Sixth Circuit Electronic Opinion Distribution and Citation Policy Changes

  • Bookmark and Share

On January 1, 1994, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will make several significant improvements to its distribution of opinions in electronic format. An electronic citation and filename will be added to each opinion placed on the court's electronic bulletin board, page breaks will be added to the electronic file, opinions may be batch down-loaded rather than individual down-loads as in the past, and opinions will be available on the bulletin board in both Wordperfect and ASCII formats.

Electronic Citations. The electronic citation will assign a court-generated, vendor neutral, reference number to opinions at the time of their release. The electronic citation is intended to avoid the proliferation of various electronic citations developed by vendors and to provide a common reference for all users of electronic and CD-ROM systems. The electronic citation is considered to be a parallel citation to the opinion in addition to the citation in the published reporter series.

The court encourages the use of the Sixth Circuit electronic citation by bench and bar when citing cases to or from the Sixth Circuit. While there will be no penalties for not using the electronic citation, the court and the bar will find it easier to retrieve cases from the various electronic publishers when the citation is used.

The Sixth Circuit maintains the distinction between published and unpublished opinions.

The format of the electronic citation system, which is based on the recommendations of the Committee on Automation and Technology of the Judicial Conference of the United States is as follows:

Bulletin Board Enhancements. C.I.T.E. (Case Information Transmitted Electronically) is the court's electronic bulletin board. It has provided public access to the court's published opinions, calendars, docket sheets, rules, and other information since 1989. Effective January 1, 1994, there will be changes to the format of information on the bulletin board that will make it quicker and easier to down-load information from the court. For example, it will be possible to choose to down-load a group of opinions or docket sheets in a single operation rather than on an individual case by case basis as in the past. In addition, opinions will remain on the bulletin board for a longer period of time in the future.

Opinion Format. Beginning on January 1, 1994, the electronic version of opinions that are placed on the court's bulletin board will be fully consistent in content and format with the printed slip opinion released by the Clerk's Office. Page breaks will be inserted into the electronic version, and footnotes will appear at the bottom of the "electronic page" rather than at the end of the file as in the past. In addition, users will have the choice of down-loading the opinion in Wordperfect or ASCII (plain text without any formatting codes) format. Each opinion on the bulletin board also will have a filename that is consistent with the electronic citation. For example, the filename for the opinion in the example above would be 94A1234P.06.

How to Access C.I.T.E. The telephone number for C.I.T.E. is (513) 684-2842. Use your computer and model software to dial into that number and answer the questions on the screen. If you are a new user, you will have to complete brief registration questions. From that point on, simply follow on-screen directions. Limited technical assistance is available by calling (513) 684-2953.