« Courts - "Decisions Open Door to Appeals of Plea Bargains " | Main | Law - "Kramer.com vs. Kramer.com" »

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Courts - "PACER federal court record fees exceed system costs"

From The Bay Citizen ("Your nonprofit source for no-holds-barred reporting about the Bay Area"), this Nov. 20th story by Shane Shifflett and Jennifer Gollan that begins:

The federal government has collected millions from the online Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, or PACER – nearly five times what it cost to run the system.

Between fiscal years 2006 and 2010, the government collected an average of $77 million a year from PACER fees, according to the most recent federal figures available.

Critics have derided PACER, saying the government has increased user fees over the years without making the system easier to use. The fees, some say, act as a deterrent to public access.

The Judiciary Appropriations Act of 1992 limited the use of PACER fees to “reimburse 
expenses
 incurred
 in 
providing these services.” But lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee have allowed the courts to invest in a wider range of information technology projects using fees collected from PACER. Fees for online access have risen from 7 cents to 10 cents per page.

“Given the lack of oversight for what the fees are being used for, the incentive for the courts is to raise fees,” said Stephen Schultze, associate director of Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy.

[ILB emphasis]

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 25, 2012 06:52 PM
Posted to Courts in general