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Criminal Justice

Federal Court Citations

Supreme Court Citations

U.S. Court of Appeals Cases

U.S. District Court Cases
Only select opinions from District Court cases are published.

Other federal courts' decisions you might come across:

F.R.D. [West's] Federal Rules Decisions                         

Bankruptcy Reporter [West's] Bankruptcy Reporter - reports decisions of the Federal Bankruptcy Court

United States Tax Court {T.C.} Reports or T.C.M. Tax Court Memorandum Decisions

Illinois Court Citations

Some states have ceased publishing official reporters and state case law is only published through unofficial reporters. Case law from Illinois may appear in the following sources:

Illinois Supreme Court

Illinois Appellate Courts

  • The Northeastern Reporter {N.E., N.E.2d}. The unofficial reporter for Illinois Appellate Court cases (1936 to present).
  • Illinois Appellate Reports {Ill. App., Ill. App. 2d, Ill. App. 3d}. Official opinions from the Illinois Appellate Court, 1877 to date.

Illinois Court of Claims (has exclusive jurisdiction over many civil cases involving the State of Illinois including some claims for time unjustly served in prison, all claims for recoupment made by the State against any claimant, and most claims against the State based on Illinois law or regulation.)

  • Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of Claims of the State of Illinois {Ill. Ct. Cl.}. Cases reported by the Illinois Court of Claims, 1889 to date.

Opinions from the trial courts (known as circuit courts) in Illinois usually are not usually published.

Citations to Legal Opinions

During your research, you might need to find a legal source based on a citation. These citations do not always look like citations you are used to in academic writing. This page aims to help you gain a basic understand of the more common types of legal citations you might encounter.

There are two books that provide the two most commonly used sets of rules used constructing legal citations. Different courts, legal periodicals and other sources will typically use either one or the other.

Case Citations:

These are citations that will lead you to the text of a judicial opinion as it can be found in a court reporter. The information contained in a citation for court opinions found in a reporter varies very little.

The citation will always start with shortened versions of the names of the parties to the case, for example: Johnson v. California,

Then it will give you information on which reporter, or publication, contains the text and where in that reporter to look for the text of the decision (the volume number and pages). It also contains information on which court, or jurisdiction, heard the case and what year this opinion was delivered.

   321              F.3d            791,                 793            (9th Cir.             2003)

  volume      reporter      start pg        pg cited      jurisdiction      date of decision

 

The reporter and jurisdiction, and sometimes even the party names, are abbreviated. In order to find out what the abbreviations stand for, try consulting either the Bluebook or the ALWD citation manual.

 

Note about Court Reporters:

Not all court decisions are published in one reporter. Different reporters publish decisions from various jurisdictions. Additionally, some contain cases from certain time spans.