Twelve people from diverse backgrounds in the law, media, government, and academia have been selected for a new public user group to provide advice and feedback on ways to improve the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service and other electronic public access services provided by the Judiciary. The group is expected to hold its inaugural meeting in February.
The members of the Electronic Public Access Public User Group represent a cross section of PACER users. They were selected based on user type, level of experience using PACER, frequency of usage, an account status in good standing, and a commitment to collecting additional feedback from their peers.
The members are:
- James Christopher Allman, assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas;
- Adam Angione, Midwest and Northeast bureau chief, Courthouse News Services;
- JoAnn DiSanti, associate director of managing clerks, New York City-based White & Case law firm;
- Nicholas C. Goldrosen, a student at Williams College in Massachusetts;
- Todd Michael Higey, general counsel, Employment Screening Services, representing the National Association of Professional Background Screeners;
- Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.;
- Margo S. Kirchner, general counsel and development director, the Wisconsin Justice Initiative;
- Tyler G. Mills, team lead, Bloomberg Law;
- Robert F. Patrick, reporter with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch;
- Theresa A. Reiss, law librarian for the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress;
- Gabriella Sarnoff, assistant managing attorney at the Debevoise & Plimpton law firm headquartered in New York City; and
- Warren Thomas, principal at the Atlanta-based Meunier Carlin & Curfman law firm.
The group will discuss PACER and other Judiciary electronic public access services from the user’s perspective and will recommend ideas for improvements and expansion. Meeting agendas, minutes, and other relevant information will be available online.
Creation of the user group was announced in June and interested parties were invited to apply for membership. Members were selected by a panel of court and Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts staff.
PACER is an online service that allows instant access to virtually all documents filed by a judge or the parties in all U.S. courts of appeals, district courts, and bankruptcy courts. It provides a single point of access to more than 1 billion documents filed at more than 200 federal courts. In operation for more than 30 years, PACER today has about 3 million user accounts.
PACER is financed by user fees – 10 cents per search or accessed page – and is billed quarterly. PACER users who incur charges of $30 or less in a quarter do not pay anything. As a result, over 75 percent of active PACER users each quarter will not pay a bill. Federal courts also may grant fee-exempt access to those who qualify. In addition, parties in a case and the attorneys of record receive a free copy of documents filed, and judges’ written opinions can be accessed free of charge by anyone.