UNDERSTANDING CITATIONS TO BASIC PRIMARY SOURCES
The following examples of citations to cases and statutes, both federal and state, can be used as a guide to help you understand and construct citations. Each example is followed by a brief explanation of its components.
Cases - Federal
Thomas v. Chicago Park Dist., 534 U.S. 316 (2002).
Thomas v. Chicago Park Dist.
- The parties to the case.
Morse v. Frederick, 127 S. Ct. 2618 (2007).
S. Ct. - The Supreme Court Reporter, an unofficial reporter published by West and which reports cases only from the Supreme Court. Until cases are reported in the advance sheets of the official United States Reports, currently up to two years after the decision is issued by the court, this is the reporter that must be cited.
Booth v. Maryland, 327 F.3d 377 (4th Cir. 2003).
F.3d - The Federal Reporter third series, the unofficial reporter
of cases from the federal Courts of Appeals, the intermediate level
appellate courts within the federal court system.
Allen v. Rumsfeld, 273 F. Supp. 2d 695 (D. Md. 2003).
F. Supp. 2d - the Federal Supplement second series, the unofficial
reporter of cases from the federal District Courts, the trial level
courts within the federal court system.
Cases - State
Lema v. Bank of America, 375 Md. 675, 826 A.2d 504 (2003).
Md. - The Maryland Reports, the official reporter of the Maryland
Court of Appeals, the higher of the two Maryland appellate courts. It
reports only cases from the Court of Appeals.
Zdravkovich v. Siegert, 151 Md. App.
295, 824 A.2d 1051 (2003).
Md. App. - The Maryland Appellate Reports, the official reporter
of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the lower of the two Maryland
appellate courts. It reports only cases from the Court of Special Appeals.
Utsch v. Utsch, 581 S.E.2d 507 (Va. 2003).
S.E.2d - One of the seven regional reporters.
The South Eastern Reporter publishes cases from Georgia, North Carolina,
South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Griffin v. Griffin, 581 S.E.2d 899 (Va.
Ct. App. 2003).
Statutes - Federal:
7 U.S.C.A § 7236 (West 1999 & Supp. 2008).
7 - Title 7, titles being the main unit into which the United States Code
Statutes - State:
Md. Code Ann., Fin. Inst. § 9-307 (2003).
Md. Code Ann. - The abbreviated name of the state code being cited.
W. Va. Code Ann. §36-8A-3 (LexisNexis 2005).
36-8A-3 - The section that is
being cited, this being the main unit into which the West
Virginia Code is divided.