How to Search Appeals Cases for free! ...a PermaClone How To Article

I can't offer legal advice, interpret law or help anyone break the law. And this article does not do that. This article is about teaching my followers how to use the "information age" to become more informed citizens.

This article will teach you how to use Google Scholar to search case files, appeals mostly. I will also include a quick lesson on google’s “search operators” which help refine searches. Last, I’m going to give you some questions as homework to learn where you stand legally. Keep in mind, there’s Federal Law, State Law, Municipal Law and penal codes. Google scholar will allow you to read case law for state and federal courts. You'll still need to learn your municipal and local penal codes. For instance, Colorado Springs, CO only allows 150 sq. ft of grow space and does not allow HID lighting within a residence. You will not find this discussed in state and federal case law.  

What is Google Scholar? 

Google scholar is a search engine specifically for technical publications, including case files and patents. Scholar is my second stop after Wikipedia when I'm studying any technical topic. It used to be easy to access, now the best way to access Google Scholar is by typing in your browser, illustrated below:

The next screen will be the Google Scholar Search engine but "articles (including Patents)" will be selected by default. 

Select "Case Law" and then Click "Select Courts":

Next, select the "State" and courts of interest:

I reside in Colorado, so I start with "Colorado", "Court of Appeals" AND "Supreme Court":

Be sure to confirm you selection:

Next you"ll need to deploy proper search operators to focus the search. This is an example of a search that include these "operators" and I'll explain each operator next along with other options. 

In the search shown above I'm interested in circumstances that would lead to a warrant on a caregiver of cannabis or marijuana.

Search Operators

AND (note it's ALL capitals) forces words to be included 

OR (again, not all capital letter) ensures the search includes either "Cannabis" or "marijuana". Our government never refers to cannabis as marijuana, so I actually don't use this for legal search, but the OR operator is great when searching cannabis research articles where the authors could have used "marijuana" instead. 

Here is a list of other Google operators that force he search to comply with you objectives and a link with a comprehensive list of search operators.  

Exclude words from your search

Put - in front of a word you want to leave out. For example, jaguar speed -car

Search for an exact match:

Put a word or phrase inside quotes. For example, "tallest building".

Search for wildcards or unknown words

Put a * in your word or phrase where you want to leave a placeholder. For example, "largest * in the world".

Search within a range of numbers

Put .. between two numbers. For example, camera $50..$100.

Combine searches

Put "OR" between each search query. For example,  marathon OR race.

Check out this link for google's comprehensive list of search operators. 


What is Curtilage Law?
How is a property's curtilage defined?
What is the Plain Smell Doctrine?
When is trash considered public domain?
Is trash mentioned in Case files?
When can FLIR be used from an aircraft?
Can FLIR legally be used from the vantage-point of public property? 
When can canines be used for a warrant?
Does your distance from a school or public part matter in your jurisdiction?
Are there different kinds of confidential informants?
When does a confidential informants statement go from “hearsay” to “legitimate”?
What’s a Franks hearing?
Do you have prior convictions? Will this affect your right to privacy?
Does HIPPA law apply to Medical Marijuana?
Have you protected the privacy of your medical condition & documents?
Is a peace officer required to know your medical condition allowing for your MMJ card?
What’s your limit in square feet, canopy, plant count, or dry weight?
How is a mature plant defined for private growers or caregivers?

Please post comments below. We appreciate constructive criticism, but please keep the dialogue friendly. 

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