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Old 10-22-2019, 01:54 PM
fbopnomore fbopnomore is offline
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Default Problems with searching PACER

Here's an article by Dale Chappell published in Criminal Legal News November, 2019, page 16 that explains that PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records, https://www.pacer.gov/findcase.html) can not be searched unless you are checking for a specific defendant/case.

"In fiscal year 2018, there were more than 73,000 convictions in the federal courts, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. That’s at least 70,000 sentences imposed in the federal courts in just a single year. However, a search of Westlaw, a subscription service that collects court opinions from the Federal Supplement and other reporters, turned up only about 600 opinions in the sentencing courts using the federal sentencing statute, 18 U.S.C. s. 3553(a), as the keyword."

That's double the number of felony sentences issued by federal judges in 1990: In 1990 Federal courts convicted 36,684 persons of violent, property, drug, and other felonies. Talk about mass incarceration!

Here's a link to the article: "Tens of Thousands of Sentencing Decisions Are Hidden Within PACER, Hindering Access by Lawyers and Defendants".
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Old 10-22-2019, 03:26 PM
bellisq bellisq is offline
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Great article. There are several organizations that help sort out this type of information.

SentencingStats.com is a group I have worked with who mine data, not only helping with sentencing but also providing meaningful data to help with negotiating the plea agreement.

The fees are reasonable. And if you have a federal public defender, they have financial resources to use these groups.
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