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					 Legal Research: New Jersey Case
               Law
Legal Reference in the Digital Age
Documents Association of New Jersey
 (DANJ)
Fall Conference, 2010

                     Caroline Young, J.D.,
                     M.L.I.S.
                     Rutgers Law Library-
                     Newark

                                             1
     What is Case Law?
Cases are Reports
of judicial decisions
Primary authority
Published cases are
precedential: courts
are bound to follow
earlier decisions
                         2
    Where can I find New Jersey
             cases?
  LexisNexis ($$$)*-all
  Westlaw ($$$)*-all
  LoisLaw (www.loislaw.com) ($$)-1923-present
  VersusLaw (www.versuslaw.com) ($)-1948-
  present (partial 1930-1948)
  Rutgers -Camden Law Library web site: free
  archive 1995-present
  Google Scholar Legal-1950-present
*Cost may be free if accessing through a library
                                                   3
 Where can I find New Jersey
      cases for FREE?
               Best Bets
NEW JERSEY COURTS SEARCH PAGE
(RUTGERS-CAMDEN Law Library)
Google Scholar Legal
Opinions on the Judiciary web site
Libraries



                                     4
    NEW JERSEY COURTS SEARCH PAGE
      (RUTGERS-CAMDEN Law Library)

http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/search.shtml
  Supreme Court from March 1994 forward
   Appellate Division and Tax Court from
  Sept. 1995 forward
  unpublished Appellate Division opinions
  from Sept.20, 2005 forward.



                                             5
What’s the Difference between a Published
   Case and an Unpublished Case?!
 A published case is a case that is published in
 the official reporter and is precedential
 All NJ Supreme Court decisions are published
 Some Appellate Division decisions are published
 Only a small percentage of Trial Court opinions
 submitted for publication are approved




                                               6
Why Does it Matter if a Case is
        Published?
Unpublished opinions are not
considered precedent in New Jersey
Note: Under the Federal Rules of
Appellate Procedure unpublished
decisions issued after 1/1/2007 can
be cited as persuasive authority


                                      7
NEW JERSEY COURTS SEARCH PAGE (RUTGERS-
               CAMDEN Law Library)
     http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/search.shtml

                                      Enter keywords:
                                      “foreclosure and
                                      “predatory
                                      lending
                                      practices””



                                       Enter Citation or
                                       Docket Number




                                                     8
5 Results




            9
          Google Scholar Legal
                    *New Jersey case law 1950 forward
1.Select
Scholar in the
drop-down
menu under
“more”




 2. Select “Legal
 Opinions and                   OR go straight to
 Journals”                      “Advanced
                                Search”
                                                        10
Advanced Google Scholar Legal
Go to Advanced
Scholar search:
http://scholar.google.co
m/advanced_scholar_se
arch?
Under “Legal opinions
and journals”, select
“Search only court
opinions from the
following states:” and
choose New Jersey


                            11
Search Results: Google Scholar




                             12
    Published vs. Unpublished
 Note this search is limited to New Jersey and we
 only got 2 hits
 we got 5 on the Rutgers-Camden Law Library
 site

Does anyone know why?
 Google Scholar only has published cases
 Rutgers Law Library-Camden has published
 cases and unpublished cases since 2005

                                                13
Modern NJ State Court Reports
2 categories of reporters- official and unofficial
New Jersey Reporters
 – Official
      New Jersey Reports (N.J.) (Supreme Court decisions)(1948-)
      New Jersey Superior Court Reports (N.J. Super.) (Appellate
      Division and trial court decisions)(1948-)
      New Jersey Tax Court Reports (N.J. Tax)(1979-)
 – Unofficial
      Atlantic Reporter – contains the cases found in N.J. and N.J.
      Super. (and other states: CT, DE, DC, MA, MD, NH, PA, RI,
      and VT) (1885-)


                                                                  14
New Jersey Earlier Court Reports
New Jersey Law Reports (N.J.L.) (1789-
1948
New Jersey Equity Reports (N.J. Eq.)
(1830-1948)
New Jersey Miscellaneous Reports (N.J.
Misc.) (1923-1949)
– Includes cases not found in the two official
  series
Many “nominative” reports

                                                 15
             Basic Citation Format
                    Reporter     First page of
  “v.” for versus
                    volume no.   case




Brenman v. Demello, 191 N.J. 18 (2007)
                    Second                       Date of decision
First                             Reporter
                    party                        (no court is listed
party                             Abbreviation
                                                 because it is clear
                                  (N.J.
                                                 from reporter
                                  Reports)
                                                 name




                                                               16
Sample Case from Google Scholar
             Legal
Parallel citations




Star Pagination



                              17
 N.J. Court System/Structure
Seven million new cases are filed in New Jersey's state-
level courts annually
(http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/process.htm)
New Jersey Supreme Court (New Jersey Reports)
Superior Court (trial court) (New Jersey Superior Court
Reports) (Appellate Division and trial court decisions)
 – Appellate Division (intermediate level court of appeal)
 – Trial Court (right to one (1) appeal)
 – Tax Court (New Jersey Tax Court Reports)
NJ Courts webpage: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/



                                                         18
 Opinions on the Judiciary web
site: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/




              Generally, recent
              opinions published in
              the last 10 days,
              published/unpublished

                                      19
            Judicial Website



Links to
PDFs of
Opinions
Note:
These are
Slip
opinions




                               20
                       Libraries
New Jersey State Library:
http://www.njstatelib.org/Research_Guides/Law/Historica
l_New_Jersey_Laws.php#reporters
Rutgers Law Library-Newark: http://law-
library.rutgers.edu/
Any Public Library (or library YOU have
access to) with Westlaw Campus or
LexisNexis Academic


                                                     21
                 New Jersey State Library:
http://www.njstatelib.org/Research_Guides/Law/Historical_
            New_Jersey_Laws.php#reporters

 links to (mainly older)
 volumes of N.J.Law
 Reports, N.J. Equity
 Reports, and Atlantic
 Reporter available
 through Google
 Books




                                                        22
Rutgers Law Library-Newark: http://law-
         library.rutgers.edu/

    1. Click here for
    New Jersey Law




                                2. Go to the NJ
                                Internet Law Guide




                                                23
    Databases at Libraries
Westlaw Campus (Rutgers University
Libraries)
– Federal and state cases, statutes, and regs.
– ALR case-finding system
– KeyCite citator system
– American Jurisprudence 2d (legal
  encyclopedia)
– Law reviews
LexisNexis Academic

                                                 24
Westlaw Campus



           Boolean Search
           capabilities




                Lots of Databases


                                    25
     What Free Sites Don’t Have


                            1. Headnotes
                            are summaries
                            of all points of
                            law discussed
                            in an opinion



2. Case History-Is
this case still
good law?
•Westlaw: KeyCite
•Lexis: Shepard’s
                                        26
Case History on Westlaw




                          27
         NJ ORAL ARGUMENTS

Supreme Court Arguments
  http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/webcast/index.htm
  Live webcast
  thirty-day archive of arguments in streaming video.
  includes the opinions under appeal

Supreme Court of N.J. Oral Arguments Archive (at
   Rutgers-Newark Law Library)
http://njlegallib.rutgers.edu/supct/
   Archive of arguments older than thirty days, starting
   January 2005.
   includes the opinions under appeal.

                                                           28
             Thank You!
Questions?



Caroline Young
cyoung@kinoy.rutgers.edu




                           29

				
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