Mar 31

Annotated State Codes

Posted in Audio Posts Sue Altmeyer      Tagged Comments Off on Annotated State Codes

This LibTour on Annotated State Codes was written by Sue Altmeyer, Electronic Services Librarian at Cleveland Marshall College of Law. You can download the audio file here.

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This CALI LibTour covers the Annotated State Codes. A state code contains current state legislation arranged by subject.  Each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories have their own code.  Codes are typically organized into broad topics, sometimes called titles, chapters or codes.  For example, in Indiana, Title 6 deals with Taxation while Title 31 deals with Family and Juvenile Law.  As another example, in California, there is a Penal Code, Family Code and a Revenue and Taxation Code, all of which are part of the California Code.

An annotated code has research references and case summaries underneath each code section.   A research reference directs the reader to text discussions of the statute, as well as to related code sections or regulations.   Case summaries, called “case annotations” are organized into an outline of subtopics to easily find the cases desired.  The annotations are a tremendous aid when researching issues pertaining to a statute.  If the code is published by Westlaw, it will have references to the West Digest.  The West Digest can help locate more cases on point.

Codes also usually contain state court rules and rules of evidence.  Like the code sections, the rules are annotated: they have case summaries and research references underneath the text of the rule.

How do you find a code section pertaining to a particular subject?  One can use the index volumes located at the end of the set.  Sometimes there is also an index at the end of each volume. A desired code section can also be located by browsing the table of contents of a code title or chapter.

Print codes are updated by pocket part inserts at the back of the book or free standing paperback volumes located on the shelf next to the book.  Check the copyright date of the book.  If the book itself is less than one year old, there may not be a pocket part or supplement volume.  To update beyond the pocket parts and supplements, there are paperback volumes at the end of the set containing new Acts.  These are called “Annotated Bulletin”, “Legislative Service” or the like.

Annotated Codes for all fifty states, DC and the territories are on LexisNexis and Westlaw.  Unannotated Codes are free on the Internet.