Criminal Justice Resources: Finding Court Cases

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Finding Court Cases in Lexis-Nexis

Full list of Law Databases - A look at LexisNexis Academic Legal

To search for a specific federal or state court case, choose “Search by Content Type” and examine the options under the Legal heading.  (To search by topic, enter keywords such as "sentencing reform" or "Measure 11").

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Interpreting Legal Citations


United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 125 S. Ct. 738, 160 L. Ed. 2d 621 (2005)

  • In this citation, the names of the parties are United States and Booker; thus, the case name is United States v. Booker.  Typically the plaintiff is listed first, and the defendant second.
  • The next part of the citation tells you where to locate it.  This citation tells us that this case is reported in volume 543 of the United States Reports (abbreviated U.S.) and that the case begins on page 220.  This is the official citation for this case. 
  • Most cases are reported in more than one place.  The official citation will always be listed first, and then followed by citations for anywhere else that case was reported.  For instance, this case was also published in the Supreme Court Reporter (S.Ct.), and in the United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers’ Edition (L. Ed. 2d).  The parallel citations give the volume and page number for where you would find this case in those sources.
  • The citation will also give you the year that a decision was reached: in this case, 2005.
  • Sometimes you will encounter the symbol § which means “Section”.  When searching Lexis-Nexis, replace the symbol with SECTION or SEC (so 5 USCS § 5901 becomes 5 USCS SEC 5901).

Citations must be formatted correctly, including punctuation, for a successful search.  For more information see the citation help page in Lexis-Nexis Academic:

Lexis-Nexis Legal Citation Formats

Tip: If you are not sure what the abbreviation in a citation stands for....Google it!


Full list of Law Databases - A look at HeinOnline Database

Hein Online indexes legal and legislative information available for U.S. states and territories. HeinOnline has four major library collections: the Law Journal Library, the Federal Register Library, the Treaties and Agreements Library, and the U.S. Supreme Court Library.

Know what you are searching. Use the to learn more about the resource.

Have a specific case? Use the option to find a court case. Sample citation: 543 U.S. 220, 125 S. Ct. 738, 160 L. Ed. 2d 621 (2005)

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