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Westlaw Campus: Accessing State Statutes

by Jane Woldow and Richard Irving


Updated: June 25, 2009

Statutes are laws. Specifically, statutes are laws that have been passed by a legislative body such as the United States Congress or a state legislature. A compliation of statutes, such as the collection of a particular state's statutes, is referred to as a "code". Statutes are different from "rules" or "regulations" which are laws promulgated by administrative agencies.

State statutes are available from a variety of sources such as Lexis Nexis Academic , and Westlaw Campus. This guides describes Westlaw Campus which offers a variety of quick and simple methods of accessing state statutes.

[Searching by issue] [Searching by citation] [Abbreviations and formats for locating state statutes on Westlaw]


Searching by issue

Before searching for state statues by issue, brainstrom key concepts or terms that could describe the issue.

For example, when researching whether a victim impact statement is allowed at a sentencing hearing, choose keywords such as victim, impact, statement, sentencing, and hearings. Victim impact statement might also be searched as a phrase.

Then, to begin your search:

  1. Open Westlaw Campus on the University Libraries' web site, under "Databases & Indexes".
  2. Click on the "Law" tab at the top left of the screen.
  3. Click "Basic Search" under "Search". Type the keywords or phrases that describe your research issue.
    Note: In the "Basic Search" mode you don't put connectors between your terms.
    Note: Try to think of unique terms which descibe your issue, and avoid the use of common terms such as case, law, or court. Terms commonly read as a phrase will be searched as a phrase without placing quotation marks around them.
  4. Under "Select Database(s)" check the box next to "State Statutes" and then select a particular state from the "Select a State" box. If you want to search all states check the box next to "All State Statutes Annotated".
  5. Click "Search".

  6. In the "Basic Search" mode you will retrieve a list of 100 documents ranked in order of relevancy. Under each reference you will see some text extracted from the document with your search terms highlighted. To see the full text of a particular document just click on the reference. Print, download, and email options are located at the top right of the display screen. Consult Help(FAQs) for assistance in constructing Westlaw Campus search strategies.


Searching by citation

To find a state statute when the citation is known, follow these steps:
 

  1. Open Westlaw Campus on the University Libraries' web site, under "Databases & Indexes".
  2. Click on the "Law" tab at the top left.
  3. Under "Shortcuts" there is a section labeled "Find" and a search box labeled "Find a Document by citation". Type the citation in the search box and click "GO".
    Note: Use the table below to verfiy the proper citation format for the statute's state.

  4. If searching by citation is unsuccessful, try a keyword search as described above .


Abbreviations and formats for locating state statutes on Westlaw

Efficient state statute searching on Westlaw Campus can be enhanced through the use of database abbreviations and statute formats.

Westlaw has assigned each state a unique "Find a Document" format for locating statutes. This format expresses a model for entering successful citation searches using the "Find a Document" tool as described above in the Searching by citation section.

Westlaw also separates each state's statutes into unique databases.

The table below identifies the database abbreviation for each state's annotated and unannotated code as well as the "Find a Document" format.

STATE DATABASE
- ANNOTATED
DATABASE
- UNANNOTATED
"FIND A DOCUMENT" FORMAT
ALABAMA AL-ST-ANN AL-ST al st 1-2-7
ALASKA AK-ST-ANN AK-ST ak st 44.09.060
ARIZONA AZ-ST-ANN AZ-ST az st 41-854
ARKANSAS AR-ST-ANN AR-ST ar st 1-4-118
CALIFORNIA CA-ST-ANN CA-ST ca govt 423
COLORADO CO-ST-ANN CO-ST co st 24-80-910
CONNECTICUT CT-ST-ANN CT-ST ct st 3-109
DELAWARE DE-ST-ANN DE-ST de st ti 29 s 304
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DC-ST-ANN DC-ST dc st 22-1628
FLORIDA FL-ST-ANN FL-ST fl st 372.995
GEORGIA GA-ST-ANN GA-ST ga st 50-3-51
HAWAII HI-ST-ANN HI-ST hi st 5-17
IDAHO ID-ST-ANN ID-ST id st 67-4501
ILLINOIS IL-ST-ANN IL-ST il st ch 1 p 2901-10
INDIANA IN-ST-ANN IN-ST in st 1-2-8-1
IOWA IA-ST-ANN IA-ST ia st 109.48
KANSAS KS-ST-ANN KS-ST ks st 73-901
KENTUCKY KY-ST-ANN KY-ST ky st 2.080
LOUISIANA LA-ST-ANN LA-ST la r.s. 49:159
MAINE ME-ST-ANN ME-ST me st t 1 s 209
MARYLAND MD-ST-ANN MD-ST md state govt 13-302
MASSACHUSETTS MA-ST-ANN MA-ST ma st 2 s 9
MICHIGAN MI-ST-ANN MI-ST mi st 433.354
MINNESOTA MN-ST-ANN MN-ST mn st 1.145
MISSISSIPPI MS-ST-ANN MS-ST ms st 3-3-11
MISSOURI MO-ST-ANN MO-ST mo st 10.010
MONTANA MT-ST-ANN MT-ST mt st 1-1-504
NEBRASKA --- NE-ST ne st 90-107
NEVADA NV-ST-ANN NV-ST nv st 235.060
NEW HAMPSHIRE NH-ST-ANN NH-ST nh st 3:10
NEW JERSEY NJ-ST-ANN NJ-ST nj st 52:9a-1
NEW MEXICO NM-ST-ANN NM-ST nm st 12-3-4
NEW YORK NY-ST-ANN NY-ST ny state 78
NO. CAROLINA NC-ST-ANN NC-ST nc st 145-2
NO. DAKOTA ND-ST-ANN ND-ST nd st 54-02-06
OHIO OH-ST-ANN OH-ST oh st 5.03
OKLAHOMA OK-ST-ANN OK-ST ok st t 25 s 98
OREGON OR-ST-ANN OR-ST or st 496.007
PENNSYLVANIA PA-ST-ANN PA-ST pa st 71 ps S 1005
PUERTO RICO PR-ST-ANN PR-ST pr st t 3 s 367
RHODE ISLAND RI-ST-ANN RI-ST ri st 42-4-5
SO. CAROLINA SC-ST-ANN SC-ST sc st 1-1-630
SO. DAKOTA SD-ST-ANN SD-ST sd st 1-6-9
TENNESSEE TN-ST-ANN TN-ST tn st 4-1-318
TEXAS TX-ST-ANN TX-ST tx civ st art 6143c
UTAH UT-ST-ANN UT-ST ut st 63-13-9
VERMONT VT-ST-ANN VT-ST vt st t 1 s 497
VIRGINIA VA-ST-ANN VA-ST va st t 3.1-1011
VIRGIN ISLANDS VI-ST-ANN VI-ST vi st t 1 s 105
WASHINGTON WA-ST-ANN WA-ST wa st 1.20.040
WEST VIRGINIA WV-ST-ANN WV-ST wv st 61.8-20
WISCONSIN WI-ST-ANN WI-ST wi st 1.10
WYOMING WY-ST-ANN WY-ST wy st 8-3-105



This page is maintained by Richard Irving
Comments to rirving@uamail.albany.edu
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