Wisconsin Lawyer: Citing Unpublished Opinions in Wisconsin State and Federal Tribunals: The Mechanics of Citation:

State Bar of Wisconsin

Sign In

Top Link Bar

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer

News & Pubs Search

Advanced

    Citing Unpublished Opinions in Wisconsin State and Federal Tribunals: The Mechanics of Citation

    The mechanics of citation.

    Kira Zaporski; Mia Sefarbi

    Share This:

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 77, No. 11, November 2004

    The Mechanics of Citation

    Type of Decision Relevant Bluebook Rules Examples of Citation Format
    Unpublished Wisconsin Court of Appeals Decisions and Wisconsin Supreme Court Orders:
    Unpublished court of appeals decision with parallel citation to commercial vendor.

    Unpublished court of appeals decision with parallel citation to commercial vendor that has not assigned a unique database identifier.
    Rule 10.8.1 (pending and unreported cases generally) Rule 10.4 (court and jurisdiction) Rule 18 (when parallel citation to electronic database is required) Rule 18.1 (use reliable commercial vendor) Rule 18.1.1 (electronic database format) State v. Klema, No. 03-2250-CR, 2004 WL 524895 (Wis. Ct. App. Mar. 18, 2004).

    State v. Klema
    , No. 03-2250-CR (Wis. Ct. App. Mar. 18, 2004) (Loislaw.com, Wis. Case Law (unpublished)).
    Unpublished court of appeals decision with pinpoint cites. Rule 18.1.1 (use of paragraph and screen or page numbers) Rule 10.6.1 (statement regarding weight of authority may be added) State v. Klema, No. 03-2250-CR, 2004 WL 524895, ¶4 (Wis. Ct. App. Mar. 18, 2004). State v. Neil, No. 99-0523-CR, 1999 Wisc. App. LEXIS 895, at *3 (Wis. Ct. App. Aug. 17, 1999) (unpublished decision). Note: Court of appeals summary orders might not have parallel citations.
    Unpublished court of appeals decision recommended for publication. Rule 10.6.1 (use of statement regarding weight of authority) State v. Jackson, No. 03-1805-CR (Wis. Ct. App. May 18, 2004) (recommended for publication) (Loislaw.com, Wis. Case Law). Note: Addition of clarification that opinion is unpublished or recommended for publication concerns weight of authority.
    Unpublished court of appeals decision available on the Internet, but not yet uploaded to a commercial database. Rule 18.2.2 (when Internet cite is appropriate) Rule 18.2.1(b) (use of "available at") Rule 18.2.1(f) (citation structure) State v. Delange, (PDF, 24KB) No. 03-2473-CR (Wis. Ct. App. May 13, 2004) (unpublished decision). Note 1: Include "available at" if a print resource was reviewed. Omit "available at" if only an Internet source was used. Note 2: Unpublished slip opinions generally are available from the court of appeals' Web site at 9 a.m. on day of release but generally are not uploaded by commercial vendors until 24-48 hours later. Thus, although in constructing parallel citations a commercial database is generally preferred, an Internet citation may be the only option when citing a newly released decision.
    Unpublished supreme court order without parallel citation to a commercial vendor. Rule 10.8.1
    Rule 10.4
    Rule 10.6.1
    DeChant v. Monarch Life Ins., No. 93-2220 (Wis. Dec. 16, 1994) (unpublished order). Note: Unpublished supreme court orders might not have parallel citations. Since SCR 80.02 does not provide a citation format for unpublished supreme court orders, cite them in the same way as unpublished court of appeals dispositions.

    The Mechanics of Citation

    Court of Appeals Opinions Ordered Published
    Type of Decision Relevant Bluebook Rules Examples of Citation Format
    Court of appeals opinion ordered published and available on a commercial database. Rule 10.3.1 (citation prior to print publication requires parallel citation to electronic database)
    Rule 18.1.1 (electronic database citation)
    State v. DeLain, 2004 WI App 79, ¶5, 2004 Wisc. App. LEXIS 251 (Mar. 23, 2004). Note: SCR 80.02 requires pinpoint citations to paragraph numbers, not to page numbers.
    Court of appeals opinion ordered published and not yet uploaded to a commercial database. Rule 18.2.2 (Internet source acceptable parallel cite if no commercial citation available) State v. Carey, (PDF, 36 KB) 2004 WI App 83

    The Mechanics of Citation

    Type of Decision Relevant Bluebook Rules Examples of Citation Format
    Trial Court Decisions
    Trial court decision Rule 10.8.1 Rule 10.4(b) (identifying court) State v. Leflore, No. 00-CF-005208, slip op. at 2 (Wis. Cir. Ct. Milwaukee County Mar. 11, 2002).
    .Subsequent appellate history of trial court decision Rule 10.7 (subsequent history)
    Rule 10.8.1
    Rule 10.3.1
    Rule 10.6.1
    State v. Arneson, No. 99-CM-843 (Wis. Cir. Ct. Columbia County June 8, 2001), rev'd, No. 01-1837-CR, 2001 WL 1658939 (Wis. Ct. App. Dec. 28, 2001) (unpublished decision). Note: Addition of clarification that subsequent history is unpublished concerns weight of authority.
    Seventh Circuit:
    Unpublished orders of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Rule 10.8.1 (pending and unreported cases) Note: Bluebook citation rules for unpublished federal cases are identical to those applied to unpublished state court decisions. Refer to above chart references for additional relevant rules. Shea v. Smith, No. 99-C-0456-C, 2000 WL 1875733 (7th Cir. 2000) (table) (unpublished opinion). Note: If Federal Reporter citation not available, use docket number.
    Wis. Stat. section 809.19(1)(e) and the Notice to Members of the Bar, 74 Wis. 2d xxxix (1976) require formatting citations of unpublished opinions in Wisconsin state forums in accordance with The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (Harvard Law Review Ass'n et al. eds., 17th ed. 2000) or current edition.



To view or add comment, Login