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Q & A: Using the Internet

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
I doubt that this is relevant to the dealings of this webpage, but I was wondering if you could help me find a way to find out how to look up court cases. What I mean is that for my political economics class we have to find out info on a court case we’ve picked and then do a dialogue or a report or whatever on it. I’ve been through tons of websites about my case, Mapp v. Ohio, and cound not find any info that I didn’t already know. I always thought the internet was to make things easier for you to find out about something, clearly I’m wrong. Anyways, if you can, can you please help me find a way to get information on court cases, supreme court I believe. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! :)
- Jennifer Hanley (age 15)
Round Lake High School, v
A:

Jennifer -

The internet can be a tremendous resource if you know where to look. But can take a lot of practice for your searches to turn up what you want. One trick you can use is to run more searches for specific details. For example, you've probably searched for "Mapp vs. Ohio" and gotten a lot of stuff you already knew. So try running a search for the exact details you want.

Another thing you can do is to run more general searches than exactly what you're looking for. I tried a search on for "supreme court" and archive. This gave me some links to sites with archives of past supreme court cases. Most archive sites are searchable, which is where I found that may be useful for you.

However, you should be aware that the information you want isn't always going to be out there. When I was doing my search, I found an official archive database by the government including all the details on cases going back to 1992. But cases before that aren't there because the internet was not really established and actively used until around then. Since the case you're looking for occured in 1961, you probably won't be able to find a 'play-by-play' description online. If you need that much detail, you'd need to contact the federal court archives directly.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

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