Data Availability, Information Quality, Accountability...

Large-Scale Fraud Alleged in PACER & CM/ECF

Allowing more free access to false US court records is not necessarily an improvement.


Los Angeles, March 17 - in response to March 17, 2010 article by Tony Mauro in The National Law Journal titled: “Judicial Conference Moves Federal Courts Toward More Public Access”,[1] Dr Joseph Zernik, Los Angeles Resident, posted a comment, alleging large scale fraud on the people in the implementation of PACER and CM/ECF at the US courts, through the concealment and denial of public access to the certification of entry and authentication of US Court records. Therefore, Dr Zernik argued - allowing more free access to false court records was not necessarily an improvement.


The article by Tony Mauro in The National Law Journal reported that the U.S. Judicial Conference voted the previous day to increase fourfold the number of free documents that members of the public would be able to retrieve from the federal courts' PACER system. In his comment, Dr Zernik noted that free access to PACER could be an improvement. However, access to PACER alone, in its current form, was worthless or worse - since all NEFs (Notices of Electronic Filings) [2] were deliberately omitted from the system. The NEFs were only accessible through CM/ECF - where no public access was allowed at all.


Dr Zernik noted that the NEFs today served as both the "ENTERED" stamp with the endorsement by the clerk, and also as the verified authentication of court orders and judgments. [2] Moreover, concomitantly with the omission of the NEFs from PACER, the clerks of the US Courts refused to certify the PACER dockets as valid court records. Furthermore – they denied public access to the NEFs in disregard of First Amendment rights.


Therefore, those who relied on access to PACER alone, could never know - which of the records that they downloaded from the PACER dockets were honest, valid, and effectual court records, such that required "full faith and credit", and which were just part of the multitude of false and deliberately misleading records that populated PACER through misconduct by the US courts.


The practice of alleged fraud on litigants was widespread, claimed Dr Zernik. He provided examples ranging from the US District Court in Los Angeles [3] to the US District Court in Brattleboro, Vermont,[5] and from US District Judges through Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit – Alex Kozinski – [4] aimed to deprive 70 year old former US prosecutor Richard Fine of Liberty, to US Supreme Court Justice – Sonia Sotomayor – then Circuit Judge of the 2nd Circuit, [6] aimed to deprive Scott Huminski of Due Process and Access to the Courts. Moreover, the listing of such unsigned, unauthenticated court order, which was posted in PACER nevertheless, as part of Justice Sotomayor court decisions in her responses to the Senate’s Judiciary Committee in the nomination hearings, [7] was alleged as fraud by Justice Sotomayor on US Congress.


In short, Dr Zernik claimed: “PACER & CM/ECF, as implemented by the Administrative Office of the US Courts are the biggest Shell-Game fraud in the history of mankind. Think about it as sending you free checks by mail, but insisting on redacting the signatures from the checks."

Dr Zernik proposed that the remedy was in publicly accountable validation (certified, functional logic verification) of case management systems of the courts.




[1] March 17, 2010 article by Tony Mauro in National Law Journal “Judicial Conference Moves Federal Courts Toward More Public Access”


[2] NEFs - Notices of Electronic Filings, as implemented in CM/ECF - a review:


[3] Example of a PACER docket, where the Clerk of the US Court refuses to certify the docket or state that the docket was honest, valid and effectual docket in compliance with the US law, and also denies access to the NEF: Habeas Corpus Petition of Richard Fine - Fine v Sheriff of Los Angeles County (2:09-cv-01914) at the US District Court, Los Angeles:


[4] Example of false and deliberately misleading court order, served with no NEF and no verifications by Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, and Circuit Judges Richard Paez and Richard Tallman in Fine v Sheriff (09-71692) at the US Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit:


[5] Example of court orders filed on party with false and deliberately misleading NEFs - missing the digital signatures - Huminski v Redland Police


[6] Example of alleged fraud by Supreme Court Justice -Sonia Sotomayor - serving on Huminski of unsigned order with no NEF authentication, where the US Court of Appeals, 2nd District denies access to the NEFs: Huminski v Town of Bennington VT (03-7036):


[7] Alleged fraud by Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor in her responses to US Senate Nomination hearings - listing as decision the false and deliberately misleading, unsigned and unauthenticated paper from Huminski v Town of Bennington Vermont:


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