Sign the petition today to stop the destruction of these vital records:
Click here to read the Administrative Office news release: FEDERAL REGISTER ANNOUNCEMENT.pdf
ISPLA has learned of a shocking development within the US District Court system that will eliminate the ability of professional investigators to search federal court records created before 1995. The implications of this new policy are far reaching and potentially devastating to the people we represent.
The Administrative Office (AO) of the United States Courts has announced that on April 1, 2011, it will begin destroying archived records of federal district court cases which were filed after 1969 and which were archived during the period 1970 to 1995. For example, more than 25,000 cases from the Western District of Michigan alone will be destroyed. In addition, myriad other federal records are also slated to shredded, including records of the Federal Maritime Commission, Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, and the US Bankruptcy Court.
When a case filed in the district court has been closed, the file is maintained by the District Court for a period of time, but it is ultimately transferred to the National Archives. To reduce the cost of preserving these records, the AO has decided to discard approximately 80% of them. The AO has no plans to preserve these records electronically. Only the Judgments and the docket sheets of the discarded cases will be kept.
Imagine the consequences of this proposed action. Background checks on litigants, potential business partners and prospective employees will be seriously hampered; critical appellate information will be erased;
The wanton destruction of an entire generation of public records is utterly unacceptable and action must be taken to prohibit this from occurring.
Since there was no public comment period, ISPLA is preparing a response to the National Archive and Records Administration and will represent the profession in objecting to this poorly conceived policy.