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Thread: Online legal library (case history)

  1. #1
    Regular Member sharkey's Avatar
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    Online legal library (case history)

    Is anyone aware of a good FREE case law library? Especially one that covers all states?

    For example, AZ has this site but good luck finding anything not recent.

    Here is a what one search generated for me http://www.azcourts.gov/opinions/Opi....+App.+1981%29

    Going to the Supreme Court of the United States and searching United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 yields nothing.

    Using Findlaw for the same item displays hundreds of cases but not the above example that was searched for. Actually, I just figured out how to search findlaw .... whoohoo! but you have to pay for "enahanced case on Westlaw" whatever that is.

    And doing a google search for all but the most "important" cases just shows every damn lawsuit citing the case you're searching for. Example google State v. Swanton, 629 P.2d 98, 99 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1981)

    Am I just ignorant of a proper search method or is part of the law inaccessible to the layperson?

  2. #2
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    Law library

    The US Supreme Court used to have all cases going back to the 1700's easily available. These were separated by categories such as search and seizure, civil rights etc. This is no longer true. The format is now such that you must know the case you are looking for to find anything. This has made it very difficult to discover useful case law. I used to spend hours going through case history to find gems which are helpful to the average guy. Now I'll have to find another source.

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    You may find it far more practical to begin to "stockpile" your own list of applicable case law. That you want to use a data base per se, such as that offered by way of computer software is but one such method. Another, one which I have found to be far more efficient is to use a computer and store the data in text format only. What follows is a sample of what I mean ...


    xxxxx

    . DUE PROCESS: "The duration of any potentially wrongful deprivation of a property interest is an important factor in assessing the impact of official action on the private interest involved." Telang v. PABPOA No. 1992 C.D. 1997 (Filed 1998)

    . DUE PROCESS: "Due process is a flexible notion, and its requirements depend on the circumstances of each case; however, its essential requirements are notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard." Telang v. PABPOA No. 1992 C.D. 1997 (Filed 1998); see also PADOT v. Clayton, 546, Pa. 342, 684 A.2d 1060 (1996)

    . DUE PROCESS, ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS: "The essential elements of due process are notice and opportunity to be heard and to defend oneself in an orderly proceeding adapted to the nature of the case before a tribunal having jurisdiction over the matter." Starr v PA State Board of Medicine No. 3146 C.D. 1997; see also Soja v. PA State Police, 500 Pa. 188, 193, 455 A.2d 613, 615 (1989)

    . DUE PROCESS: The United States Supreme Court has held that "an essential principle of due process is that a deprivation of life, liberty or property be preceded by notice and an opportunity for a hearing appropriate to the nature of the case." Eldride v. Vaughn et al No 1195 M.D. 1996

    . DUE PROCESS: "We have described 'the root requirement' of the Due Process Clause as being 'that an individual be given an opportunity for a hearing before he is deprived of any significant property interest.'" Eldride v. Vaughn et al No 1195 M.D. 1996

    . DUE PROCESS: "This principal require 'some kind of a hearing' prior to the discharge of an employee who has a constitutionally protected property interest in his employment" Eldride v. Vaughn et al No 1195 M.D. 1996

    . DUE PROCESS: "The constitutional minimum may be satisfied where the licensee has access to the material upon which the charge is based and the opportunity to respond to the charge ..." Eldride v. Vaughn et al No 1195 M.D. 1996

    . DUE PROCESS: In Matthew's v. Eldgride, 424 U.S. at 335, the United States Supreme Court set forth three (3) factors to be considered when determining whether a particular procedure satisfies due process:
    . [First] The United States Supreme Court has recognized the 'severity of depriving a person of the means of a livelihood." Brock v Roadway Express, 481 U.S. 252, 263 (1987)
    . [Second] the risk of erroneous deprivation of such interest through the procedures used, and the probably value, if any, of additional substitute procedural safeguards;
    . [Third] the government's interest, including the function involved, and the fiscal and administrative burdens that the additional or substitute procedural requirement will entail."

    xxxxx



    That the above will work for you, I don't know but this has and continues to work quite well for me. I might caution you however, that building up such a data base does take time - and experience has shown me that there is in fact no end to it. Ours is a very active nation, national, state, county and local wise. There's something going on every day in the court systems at each level and those actions dealing with just "DUE PROCESS" are but the tip of the proverbial "iceberg."

    LII is a very good starting point, one of several to be honest and you can begin to add to your "Case Law" data base by going thru a given decision and noting any and all referenced case law. Those which you find interesting (and I suggest to you, you will find many once you begin to get active as a pro se) can be filed as I've just suggested above and they come in very handy when preparing a brief or answerng one.

    I hope this helps and do give it a try and let us know how it works out for you.

    tyc

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    Just a inquiry, how much interest (if any) would there be in an "Unofficial Case-Law Library Website"? This has been something I've been thinking of putting together on a small scale for personal use and easy reference from my smart phone, however it could most likely be easily expanded upon and grow much more rapidly with several people contributing to it. Of course, there would need to be a method/mechanism of confirming such case law that gets added to ensure it's accuracy.

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    Regular Member sharkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmtFFKev View Post
    Just a inquiry, how much interest (if any) would there be in an "Unofficial Case-Law Library Website"? This has been something I've been thinking of putting together on a small scale for personal use and easy reference from my smart phone, however it could most likely be easily expanded upon and grow much more rapidly with several people contributing to it. Of course, there would need to be a method/mechanism of confirming such case law that gets added to ensure it's accuracy.
    Interest is huge, at least on my end.

    PM being sent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmtFFKev View Post
    Of course, there would need to be a method/mechanism of confirming such case law that gets added to ensure it's accuracy.
    Unless you can come up with a better "method/mechanism" the only time proven "method/mechanism" is YOU spending the the time to check on each and every one of the case law quotations you elect to use in any action in which you engage in. Failure on your part to be correct could prove to be your undoing.

    You might want to have a look at my posting regarding practicing pro se. There's quite a collection there for one just starting up, if that's what you're doing and you're welcome to use the contents.

    tyc
    Last edited by tyc; 08-11-2012 at 07:14 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4sooth View Post
    ... very difficult to discover useful case law. I used to spend hours going through case history to find gems which are helpful to the average guy. Now I'll have to find another source
    .
    Take a look at the "file dump" of mine. It's case law listed by SUBJECT MATTER as opposed to what you may be used to. Hopefully it may be of some help to you.

    tyc

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