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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  • identicon
    TestPilotDummy, 19 Sep 2014 @ 4:41pm

    and now what will be missing?

    That's about it for my comment.
    What will be missing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    afn29129 (profile), 19 Sep 2014 @ 7:11pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jack Of Shadows (profile), 19 Sep 2014 @ 7:40pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Candid Cameron, 20 Sep 2014 @ 7:18am

    I wonder...

    The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this was really all about deleting one specific document, then covering it up by deleting a bunch of others. Will all of them come back, I wonder, or will some be missing due to "technical" reasons?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    spodula, 22 Sep 2014 @ 12:57am

    Accessability.

    They wont do anything to make it more accessible.
    Cos West and Lexis will have a fit if they do...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ella, 23 Nov 2015 @ 11:28pm

    Great Post!

    Good news that they finally agree. We are certainly hoping that this case be closed and settled accordingly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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