In January of 2015, Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.Org posted a memorandum detailing problems with the federal PACER system that is supposed to provide Public Access to Court Electronic Records and outlining a three-pronged approach for addressing these problems this year.
More detail is available in the memorandum or in the video we made last fall, “Using PACER: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”
However, this is the first of three shorter posts where we will try to address:
- What is the “PACER Problem”?
- Why Should Congress Care About PACER?
- What Should be Done About the PACER Problem?
What is the “PACER problem”?
We define the “PACER Problem” as:
As a result of various problems with the PACER system, the average member of the public has no meaningful access to federal court records. This is the “PACER Problem.”
These “various problems” with the PACER system include:
PACER fees are too high, especially in the case of surprise charges for searches where the total charge for the search is not known until after you have incurred the charge. Using PACER’s search functionality is terrifying. You have no way of knowing what you will be charged until after you have incurred …