Casemaker Tips and Tricks for June

by Alexa Drago on June 14, 2018

Each month we will be bringing you a few tips and tricks for making your research with Casemaker that much more efficient.  For more Casemaker tips and tricks follow them on FacebookTwitter, and via the Casemaker blog.

 

Seeing more with the Combined Link

While you are browsing administrative code, statutes, rules and other materials you may sometimes notice an italicized chapter or section title with the word combined at the end in parentheses. Clicking on this link will give you not just one statute or rule, but all the statutes or rules in that chapter or section. This is helpful if you wish to print the entire chapter or section. It is also useful if you simply do not want to be forced to navigate to each individual statute or rule and would like to view them together.

 

Archived Content

Casemaker offers you not just current statutes, rules, and session law – but archived versions as well. There are a number of ways to locate the archive versions of content. If you are reading the content of a rule or statute, you will see a tab in the grey bar labeled “Archive.” Clicking on that tab will show you a page of years giving you the ability to see the rule or statute in previous years. If you click on a state library you can also find a tab labeled “Archive” in the blue bar at the top of the list of library sections. If you click on Federal materials you will find a similar link in the grey bar above the list of Federal materials. These archive links on the library pages will take you to a page that allows you to choose which archive you would like to view. You can also find the archives in Tree View by expanding any section that has archives and clicking on the year you wish to view.

 

Searching for Cases with Citation

The most frequently used function of Casemaker for most users is searching by citation. From the home page, you can simply type your citation in. You do not have to worry about being too picky if you use the wrong spacing, punctuation, or capitalization; Casemaker will automatically correct that for you. You do however need to make sure you are using only the reporter citation and the proper abbreviation. Casemaker goes by the Blue Book citation guidelines if you have any questions regarding abbreviations. For example, with Kearns v. Ford Motor Co., 567 F.3d 1120 (9th Cir. 2009), all you would put in the search bar is 567 F.3d 1120. Be sure you select the correct jurisdiction, however – you will not be able to pull up a New Hampshire Superior Court case when searching in US Court of Appeals!

 

And Searches

The AND search is the simplest search to do in Casemaker. Simply put any number of words in leaving a space between each, and Casemaker will retrieve documents which contain all the words you mentioned. Contract binding will find the documents which mention both the word contact and the word binding. The search string handgun felony minor will find the documents with the words handgun, felony and minor in them. Please Note: You do not need and should not use the word AND in your search. The system already sees the space between your terms as an AND search unless you say otherwise. Using the word AND may yield the wrong results.

 

Saving Searches

Do you find yourself using the same search query often? Maybe you would just like to come right back to the search you just did? In Casemaker you can save your searches! Once you have entered your query and submit the search you will notice the blue “save search” link will appear under the jurisdiction menu. You can click on this to save the search you just performed. Later when you want to access this search again, you can find it in the left sidebar on the homepage by clicking “My Saved Searches”

 

Finding a Case by Docket Number

Sometimes a case is so new you may not have a citation. If you have the docket number you can still find the case. Under the search bar on the homepage, you will see words with circles next to them. These circles are called radio buttons. The options you will see are Keyword, Citation, Party, Section, and finally Docket No. Make sure you have selected the correct jurisdiction from the jurisdiction menu drop down to the right of the search bar (it is the box with the downward pointing blue arrow); then select the radio button next to Docket No. Enter the docket number of your case and hit the blue search button. You should be able to pull up the case you are looking for.

 

Excluding Terms with a NOT search

Are your results giving you a bunch of cases that are not relevant but still contain your terms? Do those irrelevant cases all seem to have a term in common? Maybe you should try excluding a term. For example, maybe you want documents that mention property but not commercial property. In the search bar, you can enter property NOT commercial and Casemaker will give you cases that mention property that do not contain the word commercial.

 

Narrow by Circuit

While the Jurisdiction menu will aid you to narrow your search to Circuit court cases, it will not allow you to narrow to a specific circuit. However, that option is still available! Once you perform your search, click to view all the case results. You can also click on the Cases link on the left. Either option will pull up your results list and a menu on the left side. This left side menu gives you the option to narrow your results by a variety of different ways. For example, you could use the Jurisdiction option to narrow to check the box for Circuit. Note you may have to click a link at the bottom of the category to get all your options. Next, you can the United States Court of Appeals you wish by checking off the appropriate box. Now your results should be narrowed to the Circuit court you prefer

 

Keyword Searching

The most basic Casemaker search is the keyword search. It can also be the most complex if you wish – just use the search operators found in the blue Search Tips link under the Search button. To search first select your jurisdiction from the jurisdiction menu, then type in your word or words in the search bar and hit the blue search button. The keyword search can be found in other places as well. When you are viewing the list of cases you discovered in a previous search you can narrow that search by keyword in the left menu. If you are looking at a list of citing references you can also narrow that list by keyword on the citing references page.

The radio button selections below Casemaker search bar defaults to keyword. You may find that you can still enter things that are not keywords and get results, however, they may not be as accurate. You certainly can leave keyword selected and enter a case citation – but you may get more than just the result you were seeking. In those cases, you may wish to choose a more specific search type.
 

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