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Ch. 2



(App. Div. 1995), not “(N.Y. App. Div. 1995).” If the reporter publishes the decisions of only one court (for example, S. Ct.), it is not necessary to list that court in the citation. Appendix A at the end of this Chapter summarizes the major citation styles.

You will sometimes want to refer to a particular page within the written opinion. If you are citing part of a case for the first time, put a comma after the number of the first page of the case and then put the specific page number (called a “pin cite”). For example, Allen v. Hardy, 478 U.S. 255, 259 (1986) indicates you are specifically referring to page 259 of the case Allen v. Hardy, which starts on page 255. If you have already given a citation to that particular case earlier in the paper, you can use a short form (abbreviated citation). The basic rule for a short form is to write the name of the first party in the case (for example, Allen), then the volume number of the reporter and the reporter abbreviation, and then the word “at,” followed by the page number of what you want to cite (478 U.S. at 259). So, the short form citation of this case would be: Allen, 478 U.S. at 259. If the first party is a governmental party, use the other party’s name. Thus, United States v. Rosario would be shortened to Rosario and never to United States.

Normally, you cite to the decision of the highest court that considered a case. For example, if the case was ultimately decided by the New York Court of Appeals (the highest state court in New York), it is not necessary to cite to the decisions of the lower New York courts that heard the same case. There may be times, however, that you wish to cite to the lower court decision. It would be appropriate to cite a lower court decision where the lower court considered an issue that a later court upheld without comment. However, if the case has been appealed to a higher court, this should be reflected in the citation. For example, Schmuck v. United States, 840 F.2d 384 (7th Cir. 1988), aff’d, 489 U.S. 705 (1989). This citation shows that the U.S. Supreme Court “affirmed,” or upheld, the decision of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the Schmuck case. If a decision has been reversed on appeal but the part of the decision that helps you was not reversed, the citation should reflect this—for example, People v. Perkins, 531 N.E.2d 141 (Ill. App. Ct. 5th Dist. 1988), rev’d on other grounds sub nom. Illinois v. Perkins, 496 U.S. 292 (1990). This citation tells you that the Supreme Court decided the Perkins appeal two years after the Fifth District of the Illinois Appellate Court made its decision, and reversed that decision for a reason unrelated to the part of the case that helps you. The citation also shows that the Supreme Court considered the case under a different name than the Fifth District of the Illinois Appellate Court (that is what “sub nom.” means).

When you cite a federal appellate court decision, you also should show whether the Supreme Court has refused to review the decision. For example, United States v. Fisher, 895 F.2d 208 (5th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 834 (1989). “Cert.” stands for “writ of certiorari,” which is what the Supreme Court issues when it decides to review a lower court decision. “Cert. denied” means that a party asked the Supreme Court to review the case but the Supreme Court refused to issue certiorari and thus refused to review the case. The Supreme Court refuses to review an overwhelming majority of the cases that come before it for certiorari.

You must check each case you cite to find out whether it was appealed and whether it was reversed or affirmed on appeal. Read Part E(2)(a) of this Chapter for information of how to update a case. If the entire case was reversed, you should not mention the lower court’s decision in your legal papers because it is no longer good law.

2. Citing Statutes

Citations for statutes are similar to other legal citations. The citation shows: (1) the “volume” number of the book the statute is in (the “title” or “book” number); (2) the statutory source in which you found the statute (for example, the United States Code Annotated is cited as U.S.C.A.); (3) the section of the law to which you are referring; and (4) the date of publication of the volume in which you found the statute. An example is 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 (1994). Here, “42” is the title, “U.S.C.A.” is the abbreviation for United States Code Annotated, “§” means section, “1983” means the section 1983 within title 42, and “1994” is the year the volume you looked at was published. If the statute was changed recently, you must cite to the changed version of the statute. You can determine if a statute has been changed by looking at the supplement or “pocket part” at the back of the hardcover volume. For instance, if section 1983 had been amended in 1995, you would cite the amended section like this: 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 (Supp. 1995). If you want to refer to the entire statute and only part of it has been amended, you would cite it like this: 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 (1994 & Supp. 1995).

Citations for federal administrative regulations are very similar to citations for statutes. The citation includes (1) the title number of the regulation; (2) the source in which you found the regulation (the Code of Federal Regulations is cited as C.F.R.); (3) the specific section cited; and (4) the date of the code edition. For

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