Utah District Court
Courts Enter Contract for Microsoft Office
The Administrative Office of the United States Courts
announced today that it "has entered into a multi-year contract to provide the Microsoft Office Professional
office productivity software suite to the judiciary. The Microsoft Office Professional suite includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and several other software applications broadly used in the courts. This centrally funded contract provides the judiciary with immediate rights to the current version of Microsoft Office Professional 2003, as well as Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007
, scheduled for release early next calendar year."
The District of Utah made Microsoft Word available in chambers in early 2006, to facilitate counsel's submission of orders in that format. Microsoft Word predominates in law offices
nationally and has proven to be a predominant format in draft orders submitted to chambers by email, under the District of Utah Administrative Procedures
. The availability of the entire Microsoft Office suite to all federal courts will further enable courts and counsel to integrate better.
The announcement memo states "Corel WordPerfect will continue to be the judiciary’s standard desktop word processing application."
New CM/ECF CLE Materials Available
In connection with the annual Federal Bar Association Ronald N. Boyce seminar, and the Utah State Bar Fall Forum, CLE materials related to CM/ECF have been posted on Judge Nuffer's Resource web page.
While similar, the materials contain somewhat different tips on working in the electronic environment. The documents are in PDF format and are designed for electronic use, with hyperlinks. In connection with these CLE postings, new flash video demonstrations related to electronic research are also posted on the resource page.
Are Keyloggers Watching You?
According to a letter sent to clerks of district and bankruptcy courts, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a part of Homeland Security, has notified the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) that a number of user accounts
which access PACER and/or CM-ECF systems are infected with keystroke logging programs
, also called keyloggers
Keyloggers are a form of computer software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's knowledge. The software is installed when a user opens an infected e-mail file or through exploitation of a security vulnerability on a system. Keyloggers are usually configured to capture account names and passwords and pass the captured information to a drop-site owned by a hacker. Keyloggers are usually after financial account access.
The AOUSC has notified the affected users of the detected infection on their machines, and the fact that their PACER and/or CM/ECF names and passwords (and quite likely their banking and client communications accounts) have been compromised. Even if you have not received such a notification, it is prudent for all computer users to check all computers which are used for access to accounts of any kind, run an anti-spyware or anti-viral program and follow the advice it provides. To combat the return of a keylogger, the computers that you use should be running up-to-date detection programs and computer operating systems should be running with the latest versions released by the operating system vendor.
Once a computer is infected with malicious software (malware), the only sure method of removing it is to backup all data, and reinstall the operating system and all programs. Once a keyloggger has been removed users must change the PACER and CM/ECF filer passwords, along with all other passwords in use for financial account access, etc. Changing passwords before removing the keylogger or without installing anti-viral and anti-spyware software will not solve the problem.
The court’s PACER and CM/ECF systems are NOT compromised and keylogging has not infected any judiciary servers or client machines.
Court Offers Scanning Hints
The court monitors the size of PDF documents and notifies filers (including judges!) of oversized filings. While the system will actually block filings over three megabytes (Administrative Procedures
II. 3.C.), filings of a few pages may still be unusually large, by reason of scanning or unusual conversion procedures. This is a sample email the court sends:Dear [Attorney],
As Technical Manager of the CM/ECF Program, I would like to thank you for your e-filing in our court, which helps contribute to a more efficient Judiciary. The Court is striving to make the e-filing process as efficient as possible, both in terms of you, the filing attorney, and for all parties, attorneys , Judges, and staff, who download and view/print the documents filed. I observed a recent filing of yours which could be improved technically.
Document No: 55 (the exhibits)
Page size (in kilobytes): 322 - 763k/page (ideal recommended page sizes 20-40k/pg )
Issue: Documents were scanned in color.
Recommendation: For a text documents of this type, it is recommended to scan in 'black and white' at 200 or 300 dpi, this will reduce the size of the document significantly, and make uploading easier. It will also make it so that you will not need to split up each of the exhibits to make them less than the 3.0 MB per document size limit.
This is intended as a helpful suggestion and tool to make your E-filing faster, easier, and more effective. If you would like more information or guidance regarding any of this information, please do not hesitate to call me at (801) 524-6105.
Robert Janzen US District Court, District of Utah
Unix Systems Manager 350 South Main St.
Voice (801) 524-6105 Room 150
Fax: (801) 526-1160 Salt Lake City, UT 84101
No one is denied the opportunity to improve. When I was using a court form to generate an order, Bob checked to see why my one page PDF file was nearly 500K. He found a way to make the data file 90% smaller.
A memorandum recently filed tipped the scales at just over 30 megabytes. The 33 page memo was only 175K, but the 61 pages of exhibits were just under 500K per page. This meant the 7 exhibits had to be split into 15 separate pieces to stay under the 3 mb limit per uploaded document. The document was scanned in 24 bit color which rendered the large file sizes.
Tragically, the document had to be refiled because it was actually a memorandum in support but filed first as an opposing memorandum. When re-filed, all the file sizes were the same. The filer must be very patient to make such large uploads.
from the Administrative Office of the US Courts
describes new PACER
features which will be available in Utah when the upgrade to CM/ECF Version 3.0 is complete, within two months:User Preferences
may be set to require or not require a client cose, and to set a default format for the client code. Customers may choose to turn off viewing transaction receipts. A new Court Information Utility
"provides general court information such as hours of operation, court location and phone number, as well as filing information such as the maximum size of PDF files, the court's version of CM/ECF, case flag definitions and more."
Full version 3.0 release notes for PACER users
Missed Opportunities to Make Memoranda Accessible
More attorneys are using free hyperlink creation tools from Westlaw
to make all their cited authorities accessible with a click of the mouse. Hyperlinks
are greatly appreciated by chambers. However, there are still a few missed opportunities.
First, some documents are converted to PDF in a way that does not preserve the hyperlinks
in the PDF version of the memorandum. The hyperlinks are present in the word processing document, but not converted into PDF format when the document is prepared for filing. This may result from using a PDF converter that cannot convert hyperlinks or from improper settings on a PDF converter. The filed document contains blue text and underlines that signal links, but there are no operative links.
In Microsoft Word, the PDF printer will not convert hyperlinks.
Instead, use the special Adobe PDF menu or toolbar buttons to convert Word documents to PDF with hyperlinks.
In WordPerfect, the Publish to PDF settings must be set to convert hyperlinks and bookmarks.
In addition, filers often miss the chance to use a table of contents with internal hyperlinks to the document. Often, these tables are present, but they have not been prepared with hyperlinks or the hyperlinks have not been preserved in the PDF conversion process. Microsoft Word and WordPerfect will automatically create these tables and include hyperlinks so that a table entry can be clicked to navigate to through the memorandum. When these links are present in the PDF version of the document, they assist chambers staff.
Attorney E-Filings Steady
Attorney e-filings have been steady for several months at just over 30% of all court filings. The clerk's office reports that some documents which could be e-filed are still received in paper, but the majority of documents filed by attorneys are now e-filed. An assessment in December 2005
indicated that attorney e-filing in criminal cases would max out around 25%. This is because of the number of documents in those cases which must be filed by the court. There is more room in civil cases for e-filing by attorneys, but there are still some documents required to be filed in paper to be processed by the docketing staff.