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2010-08-18 Zernik, J: Data Mining of Online Judicial Records of the Networked US Federal Courts, International Journal on Social Media: Monitoring, Measurement, Mining, 1:69-83 (2010)

2010-08-18 Zernik, J: Data Mining of Online Judicial Records of the Networked US Federal Courts, International Journal on Social Media: Monitoring, Measurement, Mining, 1:69-83 (2010)

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Paper title: Data Mining of Online Judicial Records of the Networked US Federal Courts
Abstract:
The US federal courts have completed a decade-long project of networking coast to coast. Data mining was conducted through the online public access system to examine validity and integrity of records and of the system as a whole. Many records were not verified at all. Moreover, records were universally missing their authentication counterparts, required by law to render them valid and effectual. The authentication counterparts – previously public records – were now excluded from public access. Records, which were today posted online in the public access system, included both valid and invalid, void records. However, the public was unable to discern the difference. The system as a whole was deemed invalid. Case management systems of the courts must be subjected to certified, functional logic verification. Mandated system transparency should permit ongoing data mining, and the computing/informatics community should lead the way in monitoring integrity of the courts in the digital era.
Key words:
Relational Databases; Functional Logic Verification; Case Management Systems; United States Courts; Human Rights; Los Angeles; California; United States; Justice System; Law; Fraud; Corruption; Judges
Bibliographical note(s) of autho
Paper title: Data Mining of Online Judicial Records of the Networked US Federal Courts
Abstract:
The US federal courts have completed a decade-long project of networking coast to coast. Data mining was conducted through the online public access system to examine validity and integrity of records and of the system as a whole. Many records were not verified at all. Moreover, records were universally missing their authentication counterparts, required by law to render them valid and effectual. The authentication counterparts – previously public records – were now excluded from public access. Records, which were today posted online in the public access system, included both valid and invalid, void records. However, the public was unable to discern the difference. The system as a whole was deemed invalid. Case management systems of the courts must be subjected to certified, functional logic verification. Mandated system transparency should permit ongoing data mining, and the computing/informatics community should lead the way in monitoring integrity of the courts in the digital era.
Key words:
Relational Databases; Functional Logic Verification; Case Management Systems; United States Courts; Human Rights; Los Angeles; California; United States; Justice System; Law; Fraud; Corruption; Judges
Bibliographical note(s) of autho

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Categories:Business/Law, Finance
Published by: Human Rights Alert, NGO on Sep 28, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/01/2014

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 A template for SoNet papers. (Do not erase `red' parts.)
Paper title:
Data Mining of Online Judicial Records of theNetworked US Federal Courts
 Delivered: July 20, 2010
 Basic information about author(s): Name(s): JosephSurname: Zernik Workplace: Human Rights Alert (NGO) Address: PO Box 526, La Verne, California 91750 E-mail: jz12345@earthlink.net  
 
 Abstract:
The US federal courts have completed a decade-long project of networking coast to coast. Data miningwas conducted through the online public access system to examine validity and integrity of records andof the system as a whole. Many records were not verified at all. Moreover, records were universallymissing their authentication counterparts, required by law to render them valid and effectual. Theauthentication counterparts – previously public records – were now excluded from public access.Records, which were today posted online in the public access system, included both valid and invalid,void records. However, the public was unable to discern the difference. The system as a whole wasdeemed invalid. Case management systems of the courts must be subjected to certified, functionallogic verification. Mandated system transparency should permit ongoing data mining, and thecomputing/informatics community should lead the way in monitoring integrity of the courts in thedigital era.
Key words: Relational Databases; Functional Logic Verification; Case Management Systems; United States Courts; Human Rights; Los Angeles; California; United States; Justice System; Law;Fraud; Corruption; Judges Bibliographical note(s) of author(s):
Professor Zernik served on the faculty of the University of Connecticut, University of SouthernCalifornia, and University of California, Los Angeles.In 2010 he founded Human Rights Alert (NGO), dedicated to discovering, archiving, and disseminatingevidence of Human Rights violations by the justice systems of the State of California and the UnitedStates in Los Angeles, California, and beyond. Special emphasis is given to the unique role of computerized case management systems in the precipitous deterioration of integrity of the justicesystem.
 Body of a paper:
Digitally signedby Joseph Zernik DN: cn=JosephZernik, o, ou,email=jz12345@earthlink.net,c=USDate: 2010.08.1823:48:55 +03'00'
 
Paper vs Digital Administration of the Courts
i
The Transition of the US courts to digital administration was executed over a comparatively short time,through a large-scale project, managed by the Administrative Office of the US Courts, an arm of theUS judicial branch. Dual systems were established: PACER – for public access to court records, andCM/ECF – for case management/electronic court filing. The systems are effectively a series of relational databases.
With it – a sea change was affected in court procedures. In contrast, proceduresfor paper administration of the English speaking courts evolved over centuries, and formed thefoundation of due process and fair hearings rights. Disambiguation of court procedures and courtrecords was the cornerstone for such rights. Therefore, the current report employed data mining toexamine the newly established digital administration of the US courts for the following fundamentalsof due process: a) valid,published rules of court, b) public access to judicial records – to inspect and tocopy, and c) verification
1
and authentication of judicial records, including notice and service of  judicial papers. Finally – validity of the systems as a whole as assessed.
Valid Published Rules of Court 
Procedures of the US courts under paper administration evolved from the English legal system, andwere established in
US Code of Civil/ Criminal Procedures
 
,
and published
 Local Rules of Court,
which the courts were authorized to adopt,
v
subject to prior publication of such rules for publiccomment and challenge. The transition to digital administration of the US courts inevitably entailed asea change in court procedures, which had to be established by law or by the publication of new localrules of courts. The current report documents the failure of the US courts to publish their new rulespertaining to the new digital procedures.
Public Access to Judicial Records – to Inspect and to Copy 
The right for public accessto judicial records – to inspect and to copy – was well established in bothUS and in common law.
 
Judicial paper records, which were maintained by the Clerk of the Court includedindividual
Court Files
together with
 Books of Courts,
including, but not limited to the
 
Court 
 Dockets
- logs of all valid proceedings and all valid records pertaining to
the respective court files by the clerk 
. The transitionto digital administration of the courts entailed substantial changes, not by necessity, of the well-established set of  judicial records. Moreover, through differential individual authorities, it became much easier to conceal digital judicial records. The current report documents universal denial of public access to critical judicial records,which are the authentication counterparts of individual court records in all courts that were examined.
Figure 1
Historic, paper-based
 Books of Court 
- Criminal Dockets; City of Santa Monica, California
 
Verification and Authentication of Judicial Records 
Verification by a judge and authentication by a clerk of court orders and judgments were a prerequisite
1
D
ocument verification
refers to a signature - “wet”, or digital - by an authorized person – a symbolaffixed with the intent of taking responsibility in the common law sense;
System Verification
, or
System Validation
refers to logic verification in the computer science sense.
 
for entry of court records as honest, valid, and effectual court papers in court files and dockets. Theserequirements were founded inthe
US Constitution
, in early
 Acts of US Congress
, and in the
US Code of Civil/ Criminal Procedures
.
,
. Notice and service of judicial records - court minutes, orders, and judgments were an integral part of the authentication procedures mandated on the clerks for all courtminutes, orders, and judgments. The clerks would mail out to all parties in a case certified,authenticated copies of all judicial records, jointly satisfying both the authentication
 per se
and thenotice and service requirements. In the transition to digital administration of the courts, newprocedures were devised for the digital verification by judges, for the purported certification of entry of the records, and for the construction of dockets by the clerks. Additionally, service and notice weremade possible through electronic mail. The current report documents deficient or invalidauthentication of court records, effectively eliminating any valid certification by the clerk, anduniversal denial of public access to the authentication records.
Proposed Solutions 
The current report documents compromised integrity of the US courts, undermined through theinstallation of invalid, unverified digital administration systems. Solutions are readily available, whichcould make digital administration of the courts honest and secure, by far superior to paperadministration of the courts. The relational databases,
which form the foundation of digitaladministration of the US courts, must be subjected to certified, functional logic verification.Transparency should be required, to allow ongoing data mining by the public at large – for monitoringintegrity of the courts. The computing/informatics community should assume a leading role in thesafeguard of human rights and democratic nature of society in the digital era.
Objective
The current report investigated through data mining the online public records of the US courts andevaluated the safeguards for the fundamentals of due process and fair hearings in the transition frompaper to digital administration of the courts. Moreover, the report examined the potential role of datamining of online public records of the courts as an essential civic duty – public monitoring of theintegrity of the courts.
The Systems
PACER,
x
the online system for Public Access to Court Electronic Records of the US Courts, permitspublic access at pay to records of the US district courts and some US courts of appeals, including theindices, dockets, calendars, and records of the various cases. CM/ECF,
the online system for CaseManagement/Electronic Court Filing of the US Courts, permits the courts themselves and attorneys,who are authorized by a given US court in a given case, tofile records.
Pro se
litigants – thoserepresenting themselves in court, including most prisoners
xii 
and others, who petition the US courtsfor protection of Human, Constitutional, and Civil Rights, are routinely denied access to CM/ECF, andare required to file records on paper. They are likewise permitted access to court records throughPACER alone. CM/ECF also provides notice and service of records, only to those authorized, viaemail.
Figure 2 
CM/ECF
 
– the Case Management/Electronic Case Filing system of the United States courts.

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