PACER, the lovable depository of federal court records, is undergoing some changes as it implements a new electronic case filing system.
Because of the change, some older case files in some circuits have been completely wiped from the system. According to PACER, in some circuits you will not be able to get cases filed prior to 2012, others prior to 2008. The erasing of online court records, not surprisingly, has drawn criticism from lawyers and journalists.
Our friends at Virginia Lawyers Weekly, however, note the data dump will have no effect on cases in the 4th Circuit, which includes Maryland. The affected courts have “local legacy case management systems” that are no longer compatible with PACER, according to VLW. But the 4th Circuit “had the funds and foresight” to make the conversion when it switched to the current electronic case filing system seven years ago, according to VLW.
Those looking for the documents that have disappeared online can go straight to the courthouse, where paper copies will be available. All open cases and new filings will still be available online.