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Federal courts improve public access to documents

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The Judicial Conference of the United States has approved measures to make federal court documents and courtroom audio recordings more…

The Judicial Conference of the United States has approved measures to make federal court documents and courtroom audio recordings more accessible to the general public, the Blog of the Legal Times reported.

Conference members voted on Tuesday to increase the number of free documents available on PACER, the online access site for federal court documents, and expand a pilot program that provides digital audio recordings of court proceedings. Any person can now obtain $10 worth of free documents quarterly instead of annually. Audio recordings will now cost only $2.40 per recording instead of $26.

According to Judge Anthony Scirica, chair of the conference’s executive committee and chief judge of the US Court of Appeals in Philadelphia (3rd Cir.), the changes mean that 75% of PACER users would not need to pay anything for a year of use.

The Judicial Conference is the policy-making component of the federal judiciary and is comprised of the chief judges of the 13 circuit courts, a district judge from each of the 12 geographical circuits, and the chief judge of the Court of International Trade.