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Resources for Media Representatives
and the Public

Handout from November 12, 2014 media briefing


Media Liaison: Robert M. Farrell (617) 748-9165

Media requesting access to a courtroom for a high profile hearing should contact the court at Media@mad.uscourts.gov

ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE COURT

LINK: http://www.mad.uscourts.gov/resources/guides-pubs.htm

ATTORNEY HANDBOOK

The Clerk’s Office has prepared an Attorney Handbook, intended to provide the public and the Bar of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts with information needed to conduct business with the Court.

This reference guide will also be helpful to the media, answering questions on many topics.

LINK: http://www.mad.uscourts.gov/attorneys/pdf/Attorney_Guide.pdf

CM/ECF

The District Court for the District of Massachusetts uses an electronic case filing system (CM/ECF or Case Management/Electronic Case Files system). Public information entered into CM/ECF is available through PACER.

LINK: (to PACER) http://ecf.mad.uscourts.gov/

PACER Training Site

COURT REPORTER CONTACT INFORMATION

LINK: http://www.mad.uscourts.gov/utils/documents/phonelistpublic.pdf

COURT STAFF CONTACTS

A telephone directory is available on the Court’s website. This directory is updated quarterly.

LINK: http://www.mad.uscourts.gov/utils/documents/phonelistpublic.pdf

FEDERAL JUDICIAL CENTER

The Federal Judicial Center is the education and research agency for the federal courts. Congress created the FJC in 1967 to promote improvements in judicial administration in the courts. The FJC website contains the results of Center research on federal court operations and procedures and court history, as well as selected educational materials produced for judges and court employees.

LINK: http://www.fjc.gov

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The current FAQ page is a link to the Administrative Office website.

LINK: http://www.uscourts.gov/faq.html

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

The Court’s website has two glossaries: “Glossary of Legal Terms - Criminal” and “Glossary of Legal Terms- General.”

LINK: http://www.mad.uscourts.gov/resources/guides-pubs.htm

GUIDE TO INFORMATION RESOURCES FOR MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PUBLIC

LINK: Guide Book

JOURNALIST'S GUIDE TO THE FEDERAL COURTS

The Administrative Office has published a “A Journalist’s Guide to the Federal Courts,” which is intended to assist representatives of the media assigned to court coverage.

LINK: http://www.uscourts.gov/News/JournalistsGuide.aspx

OPINIONS SEARCH

The Court makes recent opinions available at no charge through PACER.

LINK: http://www.mad.uscourts.gov/RSS_opinion.htm

The U.S. Government Printing Office's FDsys system provides free, full-text searching of many government publications, including United States District Court Opinions. Anyone can access FDsys at: http://www.fdsys.gov.

PACER AND US PARTY/CASE INDEX

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy Courts, and from the U.S. Party/Case Index. Electronic access is available for most courts by registering with the PACER Service Center, the judiciary's centralized registration, billing, and technical support center at http://pacer.gov.

  • Free PACER Training Site
    A free-of-charge website offers access to a training database through the PACER service. The site features data from real cases in the Western District of New York over a six-month period in 2007. The training site can be accessed under the Frequently Used section (PACER Training Site link) on the PACER website at: http://www.pacer.gov. No registration is required and a login and password are posted on the training site’s Welcome Page.

    Users can search the database to find cases to explore. As searches are conducted, a transaction receipt display will explain what charge would have been accrued on the PACER service. Reviewing the receipts will help users understand their PACER charges and improve their searching techniques to minimize charges.

 

PHOTOGRAPHING, RECORDING AND BROADCASTING

Local Rule 83.3(a) states: “Except as specifically provided in these rules or by order of the court, no person shall take any photograph, make any recording, or make any broadcast by radio, television, or other means, in the course of or in connection with any proceedings in this court, on any floor of any building on which proceedings of this court are or, in the regular course of the business of the court, may be held.”

PRESS ID CARD APPLICATION, INSTRUCTIONS

The non-transferable Media Identification Card provides an exception to the Court’s Policy regarding Electronic Devices. A valid Media Identification Card will entitle an individual to bring to a courtroom a laptop with a silent keyboard and/or a cell phone that must be off or in silent mode while in a courtroom. All Media Identification Cards will be subject to the provisions of Local Rule 83.3 that prohibits photographing, recording and broadcasting.

Press Credentials Application, Instructions and Requirements

PRESS RELEASES

As events warrant, the Clerk of Court, at the direction of the Chief Judge or his designee may issue a press release. Any such release will be distributed to the media via email and posted to the Court’s website.

The Administrative Office of the US Courts also maintains an Office of Public Affairs. The telephone number for that office is 202-502-2600.

PRIVACY INFORMATION (E-GOVERNMENT ACT)

On December 17, 2002, President Bush signed into law the “E-Government Act of 2002,” Pub. L. No. 107-347.

In compliance with Local Rule 5.3, attorneys and pro se litigants are not to include sensitive information in any document filed with the Court unless such inclusion is necessary and relevant to the case.

Counsel may be directed to file a redacted version electronically, and a complete document in hard copy.

SPECIAL ORDERS FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE ACCUSED OR THE LITIGANTS IN WIDELY PUBLICIZED OR SENSATIONAL CRIMINAL OR CIVIL CASES

Local Rule 83.2B states: “In a widely publicized or sensational criminal or civil case, the court, on motion of either party or on its own motion, may issue a special order governing such matters as extrajudicial statements by parties and witnesses likely to interfere with the rights of the accused or the litigants to a fair trial by an impartial jury, the seating and conduct in the courtroom of spectators and news media representatives, the management and sequestration of jurors and witnesses, and any other matters which the court may deem appropriate for inclusion in such an order.”

Any orders issued by the Court regarding such matters will be posted on the Court’s website as soon as possible and made available in the Clerk’s Office.

STATISTICAL INFORMATION

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts maintains statistical reports on various matters such as:

Annual Report of the Director: Judicial Business of the United States Courts
Federal Court Management Statistics
Federal Judicial Caseload Statistics
Statistical Tables for the Federal Judiciary

See the Administrative Office website for additional information and reports, including a list of statistical publications available through the Government Printing Office.

LINK: http://www.uscourts.gov/library/statisticalreports.html

UNDERSTANDING THE FEDERAL COURTS

This publication was developed by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to provide an introduction to the federal judicial system, its organization and administration, and its relationship to the legislative and executive branches of the government.

LINK: http://www.uscourts.gov/understand03/

VIRTUAL PRESS BOX (VPB)

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts can issue read-only Electronic Case Filing (ECF) accounts (to be known as a Virtual Press Box or VPB) to members of the press with a Media ID issued by this court. This expanded access to the court’s ECF system enables a reporter to receive e-mail notifications to their individual e-mail account when a document is filed in a case that he or she may choose to follow.

Application

Tips for Virtual Press Box Account Holders


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