I'll read a news article on a controversial arrest such as https://www.mtpr.org/post/montana-women-detained-speaking-spanish-sue-border-protection. But then I can't find the follow up.

Sometimes a simple Google search and then checking "news" turns up the answer; usually, it doesn't.

Any way to find an update?

  • Google harder: aclu.org/press-releases/… shows the case name and venue. Jul 31, 2019 at 15:26
  • @BlueDogRanch but not the progress. It doesn't even say a jury date. Jul 31, 2019 at 19:16
  • Look up the case in the court records system or in Pacer. Jul 31, 2019 at 19:18
  • @Bluedogranch Yeah, uhhh.......I don't have access to that! Aug 1, 2019 at 19:31

3 Answers 3


PACER is free to use, you just need to register and they will mail you (yes it has to be mailed) sign-in details, you will then use those details to log in online, and you will then search the docket number of the case, after which you may view and print the various filed documents.

Viewing the contents of those documents costs money, so PACER isn't truly "free"

  • Shazamo is right, if you're looking for a free way to view documents of an ongoing trail/arrest it's going to cost you and you'll probably be charged per page. Aug 7, 2019 at 2:38

Research takes time. Learn to use Google Advanced Search with boolean operators https://www.google.com/advanced_search to do complex searches and read news and other articles to find personal names and cases. That's the way I found the link that states the name of the case and the venue: ACLU Files Lawsuit on Behalf of U.S. Citizens Detained for Speaking Spanish | American Civil Liberties Union. Then go to the court venue District of Montana | United States District Court and find the way to access court files, which is PACER. Sign up and search; you will have to pay for access to PACER.


The two answers so far are basically to "spend more time doing more complicated Google searches" and to "use PACER".

I do not believe that the person asking the question (Jossie Calderon) wants to just be told "Google more thoroughly". He didn't spend 100 points of his reputation just to be told the obvious (although I do think he should take BlueDogRanch's advice to at least some extent, as BlueDog's Google search already resulted in new and useful information that OP could have got himself).

The option of using PACER is really what the OP is probably looking for, based on the title of the question. However that costs money, and in a world where so much information is given for free, he might have been hoping for something that doesn't cost money.

So the third option is to physically go to the court yourself (which was also mentioned in BlueDogRanch's answer). You can ask the court clerks for the "action number" or for more information about the case. They will have their own computers from which you can find out when the next court hearing is. By going to the court hearing, you will usually learn quite a lot that you won't get in the news articles coming up in Google searches. If media is there, you will be able to talk to them and they'll almost always offer your business card, especially if you ask for it. You can try to follow up with them. I personally like to talk to the lawyers on each side of the case, and there is plenty of chance for that when the court goes into recess. Some lawyers will not want to talk to you, but many of them will at least chat a bit, and almost all of them will at least be respectful. I often get the business card of the lawyers involved in the case, and they are more than happy to give this away (perhaps because spreading their card around can help their firm to get clients). If you build a good rapport with the lawyers (I suppose you can also do this with the families) you may have access to a lot of information that you otherwise would not be able to get.

So I am sorry that access to this information is not made easy. I believe it can be, and should be, but the legal world has made their choice that the only way to find out certain things is to go to the court room yourself, or to ask someone else to do it for you, or to pay some money. I hope this helps!

  • In almost all circumstances, going to court yourself is going to be more costly than using PACER, just imagine the travel expenses. Secondly, going to court does not give you access to case filings, PACER does, and this is a huge advantage when researching an ongoing case Aug 9, 2019 at 16:58
  • @ShazamoMorebucks: If you see my third paragraph, I already said that PACER is the answer the OP is looking for, but if he doesn't want to spend money, then an alternative is to walk to the court himself (if feasible, or if a friend can do it). Aug 9, 2019 at 19:52
  • Do I have to be in the same state as where the court case was filed? Aug 11, 2019 at 13:01
  • @JossieCalderon, I was suggesting to go to the exact court where the case was filed! So that would mean going to the same stage, unfortunately. Let me know if there's a better way to do it. Aug 11, 2019 at 20:50

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