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Oklahoma Innocence Project Student Guide: Federal Docket Information


Federal courts, excluding the U.S Tax Court and U.S Federal Circuit, participate in the Case Management/Electronic Court Files (CM/ECF) system called PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), PACER is a fee-based system for searching federal court dockets (currently set at $0.10 per page viewed or printed as of April 1, 2012, but some documents are free under the e-government act). PACER includes case and docket information for all district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts. 

The PACER Case Locater provides access to available online dockets.

Searching PACER can be difficult, though it has gotten much better in recent years. A complete PACER manual is available. Search tips include:

1.  When searching by case number, follow the conventions set out by PACER. The style may not match what is listed in the document.

2. Limit your search by jurisdiction and type when possible.

PACER - Nature of Suit Codes include:


  • 510 Prisoner (vacate sentence)
  • 530 Habeas Corpus (Generally)
  • 540 Mandamus
  • 545 Death Penalty-Habeas Corpus
  • 550 Prisoner Civil Rights (1983 litigation)
  • 555 Habeas Corpus (Prison Condition)


  • Numbers are the same except with a 2, 3, or 4 in front., according to its website, has over 33 million court dockets available.


Justia Federal District Court Filings and Dockets provides free access to dockets and documents from 2006:

Locating records

When reviewing federal and state dockets, it is important to track where case files are located. Older cases that have archived records will have location information noted in the docket. Records may be scattered among a number of offices. 

Do not be afraid to contact original attorneys to ask for the case information as well!

800 N. Harvey Oklahoma City, OK 73102 405.208.5271