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					Wyoming State Law Library
Database of Supreme Court

     Reference Guide
               Third Edition

                Prepared by

         Jessica Rehbaum, MLIS
    Computer/Technical Services Librarian
       Wyoming State Law Library


How Did this Project Come About?
       Oklahoma is one of the leading trailblazers when it comes to computerized legal
research, especially via the internet. The Oklahoma Supreme Court Network (OSCN)
began in 1997 under the direction of then Oklahoma Chief Justice Yvonne Kauger. The
goal of OSCN is to provide the Courts, Bar, and public of the state of Oklahoma with the
best case tracking, legal information, and research tools in the nation.

       In July 2000, Greg Lambert of OSCN approached Kathy Carlson and myself
about this project. He felt that OSCN was ready for a beta test and asked if Wyoming
would be interested in joining as that test. We jumped at the chance as we thought a
database with full text Wyoming Supreme Court Opinions would be a benefit to the
citizens of Wyoming. The first step in the process was to approach the Courts about
adopting the Universal Citation format since the database could not be built on the
proprietary Pacific Reporter citation system. The Board of Judicial Policy and Review
realized the potential benefits of the project and an order was issued in October 2000
adopting the Universal Citation Format for Wyoming effective January 1, 2001.

       Full texts of current decisions are being incorporated into the database on the day
they are issued. Through a variety of means, the headings and citations of all Wyoming
Supreme Court decisions have also been tentatively identified and placed into the system.
The long term project is to convert the full text of these older opinions into the proper
electronic format and load them into the database. The goal is to include all Wyoming
decisions back to the first decision issued in 1870. To do this, universal citation numbers
will be added retrospectively to each of those decisions. The database will be fully
searchable and will contain hotlinked text. An additional benefit of this project is that the
hotlinking is not limited to just Wyoming material. Citations in Wyoming cases will be
hotlinked to any other materials contained in the Oklahoma system (e.g. any Oklahoma
case cited by the Wyoming Supreme Court.) Until the full text is added the hotlinks will
only connect to the header and citation information for older decisions. Oklahoma is

trying to include as many state and federal jurisdictions as possible, so the network is
continually expanding. (Check the scope of listed databases to verify data coverage.) As
more states show interest, they will be included as well. Currently there are decisions
from the states of Oklahoma, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, U.S. Supreme Court, and
10th Circuit.

        The following is a reference guide designed to make your use of the database as
easy as possible. I have placed Wyoming specific examples where possible, but there are
some Oklahoma examples as well, mainly because their database is larger and contains a
variety of different types of information not necessarily available in Wyoming (e.g., their
statutes are included in their database). Once you gain an understanding of how to search
and use our database, keep in mind you will be able to use these same techniques for any
database included in this project (state & federal.) You will also be able to search more
than one database at a time.

                                        Jessica Rehbaum
                                         September 2004

                              Table of Contents

I.      Note on Universal Citations               5

II.     Homepage                                  6

III.    Law Library Database Toolbar                  7

IV.     Quickcase Retrieval:
        Finding a case known by citation          8

V.      Legal Research                                10

VI.     Searching                                     13

VII.    Search Tips                                   23

VIII.   Case/Statute Citationizing                    25

IX.     Batch Citationizer                            26

X.      Printing                                      28


The Public Domain Citation (Universal Citation) is a vendor-neutral citation system
designed to create a uniform style of citation for cases of all courts. The system is rather
simple. When a case is handed down by a court, the citation is immediately assigned
based on:
   1) the case name 2) the year of decision 3) the court 4) the opinion number
   5) the paragraph number --- if a pinpoint citation is needed to specific text.
           DUDLEY v. STATE, 1998 WY 4
           McNEILL v. CITY OF TULSA, 1998 OK 2
           BATTENFIELD v. GIBSON, 2001 10CIR 7

           Detailed information on Public Domain Citations can be found at:
           Wyoming Supreme Court Universal Citation Court Order can be found at:

                                   HOME PAGE

The Law Library’s web address is There is a list of
links on the left side of the screen. Click on “Database” to enter.

                       Law Library Database Toolbar

After you have linked from the homepage, the main page of the system displays a query
box along with the toolbar. The Toolbar is designed to make it easier to navigate the

Here is a brief description of each button:

The ‘Quickcase’ button allows you to go immediately to a case by typing in the universal
or Pacific Reporter citation.

The ‘Advanced Search’ button enables the researcher to focus on the search to obtain
specific results.

The ‘Simple Search’ button recognizes Boolean, specialized proximity and other

The ‘Batch Citator’ button can be used for batch cite checking or batch citation
conversion. If you enter the entire document, the system will scan it and return a list of

The 'Help' page presents information on how to use the web site and certain features of

The 'Home' button will take you back to the home page for the Wyoming State Law
Library. From the home page, you will see links to Wyoming Legal Materials, Wyoming
General Materials, Federal Legal Materials, etc.

Quickcase Retrieval: Finding a Case Known by Citation:
The QuickCase Retrieval option allows users to obtain:

    •   Published cases
    •   Citationizer analysis (cases citing the requested case) of published cases
    •   Statutes (for the state of Oklahoma)

Obtaining a Case
To obtain a case, simply type the year state abbreviation and sequence numbers for the universal
citation (1998 WY 23, for instance) or the volume and page number from the Pacific Reporter.
Then, click the ‘Go' button. Your case will appear! Allowable Citation formats include but are not
limited to:
2004 WY 98 (Wyoming Supreme Court)
384 U.S. 436 (Supreme Court of the United States)
1997 10Cir 942229 (Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals)
61 P.3d 1229 (Pacific Reporter, Third Series)
904 P. 14 (Pacific Reporter)
997 F.3d (Federal Reporter, Third Series)
997 F.2d (Federal Reporter, Second Series)
997 F. (Federal Reporter)

For example, if you were searching for a specific case like Meadows v. State, 2003 WY
37, 65 P.3d 33, QUICKCASE can retrieve the document by matching the Public Domain
Citation (2003 WY 37).

or the Pacific Reporter Citation (65 P.3d 33).

After Clicking 'GO', the Document Will Appear:

                  Viewing All Documents for a Year, or Volume

Obtaining All Cases in a Specific Year
To obtain all cases handed down in a specific year, type the year, a space, the postal
abbreviation of the state you are looking for, then the word "all." This will return all cases
published by Wyoming Supreme Court for the year given For example:

                 2003 WY all

Obtaining All Cases in a Specific Reporter Volume
To obtain all cases handed down in a specific reporter volume, type the reporter volume number,
a space, reporter series (P.2d, for instance), then the word "all." This will return all cases
published by the reporter volume given For example:

                 90 P.3d All

The quickcase option is not case sensitive. Using the word “all” in upper or lower cases
will have the same results.

This Will Retrieve a Listing of Documents:

                                 Legal Research

After clicking on the Wyoming Database link, the main page you see is the
Catalogue/Index. The Catalogue/Index allows you to browse cases, statutes, rules, and
other legal resources as easily as thumbing through a book. Merely expand or search the
legal information you need.

                                              Beginning Level

           Expanding State Legal
           Materials for Wyoming

Expanding Wyoming
Supreme Court Cases

        Expanding the year 2003

This process can be used to search or expand any of the databases listed on the network.
For example:

                                                         Expanding State Legal
                                                         Materials for Oklahoma

                                                                Expanding Oklahoma
                                                                Statutes Citationized

                                                                  Expanding Title 5


The OSCN search engine is one of the most advanced search engines available. Using
the power of word, phrase, proximity, synonym, truncation, and more, the OSCN search
engine enables the legal researcher to perform precise legal research queries. Remember
on the simple search you must select a database in Section 2.

The system offers a simple and an advanced search structure.

Simple Search:

This feature is located on the toolbar. Simple Search is easy to use, but extremely
powerful. Simple Search recognizes Boolean, specialized proximity, and other

Must select a database

Advanced Search:

This feature is located on the toolbar of the Catalogue/Index. You can also select this
feature when you click on search next to any of the items listed on the Catalogue/Index
page. The Advanced Search enables the researcher to focus the search to obtain specific
results. Remember on the Advanced Search that you must select a database in Section 4.
Prior selections of jurisdiction are not carried forward.

                                                           Must select a database

Maximizing Use of the Advanced Search


The search engine supports two types of search requests, Natural language and Boolean.
1) A natural language search is any sequence of text, like a sentence or a question an
example is the phrase “quiet title”. After a natural language search, the search engine
sorts retrieved documents by their relevance to your search request. 2) A Boolean
search request consists of a group of words or phrases linked by connectors such as and
and or that indicate the relationship between them. Examples:

child and custody
 Both words must be present

child or custody
 Either word can be present

child w/5 custody
 Child must occur within 5 words of custody

child not w/5 custody
 Child must not occur within 5 words of custody

child and not custody

Only child must be present

name contains smith
 The field name must contain smith

If you use more than one connector, you should use parentheses to indicate precisely
what you want to search for. For example, child and custody or parent could mean
(child and custody) or parent, or it could mean child and (custody or parent).

Noise words, such as if and the, are ignored in searches.

Search terms may include the following special characters:

Matches any single character. Example: appl? matches apply or apple.

Matches any number of characters. Example: appl* matches application

Stemming. Example: apply~ matches apply, applies, applied.

Fuzzy search. Example: ba%nana matches banana, bananna.

Phonic search. Example: #smith matches smith, smythe.

Synonym search. Example: fast& matches quick.

Numeric range. Example: 12~~24 matches 18.

 Variable term weighting. Example: child:4 w/5 custody:1

Words and Phrases
You do not need to use any special punctuation or commands to search for a phrase.
Simply enter the phrase the way it ordinarily appears. You can use a phrase anywhere in
a search request. Example:

child w/5 parental guidance

If a phrase contains a noise word, the search engine will skip over the noise word when
searching for it. For example, a search for statue of liberty would retrieve any document
containing the word statue, any intervening word, and the word liberty.

Punctuation inside of a search word is treated as a space. Thus, can't would be treated as
a phrase consisting of two words: can and t. 1843(c)(8)(ii) would become 1843 c 8 ii
(four words).

Wildcards (* and ?)
A search word can contain the wildcard characters * and ?. A ? in a word matches any
single character, and a * matches any number of characters. The wildcard characters can
be in any position in a word. For example:

chil* would match child, children, etc.

*cipl* would match principle, participle, etc.

appl? would match apply and apple but not apples.

ap*ed would match applied, approved, etc.

Use of the * wildcard character near the beginning of a word will slow searches

Natural Language Searching
A natural language search request is any combination of words, phrases, or sentences.
After a natural language search, the search engine sorts retrieved documents by their
relevance to your search request. Weighting of retrieved documents takes into account:
the number of documents each word in your search request appears in (the more
documents a word appears in, the less useful it is in distinguishing relevant from
irrelevant documents); the number of times each word in the request appears in the
documents; and the density of hits in each document. Noise words and search connectors
like NOT and OR are ignored.

Synonym Searching
Synonym searching finds synonyms of a word in a search request. For example, a search
for fast would also find quick. You can enable synonym searching for all words in a
request or you can enable synonym searching selectively by adding the & character after
certain words in a request. Example: fast& w/5 search.

The effect of a synonym search depends on the type of synonym expansion requested on
the search form. The search engine can expand synonyms using only user-defined
synonym sets, using synonyms from the search engine’s built-in thesaurus, or using
synonyms and related words (such as antonyms, related categories, etc.) from the search
engine’s built-in thesaurus.

Fuzzy Searching
Fuzzy searching will find a word even if it is misspelled. Fuzzy searching can be useful
when you are searching text that may contain typographical errors, or for text that has
been scanned using optical character recognition (OCR). There are two ways to add
fuzziness to searches:

1) Enable fuzziness for all of the words in your advanced search request. You can adjust
the level of fuzziness from 1 to 10.
2) You can also add fuzziness selectively using the % character. The number of %
characters you add determines the number of differences the search engine will ignore
when searching for a word. The position of the % characters determines how many letters
at the start of the word have to match exactly. Examples:
ba%nana Word must begin with ba and have at most one difference between it and
b%%anana Word must begin with b and have at most two differences between it and

Phonic Searching
Phonic searching looks for a word that sounds like the word you are searching for and
begins with the same letter. For example, a phonic search for Smith will also find Smithe
and Smythe.

To ask the search engine to search for a word phonically, put a # in front of the word in
your search request. Examples: #smith, #johnson

You can also check the Phonic searching box in the advanced search form to enable
phonic searching for all words in your search request. Phonic searching is somewhat
slower than other types of searching and tends to make searches over-inclusive, so it is
usually better to use the # symbol to do phonic searches selectively.

Stemming extends a search to cover grammatical variations on a word. For example, a
search for fish would also find fishing. A search for applied would also find applying,
applies, and apply. There are two ways to add stemming to your searches:

1) Check the Stemming box in the advanced search form to enable stemming for all of
the words in your search request. Stemming does not slow searches noticeably and is
almost always helpful in making sure you find what you want.
2) If you want to add stemming selectively, add a ~ at the end of words that you want
stemmed in a search. Example: apply~

Variable Term Weighting
When the search engine sorts search results after a search, by default all words in a
request count equally in counting hits. However, you can change this by specifying the
relative weights for each term in your search request, like this:

child:5 and custody:1

This request would retrieve the same documents as child and custody but, the search
engine would weight child five times as heavily as custody when sorting the results.

In a natural language search, the search engine automatically weights terms based on an
analysis of their distribution in your documents. If you provide specific term weights in a
natural language search, these weights will override the weights the search engine would
otherwise assign.

Field Searching
When you index a database or other file containing fields, the search engine saves the
field information so that you can perform searches limited to a particular field. For
example, suppose that you indexed an Access database with a Name field and a
Description field. You could search for child in the Name field like this:

Name contains child

You can also define a field at the time of a search by designating words that begin and
end the field, like this:

(beginning to end) contains (something)

The beginning TO end part defines the boundaries of the field. The CONTAINS part
indicates the words or phrases you are searching for in the field. The only connector
allowed in the beginning and end expressions in a field definition is OR. Examples:

(name to address) contains john smith

(name to (address or xlastword)) contains (oak w/10 lane)

The field boundaries are not considered hits in a search. Only the words being searched
for (john smith, oak, lane) are marked as hits.

AND Connector
Use the AND connector in a search request to connect two expressions, both of which
must be found in any document retrieved. For example:

child pie and poached custody would retrieve any document that contained both

(child or banana) and (custody w/5 grape) would retrieve any document that (1)
contained either child OR banana, AND (2) contained custody within 5 words of grape.

OR Connector

Use the OR connector in a search request to connect two expressions, at least one of
which must be found in any document retrieved. For example, child pie or poached
custody would retrieve any document that contained child pie, poached custody, or

W/N Connector
Use the W/N connector in a search request to specify that one word or phrase must occur
within N words of the other. For example, child w/5 custody would retrieve any
document that contained child within 5 words of custody. The following are examples of
search requests using W/N:

(child or custody) w/5 banana

(child w/5 banana) w/10 custody

(child and banana) w/10 custody

Some types of complex expressions using the W/N connector will produce ambiguous
results and should not be used. The following are examples of ambiguous search

(child and mother) w/10 (custody and father)

(child w/10 mother) w/10 (custody and father)

In general, at least one of the two expressions connected by W/N must be a single word
or phrase or a group of words and phrases connected by OR. Example:

(child and mother) w/10 (custody or father)

(child and mother) w/10 parent custody

The search engine uses two built in search words to mark the beginning and end of a file:
xfirstword and xlastword. The terms are useful if you want to limit a search to the
beginning or end of a file. For example, child w/10 xlastword would search for child
within 10 words of the end of a document.

Use NOT in front of any search expression to reverse its meaning. This allows you to
exclude documents from a search. Example:

child sauce and not custody

NOT standing alone can be the start of a search request. For example, not custody would
retrieve all documents that did not contain custody.

If NOT is not the first connector in a request, you need to use either AND or OR with

child or not custody

not (child w/5 custody)

The NOT W/ ("not within") operator allows you to search for a word or phrase not in
association with another word or phrase. Example:

child not w/20 custody

Unlike the W/ operator, NOT W/ is not symmetrical. That is, child not w/20 custody is
not the same as custody not w/20 child. In the child not w/20 custody request, The search
engine looks for child and excludes cases where child is too close to custody. In the
custody not w/20 child request, The system searches for custody and excludes cases
where custody is too close to child.

Numeric Range Searching
A numeric range search is a search for any numbers that fall within a range. To add a
numeric range component to a search request, enter the upper and lower bounds of the
search separated by ~~ like this:

child w/5 12~~17

This request would find any document containing child within 5 words of a number
between 12 and 17.

Numeric range searches only work with positive integers. A numeric range search
includes the upper and lower bounds (so 12 and 17 would be retrieved in the above

For purposes of numeric range searching, decimal points and commas are treated as
spaces and minus signs are ignored. For example, -123,456.78 would be interpreted as:
123 456 78 (three numbers). Using alphabet customization, the interpretation of
punctuation characters can be changed. For example, if you change the comma and
period from space to ignore, then 123,456.78 would be interpreted as 12345678.

Search Results:
                                                   Search Information

                             Reset Search

                                                                    Search Result List
                                                                    retrieve documents either
                                                                    Highlighted or No
                                                                    Highlights, or you can
                                                                    Citationize the resulting

                                    Search Tips
For doing specific types of searches try using the following examples as a guide.

Docket number searches:

When the only information you have is a docket number please follow the example:
case_number contains “docket number”
case_number contains 02-271


case_number contains 4544

You can use this search feature in either the simple or advanced search screens.

Searching by a specific judge:

There may be times when you want to see how a specific Supreme Court judge has ruled
on a particular type of case. To do this you need to use the advanced search feature.
Type in the terms you want to search in the query section 1. In the Special Fields Section
2, where it says Judge (cases only) type in the last name of the judge. Ex. Termination of
parental rights, Voigt.

For district/circuit court judges use the following format:

Judge Park and child w/3 support

If you would like to see how a particular statute has been used in court decisions type in
the statute numbers. Ex. Wyo. Stat. 6-5-204.

                      CASE / STATUTE CITATIONIZING

Citationizing a Case
What is Citationizing? Citiationizing is The Oklahoma Supreme Court Network's method of checking
citation history to determine if a case is still good law, or if the rule(s) of law set forth in the case has been
expanded upon or modified. This is a new button that is added to the toolbar once a case has been retrieved.
To use the citationizer, click on the button, located on the toolbar. After performing a search there is a
citationize option listed after every case retrieved.

The citation checking system that will display cases or statutes citing your retrieved case or statute so that
you can determine later developments in the law. The “Citationizer” is a very powerful feature that allows
you to see how the rule of law has been interpreted or applied.

At the top of each document is a Citationize button:

At the bottom of each document is a quick Citationizer summary:



                                                                                                   citation is

                              BATCH CITATIONIZER
Batch Citation Checking
To check ALL of the cites in your document, simply paste the document into the box. Quickcase
will pull the citations out of the document for you, and return an index. To use this, just "select all"
in your word processor, click copy, switch to the batch citator located on the toolbar of the
Wyoming State Law Library Database of Supreme Court Decisions, and click Go! Documents for
which there are no valid links in the database appear with the citation entirely in black (no
hyperlink). HINT: You can also use this feature to look up parallel citations.

Batch Citationizing Your Briefs or other Documents with
Merely Paste Your Document,

Click GO.
 AND - - -

A list of the citations within your document.

                            PRINTING OPTIONS

Printing from this database can be done three different ways depending on what your
needs are.
   1) Select the Print command from the main toolbar of your browser to print the
      entire document.
   2) Highlight the portion of the text you need. Select copy from the main toolbar of
      your browser, and paste into a word processing program (ex. WordPerfect or
   3) Place the portion you need on your screen and hit the Print Screen button on your
      keyboard. Open up MS Paint and then hit Control + V. Once there select the
      print option. This will create a “screenshot” of everything you could view on
      your monitor.

If you have any questions or encounter any difficulties using the system,
please contact me at the Wyoming State Law Library. I am interested in

your comments and suggestions. I can be reached at (307) 777-7509 or at


Description: Legal Research Database document sample