation Primer

  • 5 basic parts to a case citation:

    • Parties

    • Volume

    • Reporter

    • Page

    • Year

  • In addition, there are other parts for some cases from some courts


Breaking out a cite us supreme court l.jpg
Breaking out a cite: US Supreme Court

Rothgery v. Gillespie County, Texas, 128 S.Ct. 2578 (2008)

_____________________________ ___ ____ ____ ______

Parties Vol# Rep. Page# year

This is a cite for a Supreme Court (US) case. Alternative cite forms are:

Smith v. Jones, 401 U.S. 111 (1989).

For Supreme Court (US) cases, use either the U.S. cite (preferred) or the S.Ct. cite (if no U.S. cite is available).


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Breaking out a cite: US Court of Appeals

Mize v. Hall, 532 F.3d 1184 (11th Cir. 2006)

__________ __ __ __ ____ _______ ____

Parties vol. # Rep. Ed. Page # Circuit Year

Notes:

  • There are three editions of court of appeals reporters: F., F.2d, F.3d Always put the edition in your citation!

  • Not all court of appeals citations are officially published. When there is no F.3d (or F. or F.2d) citation, you may use the U.S. App. LEXIS. Do not use the lexis cite unless there is no F.3d (etc) cite.


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Breaking out a cite: US District Court

Osorio v. Secretary, Department of Corrections, 558 F.Supp. 2d 1233 (M.D. Fla. 2008)

_______________________________________ ___ _____ ___ ____ ________ ____

Parties Vol. Rep. Ed. Page Dist & State Year

Notes:

  • There are more district court cases that are not officially published, if there is no F.Supp. Citation, you may use the U.S. Dist. LEXIS.

  • There are two editions of F.Supp. (F.Supp. & F.Supp.2d), make sure you put the edition number in your citation.

  • The information about the District and State is usually found under the case title. It will say something like “United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division” This is shortened to M.D. (for middle district) or N.D. etc. There is no need to put the Tampa Division reference.


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Breaking out a cite: State Supreme Court

James v. Florida, 974 So.2d 365 (Fla. 2008)

____________ ___ __ __ ___ __ ___

Parties Vol. Rep. Ed. Page State Year

Notes:

  • If there is no So.2d cite, you may use the Fla. LEXIS cite.

  • Always put the edition in your cite.

  • Florida uses a regional (Southern, abbreviated So.) reporter. Some states use a state reporter (i. e. 245 Ill. 156 (1967). Where the state uses a regional reporter, you should put the State reference in with the year).


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Breaking out a cite: State Appellate Court

Harris v. Florida, 2008 Fla. App. LEXIS 1872 (2d Dist. 2008)

_____________ ____ _____________ ____ ______ ____

Parties Year = vol. Reporter Page Dist. Year

Many state appellate court opinions are not printed in official reporters. Use the Lexis format unless there is a citation form that appears to its left at the top of the case.

In the rare case that you see a non-Lexis cite for a state appellate court, it would be like this:

Martelus v. Florida, 979 So. 2d 1137 (Fla. App. 2008).

The “Fla. App.” reference is necessary to indicate what court and what level of court decided the case (compare the cite form for a Fla. Supreme Court decision).


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Reading case info quickly, Part I

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, versus MICHAEL EDWARD PAIR, Defendant-Appellant. No. 06-13064 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 11577

This tells you

  • The case name (US v. Pair),

  • Who filled the appeal (the appellant is the party who has brought the appeal),

  • The official court number (No. 06-13064, usually unnecessary unless you want to go to the court to read the file),

  • The court that heard the appeal (US Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit), and

  • The cite, which in this case is the unofficial LEXIS cite.


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Reading case info quickly, Part II

BERTHA JACKSON, Petitioner, vs. STATE OF FLORIDA, Respondent. No. SC07-659 SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA 983 So. 2d 562; 2008 Fla. LEXIS 938; 33 Fla. L. Weekly S 357 May 29, 2008, Decided

Again, note how this tells us who was involved, what court heard the case, who brought the case (petitioner=appellant), where the case was published, and when.


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