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Judicial Branch Publications. Peggy Roebuck Jarrett, guest lecturer http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/judbranch.html. Sources of Primary Law. Statutes passed by legislative bodies Regulations promulgated by administrative agencies Case law created by judges Constitutions. Case Law: Why.

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Judicial Branch Publications

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judicial branch publications

Judicial Branch Publications

Peggy Roebuck Jarrett, guest lecturer


sources of primary law
Sources of Primary Law
  • Statutes passed by legislative bodies
  • Regulations promulgated by administrative agencies
  • Case law created by judges
  • Constitutions
case law why
Case Law: Why
  • U.S. is a common law country
  • An evolving body of doctrine
case law what
Case Law: What
  • Primary law
  • Created by judges in the course of resolving disputes
  • The written resolution of the issues
  • The words “case,” “opinion,” and “decision” are often used interchangeably
  • Not a jury verdict
publication of opinions
Publication of Opinions
  • Only opinions of precedential value are published in reporters
    • Precedent allows similarly situated people to be treated the same
  • Published v. unpublished matters, not official v. unofficial
    • Some courts allow citations to unpublished opinions in briefs
publication of opinions6
Publication of Opinions
  • United States Reports only major reporter in Federal Depository Library Program
  • Lower federal court and state appellate opinions are commercially published
  • Some states have official reporters
  • Opinions in commercial reporters are primary law
opinions and the court system
Opinions and the Court System
  • A generic court system consists of
    • trial courts
    • intermediate appellate courts
    • the appellate court of last resort
  • Specialized courts
  • Courts of limited jurisdiction
opinions and the court system8
Opinions and the Court System
  • Where do reported cases come from?
    • State: appellate courts
    • Federal: appellate plus some trial courts
  • In a jury trial, there is nothing to “report” except a verdict
court systems
Court Systems
  • Washington State Courts
  • Federal Courts
    • Home
    • Federal Court Locator
    • Federal Courts Finder
washington state courts
Washington State Courts
  • Supreme Court
  • Court of Appeals
    • 3 divisions
  • Superior Courts
    • by county
  • Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
the federal court system
The Federal Court System
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals
    • Washington State is in the 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Western and Eastern District of Washington
    • Bankruptcy handled by special district courts
specialized federal courts
Specialized Federal Courts
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims handles claims against the federal government
  • Court of International Trade deals with international trade and customs
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
how to find case law
How to Find Case Law
  • Use Internet Legal Resources to find free sites
  • Use a commercial database, such as LexisNexis Academic(UW restricted)
  • Use an annotated code
  • Use secondary sources
how to find case law14
How to Find Case Law
  • Update, update, update
    • Reversed or overruled opinions are not deleted from reporters or databases
    • Use Keycite or Shepard’s
  • Do not rely on Google to find case law (most of the time)
best free sites for case finding
Best Free Sites for Case Finding
  • Washington State Courts
    • LegalWa.org
  • U.S. Supreme Court
    • Official site
    • Cornell Legal Information Institute
    • GPO Access
    • FindLaw
other places to look for cases
Other Places to Look for Cases
  • U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and States other than Washington
    • Federal and State court websites
    • FindLaw
    • LexisOne
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Free choices are limited
lexisnexis academic
LexisNexis Academic
  • Federal: all published appellate and district court cases
  • State: all available appellate court cases
  • Shepard’s Citations
  • Finding tools: secondary sources and annotated codes
  • UW Restricted
court briefs oral arguments
Court Briefs & Oral Arguments
  • Briefs are written arguments submitted to an appellate court
  • Larger law libraries may have paper or microfiche
  • Patrons may need to obtain them directly from the court clerk
  • Some briefs & oral arguments are online
court briefs oral arguments19
Court Briefs & Oral Arguments
  • Audio of U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments at Oyez
  • Audio of Washington State Supreme Court at TVW
  • Gallagher Law Library, Briefs & Oral Arguments
  • Public Access to Court Electronic Records
  • Case and docket information from Federal courts
  • Fee-based
  • PACER Service Center
  • Small 2-year FDLP pilot 2008-2010
judicial branch business
Judicial Branch Business
  • Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
  • Federal Judicial Center
  • Judicial Conference of the U.S. Courts
us sentencing commission
US Sentencing Commission
  • Develops guidelines for sentencing in Federal courts
  • In 2005 US Supreme Court made guidelines advisory, not mandatory
  • Hot topic: crack v. powder cocaine
  • USSC Home
administrative agency decisions
Administrative Agency Decisions
  • Most administrative agencies have a quasi-judicial function
  • Decide (adjudicate) individual cases arising from the application of their rules and regulations
  • Few agency decisions are distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program
administrative agency decisions24
Administrative Agency Decisions
  • Administrative Decisions & Other Actions (UVA)
  • Washington State Administrative Decisions (Gallagher)
  • Use web and law library resources
gallagher law library
Gallagher Law Library
  • We are located on L1 and L2 (lower level) of William H. Gates Hall. We are open to the public!
  • Home
  • U.S. Government Publications
  • Internet Legal Resources
  • Legal Research Guides
  • Judicial Branch Publications
  • Ask A Librarian: Email Reference