Finding Oklahoma Cases on OSCN.net
Oklahoma published court opinions may be accesed free online at www.oscn.net, the Oklahoma State Courts Network. One may type in a case citation in the "Quick Case" search box on the upper left side of the homepage. Or one can click on the Legal Research link at the top of the homepage, then click on "Oklahoma Cases". The "Oklahoma Cases" page allows searching with keywords or party names, or one can expand a category of decisions to search through cases listed in chronological order by year of publication. Each case name in the list is a link to that specific court opinion.
OSCN.net is designed to recognize both the Pacific Reporter citation to a case and the Oklahoma public domain citation to a case. Either of these may be typed into the Quick Case search box. The public domain citation is not tied to any reporter, but consists only of the year and number of a case. For example, the first published case decided in 2012 was Dilbeck v. Dilbeck, decided January 17, 2012. The Oklahoma Supreme Court assigned this case the number 1, because it was the first case in 2012 decided and approved for publication by the Court. Its public domain citation is simply 2012 OK 1.
OSCN.net has Oklahoma Supreme Court decisions from 1890 to present, Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals cases from 1908 to present, and Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals cases from 1968 to present. Also provided are Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary opinions from 1968 to 2002, and decisions from the Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel from 1998 to present.
Link to OSCN.net (Oklahoma State Courts Network)
Oklahoma Court Decisions
Not all state court cases are published. Cases from district courts in each county are not published. Cases from the appellate courts in Oklahoma and other states may be published. However, appellate judges may decide to not make a decision available for publication. State court decisions are published in print hardbound regional reporters in rough chronological order, according to the date of the decision. The 7 regional reporters comprise the National Reporter System, published by West Publishing Company.
Oklahoma appellate decisions selected for publication are found in West’s Pacific Reporter, along with decisions from 14 other states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The Pacific Reporter is now in its 3rd series. A citation to a recent published Oklahoma decisions will include the volume number, an abbreviation for the Pacific Reporter 3rd Series, and the page number where the case decisions begins. The citation allows a researcher to find the case in the multivolume reporter set. For example, a case in 2011 involving a medical malpractice action between a Mr. Anderson and Access Medical Centers is briefly cited as 263 P.3d 328. The researcher would pull volume 263 in the Pacific 3rd Series of reporter volumes, then turn to page 328 to find where the case decisions begins. A more complete cite would be Anderson v. Access Medical Centers, 263 P.3d 328 (Okla.Civ.App. Div. 2 2011).
Because the Pacific Reporter set contains a great number of cases requiring many volumes, West Publishing Co. has provided a reporter for use in Oklahoma, containing only Oklahoma cases. That reporter is Oklahoma Decisions. The first volume of Oklahoma Decisions contains cases dated from August to December 1931. West Publishing Co. lifts the cases from the Pacific Reporter, keeping the original page numbering intact, and places them into the Oklahoma Decisions. On the spine of each Oklahoma Decisions volume is a label containing the information needed to locate cases: the Pacific Reporter series number, the Pacific Reporter volume number(s), and the page range taken directly from the Pacific Reporter contained in that particular Oklahoma Decisions volume. In this way, a researcher can easily find a case in the Oklahoma Decisions by using the Pacific Reporter citation for the case.
West keeps all regional reporter sets updated with softbound supplements, issued weekly. These supplements are shelved alongside the appropriate hardbound reporter volumes. The Oklahoma Decisions are located in the Oklahoma Collection near the Reference Desk in the O.U. Law Library. The Pacific Reporter volumes are located with the other regional reporters on the main floor of the O.U. Law Library, just east of the Chapman Reading Room.