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Criminal Justice

Google Scholar (Law)

Google Scholar is a great place to start searching for cases and supporting documents BEFORE going into Lexis Nexis or Westlaw.  Use the following strategies and settings to make your searching MUCH more efficient.

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Click on Library Links [this will allow access to more full-text items]
  4. Search and Select the Libraries you are most likely to have access to. {recommended}
    • Open World Cat
    • State College of Florida
    • Florida State Library & Archives
    • University of South Florida Libraries [useful if you are able to go to this library to get materials]
    • Stetson University College of Law [useful if you are able to go to this library to get materials]
  5. Save
  6. When searching, make sure to select legal documents and the appropriate Federal or State courts.
  7. On the results page you can narrow by date or create a search alert so that you are notified when new information that falls under your search has been added. *You may need to sign up for a Google Account for this feature.

Citing a Google Scholar Case

Citing a case found in Google Scholar poses an ethical question.  You can cite directly from Google Scholar:

Citing to Cases Pulled From Google Scholar from

But consider this:

  • Google is a search tool...will your document have more authority and be more professional , if you cite it from the original court instead of taking the short route and citing from Google Scholar. 
  • Some documents are easier to 'trace' back to their roots than others. 
  • Ultimately, shouldn't I be citing a case from Westlaw and not from Google Scholar?
  • Paralegal students should use the ALWD citation format.  All other students unless directed differently by your instructor should use APA citation format.