Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service January 2020

New Wisconsin Briefs Database - Angela Humiston

The Wisconsin Briefs database houses more than 100,000 appellate briefs and appendices filed in cases that were decided from around 1992-2009. In late 2019, the UW Law Library finished moving their briefs database to a new website, the UW Law Library Digital Repository collections. The new Wisconsin Briefs repository works similar to the old site.

Researchers can search by the case citation or docket number. Follow the format of the search examples when doing a search. Click on an item in the search results list to see more details, and select the image or "Click to View" text to read or download the brief.

Briefs database

Why can't I find the briefs I'm looking for in this database?

Here are some troubleshooting strategies.

Less is more: Clear the search form and enter only one piece of identifying information. Pick one cite or search just the docket number to increase your chances for success.

Formatting: Check the search examples under the search boxes to be sure that you are formatting your search correctly. If all else fails, look up your case on WSCCA and copy and paste just the case number into the docket number search box. Do not include suffix letters that appear after this number like CR or FT.

(Terms often used interchangeably: docket number = appeal number = case number)

Check the scope statement: This database includes briefs and appendices from cases found in 173 Wis.2d (November 1992) through 317 Wis.2d (July 2009). See WSCCA for more recent briefs. For older briefs contact a Reference Librarian for help accessing briefs in paper or on microfiche at the David T. Prosser Jr. State Law Library.

Summary dispositions or voluntary termination: This database contains only briefs from published and unpublished cases. You'll need to contact the SC/CA Clerk's Office directly for briefs from cases that were summarily disposed or otherwise terminated.

Were briefs filed? Access the "Case History" page in WSCCA to confirm what was filed. There are specific case types that generally do not receive standard briefing, like disciplinary cases, writs, and no-merit cases.

Jurisdiction: This database doesn't contain circuit court briefs or federal court briefs. It contains only briefs and appendices from the published and unpublished cases of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Are you looking at a Public Domain Citation (PDC) or an appeal number?
Be sure you're entering your search criteria in the correct box. Pick only one to search.

  • Supreme Court PDC 2006 WI 13
    To search this database, it should be formatted as 2006WI13
  • Court of Appeals PDC 2006 WI App 13
    To search this database, it should be formatted as 2006WIAPP13
  • Appeal number 2006AP13
    To search this database, it should be formatted as 2006AP000013 or 130013

What's the best way to find briefs on a particular topic?

The key to finding on-point briefs is to first identify an on-point case. See our tutorial on Case Law Research with Google Scholar for some research tips.

My case should be in the database but it is too old to have docket information included in WSCCA. Where can I find this older docket information?

Contact a Reference Librarian for help! Library staff can access an archived docket database for cases commencing in 1986 through 1993. WSCCA case records start with cases that were considered open from the end of 1993 forward. The Wisconsin Briefs database only contains documents from cases going back to 1992.

Where did all of the files in this database come from?

The Wisconsin State Law Library has always received a paper copy of appellate briefs and appendices from the Clerk's Office. Our library has an archival collection of appellate briefs going back to 1839. The briefs and appendices were scanned by library staff at the Wisconsin State Law Library beginning in the early 1990's when the State's microfiching lab closed. As the CD-based collection expanded, it was acquired by both academic law libraries in the state. The UW Law Library staff started hosting the database online in 2003. Recently the UW Law Library moved this database into their Digital Repository. To prepare for this move, librarians from UW and the State Law Library worked cooperatively to clean up some of the data that was hand-keyed by many staff throughout the decades. The database contains 106,665 individual files!

Learn more about the complete Wisconsin briefs archive on our website.

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New Books - Kari Zelinka

New Edition! Home Business Tax Deductions: Keep What You Earn, by Stephen Fishman, 2019
Call Number: KF 6395 B88 .F57 2019

Whether you are starting a new home business or have had one for years, perusing this new edition of Home Business Tax Deductions is worth your time. You don't want to miss any opportunities to deduct business expenses for yourself or your clients, and this book includes all the latest tax law changes. Tax time is right around the corner, so check this book out today!

Subjects include:

  • Proving That You are in a Business
  • Home Business Operating Expenses
  • The Home Business Deduction
  • Car and Local Travel Expenses
  • Business Travel
  • Employees and Independent Contractors
  • Medical Expenses
  • Retirement Plan
  • Business Owned by Spouses
  • Record Keeping
  • Tips to Avoid an IRS Audit

New Edition! Divorce & Money: Making the Best Financial Decisions During Divorce, by Violet Woodhouse & Lina Guillen, 2019
Call Number:  KF 524 .W66 2020

When people are in the middle of a divorce, it can be hard for them to put their emotions aside and think about the cost of living, assets, what will happen to the house, and how to divide up debt. This book has useful charts and worksheets to help walk readers through evaluating housing costs, debts, retirement calculations, and much more. 

Topics include:

  • Joint Property
  • Planning for the future
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Debts
  • Financial Investments
  • Employee Benefits and Stock Options
  • Child Support

new book shelf
New Titles RSS Feed See our latest New Titles list for a list of new books and other resources.

For assistance in accessing these or other resources, please contact our Reference Desk.

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Tech Tip - Heidi Yelk

Privacy Rules Ring in the New Year

As the new year begins, many eyes are on California as the "California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018" (CCPA) takes effect. Why does a California law matter to Wisconsin businesses and consumers? 

As noted in this article from the National Conference of State Legislatures, "It is the nation's broadest online privacy law, affecting companies across the country that do business with California residents, and is considered a bellwether for action in other states." Without comparable federal legislation, many states are proposing their own laws, creating a possible patchwork of laws across the country. 

To read up on this new law see:

Google Scholar Button

If you use Google Scholar to find law reviews or case law, adding the Google Scholar Button to your web browser is a great convenience. The Google Scholar Button Extension (for Chrome) or Add-on (for Firefox) is easy and quick to install. Once installed and in your toolbar, a single click on the button opens a window to search Google Scholar. A brief list of results is provided, with the option of clicking "open results in a new tab" button in the lower left. This opens Google Scholar with the full search results. 

Google Scholar

The downside of this quick search is that you must choose in the settings whether to search articles or case law. If you mostly use Google Scholar for case law, use the settings gear icon in the lower right to change the default to case law.

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Library News - Carol Hassler

Unsung Hero

Amy Crowder, Unsung Hero

Congratulations to Amy Crowder, Deputy Law Librarian, for being chosen as one of the Wisconsin Law Journal's 2019 Unsung Heroes. Amy was nominated for her years of "behind the scenes" work at the Wisconsin State Law Library. As head of Collection Management, she manages the staff who select, order, check-in, process, catalog, shelve, and update materials in our library collections. In addition, she is a regular contributor to this newsletter, and helps users as a member of our reference staff. Amy was honored at an award luncheon in December, and is featured in an issue of the Wisconsin Law Journal.

2020 Classes

Several CLE classes for the coming year are now open for registration. Find out what's available in Madison and Milwaukee and register from our Classes page.

Open House a Success

We would like to thank everyone who visited the David T. Prosser Jr. Library for our open house in December! Epic games of Jenga were played, delicious food was eaten, and a wonderful time was had by all. Find more photos on our Facebook page.


Libraries Closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The State Law Library, and Milwaukee and Dane County Law Libraries will be closed on Monday, January 20th for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

To send a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online.

We will respond to questions and requests on Tuesday, January 21st.

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January Snapshot

beacon breakfast

Beacon & Eggs Breakfast
Photo by Julie Robinson

Julie attended the annual Beacon & Eggs breakfast to benefit The Beacon. The Beacon is a resource center for individuals who are experiencing homelessness in Madison.

We are accepting snapshots! Do you have a photo highlighting libraries, attractions or points of historical interest? Send your photo the editor at carol.hassler@wicourts.gov to be included in a future issue.

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