Pages

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PACER gets a facelift

The new and improved PACER website -- the digital case tracking service for federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts -- is now up and running. In short, the interface has been completely overhauled. The changes are largely cosmetic, but the site is definitely less cumbersome, more user-friendly and easier on the eyes. As always, PACER provides access to
l
l
  • Federal court dockets (excluding U.S. Supreme Court)
l
  • U.S. District courts including Federal District Courts of Texas
l
  • Full-text opinions & orders for courts using CM/ECF system
l
  • Case file documents and reports of case-related information
l
  • Chronologies of events entered in the case record
And now these documents are easier to access thanks to the new Case Locator feature. This service, which replaces the Case/Party Index, offers more search options and the ability to manipulate your search results. You will still be accessing the same individual court websites, but searching within PACER will be less clunky.

Also, as part of a pilot project, PACER now offers digital audio recordings of trial proceedings in six district courts (Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Alabama, New York, Rhode Island and Maine) and one bankruptcy court (North Carolina). Until now, these recordings were only available on CD at a cost of $26. Digital files available through PACER cost just $2.40.

Finally, the new PACER site provides a directory of telephone contacts for automated case information. The U.S. Supreme Court Clerk's Automated Response Systems (CARS) "permits callers using a standard touch-tone telephone to obtain the status of cases on the U.S. Supreme Court automated docket from an automated voice synthesizer response system." The VCIS (Voice Case Information System) and AVIS (Appellate Voice Information System) "use an automated voice response system to read a limited amount of bankruptcy or appellate case information directly from the court's database in response to Touch-Tone telephone inquiries." Currently, these services are offered at no charge.

To learn more about PACER, check out the PACER User Manual for ECF Courts.