UH Law Library's Blog

September 15, 2010

Citing to State Statutes Found on Casemaker

Filed under: Bluebook, Tips — Tags: — uhlawlibrary @ 10:52 am

The way to cite to state statutes found on Casemaker is to begin with B5.1.2, State Statutes.  (Note that you are expected to cite to statutes currently in force according the Rule 12.1, which is the parent rule of B5.1.)  B5.1.2 leads us to Table 1.3 to find the official and unofficial statutory compilations for our state.  Casemaker uses the information provided by the state legislature whether annotated or unannotated.  (Typically state statutes are unannotated with some exceptions as in Hawaii where the official code is annotated.)

According to B5.1.2, Table 1.3 lists the official code first followed by the unofficial codes. Here’s where confusion can begin because some states have stopped publishing their own statutes and have designated the code (usually by statute) produced by legal publishers like West and LexisNexis to be the official statutory compilation for that state.  When that happens, it can change what information goes into the parenthetical.  For example, T1.3 Maine indicates West’s Maine Revised Statutes, listed first, is the official code, but the citation parenthetical does not include West in it as it would if this were an unofficial code.  See T1.3 Hawaii for an example of unofficial codes and how the parenthetical typically changes to include the publisher and the date when it is West or LexisNexis.  Of course you can find numerous examples where The Bluebook does not maintain this consistency, so the general rule is to make your citation conform to the citation in T1.3.  Yes, be robotic about it!

The final problem with the parenthetical involves Rule 18.3.2 and Table 9.  “[G]ive parenthetically the name of the database and information regarding the currency of the database as provided by the database itself . . . ” [emphasis added].  The examples show citations to West, Westlaw; LEXIS; Versuslaw; Loislaw and Deering, LEXIS.  Casemaker is not there.  But, patterning the parenthetical after Versuslaw and Loislaw, two databases that don’t have the market share of either Westlaw or LEXIS, would be the option I would choose.  For example, let’s assume the currency statement on Casemaker read “Current through 2009 Legislative Session.”  The parenthetical would be (Casemaker through 2009 Legis. Sess.).  I used T9, Legislative Documents, to abbreviate the terms I could in the parenthetical – Legislative and Session.

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