Nanna K. Frye (J.D. & M.S.L.S.) is currently the Law Librarian for the Court of Appeal, 4th District in San Diego.
(Archived April 15, 1998)
For a PDF version of this cheatsheet, click here.
1. Double-click on the Shepard’s icon. Select “Calif. Official” when shepardizing an official cite. Wait for the “Product Scope” screen to appear which has the date of the disk. Use “Cal. Unofficial” only when shepardizing a California Reporter or Pacific Reporter citation.
2. Type your citation in the box where your cursor is flashing using the appropriate format below. Hit ENTER. If you are shepardizing a case where the reporter abbreviation is unknown, click on CITED REFERENCES (eyeglasses button) on the toolbar to obtain the list of acceptable reporter abbreviations.
Formats: Vol. # [space] Rptr abbr. [space] Page number
It is not necessary to use a fuller reporter abbreviation such as “Cal4th” or “Cal.4th” though the system will accept those abbreviations. Upper and lower case letters are accepted.
3. You can quickly determine if your case is still good law by looking at the traffic signal that appears at the top of the screen. A red light means you should stop relying on this case. An amber light indicates you should proceed with caution and the green light tells you that the case is still good law.
4. Citing cases that are displayed using green ink signify that they are hypertext links. By clicking on the green-inked citation, you can automatically shepardize the citing case. To return to your original case, hit ESC or click on your secondary mouse button (for right-handers, this is your right button) in a blank area of the screen.
Sometimes, the case treatment terms such as “distinguished” or “dissenting opinion” are printed in green ink thus indicating that they are also hypertext links. When you click on a green-inked treatment term, Shepard’s will supply editorial elaboration for that citing case. To return to your previous screen, hit ESC or click on your secondary mouse button. Don’t click on the “Previous Cite” (looks like <<<) button.
5. The “Underpinnings” section permits you to view the list of case authorities cited in your shepardized case. The information includes the case name, its citation in hypertext form so that you can shepardize it, a traffic signal indicating its standing as authority, and a brief explanatory note. To return to your original case, hit ESC or click on your secondary mouse button.
6. If your citing cases and other references contain an abbreviation you cannot decipher, click on CITING REFERENCES (telescope button) on the toolbar to get a list of abbreviations for publications. You can either hit the first letter of your abbreviation, hit PgDn, or use the scroll bar on the right margin to page through them.
7. Headnote information is automatically provided but you can also narrow your search to get only those citing cases covering a particular headnote. To do this, enter your citation and then click on the TARGET button (looks like a red bullseye). On the next screen, type the headnote number in the Notes box and click on OK. If you are interested in more than one headnote number, type each number separated by a comma. If you have shepardized your case and later decide that you want to narrow your results to a particular headnote, click on the TARGET button and enter the headnote number(s) in the Notes box. To return to the full shepard’s information, hit ESC or click on your secondary mouse button.
8. You can specify negative history only which covers all precedent damaging cases. To do this, enter your citation and then click on the TARGET NEGATIVE button (looks like a red bullseye with a negative sign). If you have shepardized your case and then decide that you want to focus on negative history only, click on the TARGET NEGATIVE button. To return to the full shepard’s information, hit ESC or click on your secondary mouse button.
9. You can specify positive history only which covers all positive treatment cases. To do this, enter your citation and then click on the TARGET POSITIVE button (looks like a red bullseye with a positive sign). If you have shepardized your case and then decide that you want to focus on positive history only, click on the TARGET POSITIVE button. To return to the full shepard information, hit ESC or click on your secondary mouse button.
10. You can specify that citing cases be of a particular court. To do this, enter your citation and then click on the TARGET button (looks like a red bullseye). On the next screen, click on the appropriate jurisdiction and then click on OK. If you do not see the desired jurisdiction listed, there are no entries for that court.
11. Shepardizing by case name is now possible. To use this technique, type a quote mark followed by the case name or name of either party in the box where you normally type a case citation. If you enter the case name, do not type a period after the “v.” Hit ENTER. Do not end the search with a quotation mark! This case name search will default you to the Browse mode and give you a list of cases that the computer thinks might answer your needs. Select a case by double-clicking on it or click once & then click on SHEPARDIZE. If you want to go to the next case in the list, click on the “Next Case” button on your toolbar at the top. The “Next Case” button looks like “>>>.”
For criminal cases, substitute “California” for “People” in the case name.
1. Click on the PRINT CITES button (looks like a printer) on the toolbar.
2. Select a printout choice below. I found Shepard’s definitions of these groupings a bit confusing so I have devised my own set.
Which one to choose? Generally, you will probably use Current Page if you are printing one citation at a time, and use either Current Page & Trail if you are printing all of your citations at the same time. Printouts are delivered immediately; you need not logoff the Shepard’s CD-ROM in order to receive your printout.
1. Trail Button — You can easily return to a Shepard’s document that you pulled up earlier in your search session by clicking on VIEW RESEARCH TRAIL button (looks like a purple mountain with a trail) on your toolbar. A pulldown window will appear with a list of all of the cases or statutes that you have shepardized. Make your selection by clicking on the appropriate citation.
2. Browse Mode — If you enter a citation but have the wrong page number for the first page of the case, the system will default to the Browse Mode. The Browse screen will list beginning page numbers that it thinks are likely candidates for the case you want to shepardize. If you see one you like, click on the citation and then click on SHEPARDIZE. If you do not like your choices, close the Browse screen by clicking on CANCEL and either make an educated guess on a different page number or do a case name search (see above). Because of the digit orientation of the current software, the computer cannot tell you the beginning page number if the one you supplied is in the middle of the case.
3. Hypertext Links — Anything printed in green ink is a hypertext link which automatically links you to information on that item. Any case displayed in green ink can be shepardized by clicking on that case and any case treatment term appearing in green ink has editorial commentary that you can pull up. When the mouse cursor is properly placed, a “hand” cursor will appear and you should click at that point.
4. Deleting a Search Result — If you shepardize a citation but decide you do not want a printout of it when you do your “Current Page & Trail” printing, you can remove it by either hitting ESC or clicking on your secondary mouse button when the citation is currently on your screen. If the citation is not already on your screen, you can pull it up by clicking on VIEW RESEARCH TRAIL button (looks like a purple mountain with a trail) and then clicking on the appropriate citation. This application can be useful for deleting the search results when you use the hypertext link and automatically shepardize a citing case.
5. “Next Citation” (>>>) and “Previous Cite” (<<<) buttons — In my mind, this does not function the way one would expect it to work. If you shepardize the case at 2 Cal4th 1 and then click on NEXT CITATION, you will get 2 Cal4th 1035 and if you click on PREVIOUS CITE, you will get 2 Cal3d 991. The software is digit-oriented, hence this alternate sense of order. My expectation is that you would get 2 Cal4th 86, the second case in the volume, but that is not reality.
6. Searching Docket Cases — Though somewhat cumbersome, you can now shepardize recent cases using the case number. For one of our cases, you would type “cadk” (for California docket) followed by our case number.
Your results will show whether there is a published citation for this case and if any cases have cited it. It will also list an “Underpinnings” section.
7. Explanations and Abbreviations Used for History and Treatment of a Case — Click on the CASE ABBREVS button (looks like a gavel) to get an explanation of the scope of any word or phrase used to describe the subsequent treatment of a case, e.g. “limited.” It also translates abbreviations.
1. Click on Shepard’s icon. Select “Calif. Statutes.” Wait for the “Product Scope” screen to appear which has the date of the disk.
2. Type your citation in the box where your cursor is flashing using the appropriate format below. Hit ENTER. If you are shepardizing a code section or court rule where the abbreviation is unknown, click on CITED REFERENCES (eyeglasses button) on the toolbar to obtain the list of abbreviations for codes, court rules, jury instructions, etc. For codes, the abbreviation is typically “CA” plus the first three letters of the code, e.g., “CAPEN.” For court rules, it is “CARC.”
Format: Code abbreviation [space] code section number
To shepardize a subdivision, or subdivision and paragraph of your code section, use the following format for Penal Code sect. 12022(a)(1):
I strongly recommend clicking on the “<<<" and ">>>” arrows on the toolbar to determine if there are related entries that might be useful. For example, when conducting the above search for sect. 12022(a)(1), there may be entries for just 12022(a). By using the arrows to advance or backtrack through the entries, you can easily find related ones.
A second technique is to type your code and section number in the box and then hit SHIFT and ENTER. This will put you in the Browse Mode and will enable you to scroll through entries beginning with your code section.
1. Click on the PRINT CITES button (looks like a printer) on the toolbar.
2. Select a printout choice. I found Shepard’s definitions of these groupings a bit confusing so I have devised my own set.
Which one to choose? Generally, you will probably use Current Page if you are printing one citation at a time, and use Current Page & Trail if you are printing all of your citations at the same time. Printouts are delivered immediately; you need not logoff of Shepard’s CD-ROM in order to receive your printout.