Friday, March 12, 2010

Judge Signals He Wants Orders to Be Unavailable

Judge A. Howard Matz (C.D. Cal.) has issued orders marked: "This order is not intended for publication or for inclusion in the databases of Westlaw or Lexis." That is, "really, really unpublished." A Judge’s Unusual Request: Don’t Print This in Westlaw or Lexis - News - ABA Journal, March 11, 2010.
Stephen Montes, Matz’s courtroom deputy clerk, says the language is intended as a signal—and is not a command to Westlaw or Lexis.

“On the occasions when the judge has added that language, it was designed to signal to the reader that he knew that the analysis in the order was not necessarily definitive or exhaustive--that the order should not be viewed as something he intended to contribute to developing jurisprudence,” Montes writes in an e-mail to the ABA Journal.
Critics decry the creation of "secret" law and say it's useful for attorneys to learn how a judge has ruled even if the past decision lacks precedential value. And they also note that opinions can show up in many other online services besides the big two.

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