Home » Posts tagged 'Legal'
Tag Archives: Legal
Center for Public Integrity Report: “Millions of Federal Court Records are Being Destroyed to Save Money”
From the Article:
The federal courts are destroying millions of judicial case records that have been stored in the Federal Records Centers of the National Archives for decades, all in an effort to save money.
The plan is to destroy all records on cases that did not go to trial that were filed between 1970 and 1995. For other records, the federal judiciary has reduced the current record retention time from 25 to 15 years in an effort to cut costs. All cases that went to trial or were filed before 1970 will be kept.
When a federal case is filed, it is held in the U.S. District Court of record for a period of time, but is ultimately transferred to one of the Federal Records Centers in 17 cities around the country. The National Archives charges the courts a storage fee for holding these documents; last year the fee was over $6.2 million.
The new retention plan will help save $7.7 million over the next 10 years.
However, the decision to destroy 79,000 boxes filled with civil cases, 43,000 boxes of criminal cases and over 500,000 bankruptcy records is cause for concern among legal historians and advocates for public access to information.
From an Announcement by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts:
A pilot project aimed at having public libraries enhance the public’s knowledge and use of the federal judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service begins July 1, 2011.
Two libraries – the Library of Congress in the District of Columbia and the Law Library for San Bernadino, California – will kick off the pilot, but up to 50 additional public libraries may join them in future months.
PACER allows users to obtain case information from federal courts without having to visit the courthouse. The service allows an Internet user to request information about a particular case or party, and makes the data immediately available for printing or downloading at a cost of 8 cents per page.
In the pilot project, libraries will conduct at least one training class for the general public every three months, and offer training or refresher opportunities for library staff at least one a year. Those staff members, in turn, may assist library patrons in the use of PACER. For participating libraries, the first $50 of PACER use fees each quarter will be waived.
The pilot is a joint undertaking of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Government Printing Office, and the American Association of Law Libraries.