Wisconsin State Law Library

Serving the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State of Wisconsin

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WSLL @ Your Service  no. 2 
An E-publication of the Wisconsin State Law Library

Focus On:  Accessing Briefs @ WSLL

Do you want to read the briefs for a Wisconsin Court of Appeals or Supreme Court case? Visit or call WSLL. We have briefs and appendices (hereinafter called just "briefs") for all Wisconsin appellate cases in which an opinion is rendered. Coverage goes back to the very first case heard by each Court (1839 for Supreme Court, 1978 for Court of Appeals). Depending on the age of the case, the briefs are available in print, microfiche and/or CD-ROM.

WSLL generally receives a copy of the briefs after they have been sent to the appropriate Court of Appeals district, or after the case has been assigned to the Supreme Court calendar. The briefs are housed in the WSLL Wisconsin Collections Office, where they are processed and shelved in docket number order. Once an opinion has been published, or listed in a table of unpublished opinions, the briefs are bound and/or scanned to CD-ROM in order by Wisconsin Reports citation. If the case you’re interested in has been summarily disposed of or otherwise terminated, WSLL does not keep the briefs. Contact the Clerk of Courts for Supreme Court & Court of Appeals at 608-266-1880 to request the case file.

All bound volumes of briefs are currently kept in storage but can be retrieved quickly by WSLL staff. Microfiche and CD-ROM versions are housed in the Wisconsin Collections Office. When WSLL moves to the new State Law & Justice Center, the bound volumes will be brought out of storage and shelved in the Library.

Briefs circulate to Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges and staff only. Others may come to the library to read or copy them, or copies can be mailed or faxed. For more information, call the WSLL Reference Desk, 608-267-9696 or contact Angela Sanfilippo, WSLL Wisconsin Collections Library Associate, 608-261-7559.  -- Connie Von Der Heide

Future Focus On:  topics will include "Judicial Council Materials : A Very Special Collection", "Using Listservs & Mailing Lists", "Native American Resources @ WSLL", "How to Access & Use Legal Resource Index",  "What is BadgerLink?"

WSLL Web -- Elaine Sharp   Tech Tip in Brief -- Heidi Yelk
Looking for a phone no., address or email address? An increasing number of organizations are making staff & departmental directories available on the web. On our Directories page we bring together sources which provide contact information for law-related organizations & people. We also link to general telephone, address & email resources such as Telephone Directories on the Web, Zip Code Lookup & AnyWho Directories.

The availability of court-related directory information varies greatly among states as well as among courts within a state. Courts.net links to federal & state courts. However, once you get to the court you're looking for, you must then locate the contact information (if indeed there even is any). In WI, web available court directories include: Clerks of Circuit Court, Dane Co. Circuit Court Judges, Milwaukee Co. Judicial Directory & Municipal Court Directory.

Contact information for both the WI Legislature & the U.S. Congress is easily accessible on the web. Phone, fax, address, photo, committee assignments & biographical information is available for WI Senators and Representatives. Their email addresses are also available. The U.S. Senate or House directories provide phone, fax, address, email address, committee assignment, voting record, personal information & photo.

WI state agency addresses & phone numbers, state employees phone numbers & email addresses, U-W faculty/staff/student contact information as well as some county & city directories are available. For federal agencies & employees, try Federal Telephone Directories, or, for a topical approach to federal government, try U.S. Blue Pages.

In addition to various directories for locating lawyers, law firms & expert witnesses, we also link to sources such as. Legal, Bar & Law Related Associations, Directory of Publishers & Vendors, Medical Directories, Law Enforcement Agencies Directory, & Prosecuting Attorneys, District Attorneys, Attorneys General & US Attorneys

If you can't find information on the web for the organization or person you need to contact, please call us for help. And, if you have a favorite directory that you'd like us to consider adding to our Directories page, please let me know. 

Q: The President’s website has changed significantly since President Bush took office. Is it possible to access the documents from the old Clinton website?

A: When President Bush took office in January, it marked the first presidential transition of the Internet age. The Clinton White House website, which debuted in 1994, had become a deep repository of press releases, speeches, executive orders, and other public papers of the president. Many Internet users came to rely on the whitehouse.gov site for presidential documents. However, on Jan. 20, 2001, moments after President Bush took the Oath of Office, the Clinton website was removed and the new Bush design took its place at whitehouse.gov. The country’s first White House website is now history and is being preserved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The content found on the old Clinton website can now be accessed through NARA’s website at http://clinton.archives.gov/. This abrupt change is a reminder that the Internet is a dynamic, ever-changing resource. Information can be here today and gone tomorrow. Web page content and addresses frequently change overnight. If you need help finding something you’ve lost on the web, call our reference phone number 267-9696 or 1-800-322-9755 or email the reference desk at wsll.ref@wicourts.gov.

Send your suggestions for future legal research Tech Tips to the editor.

What's New at...  -- Amy Crowder Odds 'n' Endings -- Connie Von Der Heide
Jane Colwin, together with John Voelker and Gregg Moore, presented "Self-Represented Litigants and the Changing Role of Circuit Court Clerks" at this year's Clerk of Circuit Court Institute. The presentation included skits depicting possible litigant and court staff interactions and offered suggestions on how staff can assist the self-represented litigant. Jane also taught a session on locating law-related web resources.

Connie Von Der Heide recently debuted the Case of the Month Project at the "From the Court to the Classroom: Justice Teaching Institute". The Institute was attended by high school social studies teachers. Connie discussed how the The Case of the Month Project can educate their students about the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Connie also explained how to locate legal information on the web and presented the Library's website.

WSLL recently acquired several titles that may be of interest to court staff. All were published in 2000. Contact our Reference Staff if you are interested in borrowing any of these titles:

Meeting the Challenge of Self-Represented Litigants in Wisconsin / Wisconsin Pro-Se Working Group

Public Trust & Confidence in the Justice System: the Wisconsin Initiative Action Plan / Public Trust Steering Committee

The Work of Appellate Court Legal Staff / Roger A. Hanson, et al.

Court, Agency and Community Collaboration / National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Improving Interpretation in Wisconsin's Courts / Committee to Improve Interpreting and Translation in the Wisconsin Courts

Strategic Planning Mentoring Guidelines: Practical Tips for Court Leaders / Brenda J. Wagenknecht-Ivey, et al


The First National Summit: Exploring Effective Interventions in Domestic Violence & Child Maltreatment / National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

A National Agenda for the Future of Judicial Branch Education: a Synthesis of Outcomes from the National Symposium on the Future of Judicial Branch Education

The ADA: Ten Years After / Burton J. Fishman

All titles are in our on-line catalog.

Here are a few recent developments in the legal world, and places to go for more information.

Child Citizenship Act Takes Effect

The total number of U.S. citizens rose significantly on February 27, the result of the Child Citizenship Act’s taking effect. Here are some places on the Web to read more about it.

  • The Act itself (Public Law 106-395), with legislative history
  • Information from the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS)
    • Backgrounder: Information for Adoptive Parents
    • Fact Sheet: How to Get a Certificate of Citizenship for Your Child
  • News articles
    • FindLaw: Child Citizenship Act Glance
    • CNN.com: New law will make 75,000 sudden citizens

President’s Tax Relief Proposal

Notable Case

On February 28 the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments (click on Oral Arguments in the sidebar) for Good News Club v. Milford Central School, case no. 99-2036, which centers on First Amendment religion and speech issues.  The 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals opinion for this case is reported at 202 F.3d 502, or is available free (docket 98-9494, Feb. 3, 2000) on the 2nd Circuit website. The Northern New York District Court opinion is reported at 21 F. Supp. 2d 147. It is not available on the N.D. New York website.

Ask a Librarian:  800-322-9755; 608-267-9696 (In Madison); wsll.ref@wicourts.gov
Library Hours/Locations:  WSLL (WI State Law Library), DCLL (Dane Co. Law Library), MLRC (Milwaukee Legal Resource Center)
Visit Our Website: http://wilawlibrary.gov

Connie Von Der Heide 608-267-2202 Comments welcome!