PACER Finally Agrees To Put Back Court Documents That Were Deleted

from the wasn't-so-hard,-was-it? dept

Sooner or later this had to happen. Back in August, with no warning, the PACER electronic court document system, overseen by the Administrative Office of the judicial system, announced that as part of an “upgrade” it had deleted a bunch of cases. Once this started getting some attention, officials gave a weak, nonsensical “explanation” for why no one could figure out how to take some PDFs and move them to the new system. As for why it couldn’t work with many, many public-service oriented archivers — who all offered to host the deleted works — no answer was ever given. Recently, however, Congress started to ask questions, and then all of a sudden the Administrative Office decided to wake up to the fact that this was a bad idea. The missing documents will soon be back.


“The Administrative Office is working to restore electronic access to these cases by converting the docket sheets in these cases to PDF format which will allow us to make them available in PACER,” said David Sellers, assistant director for public affairs at the AO, in a statement to the Washington Post. “This process will be completed in the four appellate courts by the end of October. We are also working to provide a similar solution for the dockets on the legacy system in the California Central bankruptcy court.”

Of course, still nothing is being done to actually make the PACER system more accessible to the public and dumping the ridiculous 10 cents/per page fee the system charges (which almost certainly breaks the law). Maybe if Congress started asking questions about that travesty as well, we’d finally start to see some real improvements.



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Comments on “PACER Finally Agrees To Put Back Court Documents That Were Deleted”

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7 Comments
afn29129says:

Format?

“The Administrative Office is working to restore electronic access to these cases by converting the docket sheets in these cases to PDF format which will allow us to make them available in PACER,” .. Do the document really need to be converted from one format to another format at all? Just leave them as is and let the person viewing handle whatever imaging type used.

Jack Of Shadowssays:

Asymmetrical Markets

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the legal system is a classical asymmetrical market where the seller has most of the information and the buyer has little to none. The more informed the consumer, the better deal they get with the seller. Think car sales a pet peeve of mine, software. The best way to preserve the lawyers perch is to price the gathering of information beyond the reach the consumer whether it be reference books, court dockets, access to experts, whatever.

Also, if war is politics by other means, and frequently the law as politics by other means, than than asymmetry as practiced by our legal system could be considered the same in character as the asymmetries in warfare today. Also known as terrorism.

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