Without any explanation (there surely couldn’t be any), PACER announced, that “as of August 10, 2014” (two weeks ago), it would be deleting an unknown number of records from various courts:
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit Cases filed prior to January 1, 2010 U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit Cases filed prior to CM/ECF conversion U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Cases filed prior to January 1, 2010 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Cases filed prior to March 1, 2012 U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California Cases filed prior to May 1, 2001
PACER started rolling out in various courts in 2001 or so, and by 2005 was in virtually all courts. We are talking about the deletion of perhaps a decade worth of data.
Simply stunning, and brazen. That information is lost to the ages, as there will now be now way of extracting it. Does PACER have plans to delete data from other courts, without notice? I’m sure there are countless groups that would be willing to store the data, indefinitely. After all, it is public data about public records. Unbelievable.
Update: On Twitter, A reporter suggests that they didn’t “prioritize backwards compatibility” and there was a “system integration issue.” So down the memory hole they go.