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Finding Case Law. Tina S. Ching Reference Librarian. State Courts. Example of State Court Structure – Arizona Courts. Federal Courts. Example of Federal Court Structure – A U.S. Supreme Court Case. Specialized Federal Courts. U.S. Court of Appeals For the Federal Circuit

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Finding case law l.jpg

Finding Case Law

Tina S. Ching

Reference Librarian


State courts l.jpg
State Courts

Example of State Court Structure – Arizona Courts


Federal courts l.jpg
Federal Courts

Example of Federal Court Structure – A U.S. Supreme Court Case


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Specialized Federal Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals For the Federal Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

  • U.S. Court of International Trade

  • U.S. Tax Court



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The Evolution of an Opinion

United States Supreme Court

Remember:

Print Rules!

Released immediately after case announced

In a few months, the United States Reports preliminary print is released

Released within a few hours of the slip opinion


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Where Opinions Can Be Found

  • In Print

  • Electronic

    • Paid Databases

    • Court Web Sites

    • Free Internet Resources

    • CD-ROM

    • Fax

  • Microfilm/Microfiche


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Paid Databases

  • Full text

  • Boolean Searching

    • Results are only as good as the search you designed

    • Just because you get a 1000 results, doesn’t mean you entered a good search

    • Take WL and LX trainings

  • Natural Language Searching

    • Try it!


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“And” and “Or”

Proximity connectors /# /p /s

Root Expander !

Universal Character *

Field Restrictions

Date restrictions

Synonyms

Misspellings

Beware of % or “But Not” or “And Not”

May have different features “atleast10(dog)”

Connectors can be different

Quick Tips for Boolean Searching


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Court Web Sites

www.apltwo.ct.state.az.us/ODSPlus/recentdecisions.cfm

www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/opinions.html

www.cofad1.state.az.us/opinionfiles/opidx.htm

www.supreme.state.az.us/opinion

www.azd.uscourts.gov

www.ca9.uscourts.gov


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Other Free Internet Resources

www.findlaw.com/casecode/

www.law.cornell.edu/

www.lexisone.com/


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Finding Tools

  • Full Text Searching

    • i.e. WL, LX and Loislaw

  • Updating

    • i.e. Shepards and KeyCite

  • Secondary Resources

    • i.e. ALR, AmJur, CJS

    • Also check Practice sets, hornbooks, law reviews.

  • Digests


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Case Structure

Citation

Topic

Case Name

Docket Number

Key

Number

Court

Date

Headnote

Synopsis


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The Wonderful World of Digests

  • How the Digests are organized

  • Headnotes and Digest Entries

  • Table of Cases

  • Words and Phrases

  • Descriptive Word Index

  • Remember to Update!


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United States Supreme Court

Federal

Modern Federal Practice

Federal Practice 2d-4d

Bankruptcy

Pacific

Atlantic

Northwestern

Southeastern

Decennial

General

Century

Arizona

California

DC

Illinois

Kentucky

Massachusetts

Missouri

New York

Ohio

Tennessee

Texas

The Digest of Your Choice


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ELECTIONS — Cont’d

90.1(1.2). Election regulations.

FREEDOM of speech and press —

Regulations. Const Law 90.1(1.2)

Steps to finding the case of your dreams – In Print

  • Select a Digest

  • Find the Topic and Key Number

  • Go to Appropriate volume

  • Read the Case Summaries

  • Don’t forget the pocket part and supplement

  • Review headnotes in subsequent reporters and advanced sheets

  • Read the case for yourself

  • Update the case


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Digests Online

With a known Case


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Digests Online

Using Key Search


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Digests Online

Key Numbers and Digest


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A Very Short In Class Exercise

Q: How much human remains are needed to constitute a “dead body” in Arizona?

A: Dead Bodies 116k1,3 Substantial set of murder victim’s bones constituted “dead body” for purposes of statute requiring interment or cremation of all dead bodies. 865 P2d 808, 177 Ariz 147 (1993).


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