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Senator demands US courts recover 10 years of online public PACER records

This is an update to our post a few weeks ago PACER Removes Court Case Documents. It seems now that PACER has angered Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) to the point that he’s written a letter to US District Judge John D. Bates, the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AO) *demanding* that the thousands of court documents deleted when PACER was “upgraded” be restored. Thanks Senator Leahy.

How many examples of lost digital govt information hosted on .gov servers do we have to document before the library and govt documents communities come to the realization that the *only* way to assure long-term access and preservation of govt publications — both physical and born-digital — is to have redundancy and to have that redundancy off of .gov servers?! Come on people!

The head of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee is urging the federal bureaucracy to restore a decade’s worth of electronic court documents that were deleted last month from online viewing because of an upgrade to a computer database known as PACER. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said the removal of the thousands of cases from online review is essentially erasing history.

“Wholesale removal of thousands of cases from PACER, particularly from four of our federal courts of appeals, will severely limit access to information not only for legal practitioners, but also for legal scholars, historians, journalists, and private litigants for whom PACER has become the go-to source for most court filings,” Leahy wrote Friday to US District Judge John D. Bates, the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AO).

The letter, obtained by The Washington Post, blasted the August 10 decision commencing “without any warning to the public, and without prior notification or consultation with Congress.” The letter said that “Given the potential impact of the AO’s recent decision, I urge the AO take immediate steps to restore access to these documents.”

via Senator demands US courts recover 10 years of online public records | Ars Technica.


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