By Daniel Wiessner
ALBANY, N.Y., Jan 17 (Reuters) - The New York Court of
Appeals on Feb. 1 will launch a free, public online database of
case documents that will make it easier for lawyers to file
court papers, the court said.
In a memo sent to members of the bar on Thursday, Andrew
Klein, the court's chief clerk and legal counsel, said the
Public Access and Search System database, or Court-PASS, will
serve as a permanent archive of all cases filed after Jan. 1.
"Anyone may search or browse the Court-PASS database free of
charge, and may view or download documents from every stage of
the case at the Court of Appeals," Klein wrote.
The documents will include motion papers, briefs and
criminal and civil case records. Videos and transcripts of oral
arguments, as well as court decisions, also will be available.
Klein said Court-PASS will include a docket function that
contains a snapshot of basic information about a case, including
filing deadlines and attorney contact information.
A search function will allow users to comb the database by
subject matter or by using a party name, decision date or the
name of the authoring judge, among other criteria.
Documents and cases that are sealed by court order will not
be available on the database, Klein said, and confidential
information, such as Social Security or bank account numbers,
will be stripped from the documents.
The database will also provide a boon to attorneys,
according to the memo, by replacing the current system in which
documents must be placed on a CD or DVD and mailed to the court.
Instead, parties will be able to upload digital copies of
records directly to Court-PASS.
The new database is part of a larger push by state court
administrators to expand the electronic filing of court
documents. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has said that he wants
to move New York to an entirely paperless court system, such as
the one already used by federal courts.
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