When creating a citation for a packet of court papers, it’s helpful to think of how one got to a specific page in the first place. Generally speaking that includes:

  • The box, drawer, or storage item containing the packet of papers. You have to get to the right box or drawer again. There may be other packets in the same storage container.
  • Information on the outside of the packet which distinguishes one packet from another. This is usually the name of the case at the very least and perhaps a case number. You have to get to the right packet of papers again so this is important.
  • The specific document (perhaps more than one actual piece of paper) within the file. Documents may be named, particularly longer ones containing many pages. Individual slips of paper (eg. receipts) may not have a specific title.

That’s not everything you need to create a citation for a case. But it is an excellent start for those unfamiliar with creating citations.

I did not do that with this 1909 statement signed in an early 20th century court case in Hancock County, Illinois. I made a copy of the cover of the packet and noted the case file box in which it was located. I neglected to get a copy of the “outside” of the multi-page document which contained this signature. Neglecting to do so will mean that it would take some time to find it again in the case file.

Evidence Explained will tell you everything you need to know about citation.



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