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RE: vocabulary for legal decision (e.g., Supreme Court cases)

From: Bill Kasdorf <bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com>
Date: Fri, 22 May 2015 15:39:23 +0000
To: Thad Guidry <thadguidry@gmail.com>, Stuart Robinson <stuartro@google.com>
CC: schema.org Mailing List <public-schemaorg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BLUPR06MB5638D143637C05665374C94DFC00@BLUPR06MB563.namprd06.prod.outlook.com>
The problem is that internationally there are SO many different vocabularies—I'm not just talking about language differences, I'm talking about the way legal concepts are referred to and thought of in different jurisdictions. Not to mention at all levels from international (I work with the EU publications office and they do have pan-EU legal publications) to national to regional (state, province) to municipal and other local levels.

So trying to include all those existing vocabularies is not only monumental but probably unworkable. (See the EU's Formex vocabulary— http://formex.publications.europa.eu/ —that would be a good place to start.)

In my experience, in a situation like this it is actually more helpful to have a knowledgeable group of people come up with high level generic terms to which individual vocabularies can be mapped. Basic fundamental concepts like "trial", "defendant", "plaintiff", "judge", "jury", "decision", "verdict", "penalty," etc. (Admittedly those are US-centric generic terms. The Formex terms cited above would be a useful comparison.) Anybody from Lexis-Nexis on the CG?

--Bill Kasdorf

From: Thad Guidry [mailto:thadguidry@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, May 22, 2015 11:19 AM
To: Stuart Robinson
Cc: schema.org Mailing List
Subject: Re: vocabulary for legal decision (e.g., Supreme Court cases)

​My only suggestion and helpful guidance here would be...

​​
perhaps looking at other high level schema
​and vocabulary ​
for court systems that are
​already ​
out there.
​

​Think about what consumers or different users will want to filter by primarily.  If its a student researcher, they are searching differently by Case Types typically, compared to someone just wanting to see the summary judgement of a specific case X v. Y​

​Each court system and state courts do their own Schema manipulation and have differing standards... there is no single standard for e-Filing or Reference systems unfortunately in the USA.  Even if Schema.org was involved, it would probably not change publicly facing resources very quickly because they are so ingrained in their current architectures and have little budget to enhance those typically.  But regardless, an effort should be made for Schema.org and extensions to provide some high level schema to help cross the gaps and digital divide on those documents especially for the public good.​

​
​
Here's some I found :

This one provides nice XSD files with some noteworthy enumerations inside of them.:​​
http://mncourts.gov/default.aspx?page=1379&printFriendly=true

(I look
​ed over​
 the Chameleon files
​quickly​
)

​http://www.xmllegal.org/CourtXML/

​
​Best,​


Thad
+ThadGuidry<https://www.google.com/+ThadGuidry>

On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 11:43 AM, Stuart Robinson <stuartro@google.com<mailto:stuartro@google.com>> wrote:
I've noticed that schema.org<http://schema.org> doesn't provide vocabulary for legal decisions--e.g., the Supreme Court case Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission:

http://en.wikipedia..org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC>
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=000&invol=08-205


One challenge for modeling this domain is coming up with a model that accommodates different types of courts, both within and between countries. It may be easier to develop a model for US legal decisions first and then expand it later or create other types for non-US courts.

With that in mind, I would propose the type USLegalDecision with the following properties:

name: the name of the decision (for Supreme Court cases, usually something like "X v Y")
court: the court where the decision was made (e.g., Supreme Court)
country:the country where the decision applies
whenArgued: the date on which arguments
whenDecided: the date on which the decision was rendered
citation: the case citation for the decision
courtAppealedFrom: which court the case was appealed from (optional since some cases low-level courts aren't appealed from another court) [note: optional given that a decision in a lower court won't be appealed from another court]

Using the Citizens United example, here's what the values might look like:

name: "Citizens United versus FEC"
court: "Supreme Court"
country: "USA"
whenArgued: [ "March 24, 2009", "September 9, 2009" ]
whenDecided: "January 21, 2010"
citation: "Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm'n, (558 U.S. ___ (2010); Docket No. 08-205)"
courtAppealedFrom: "United States District Court for the District of Columbia"

There are some additional properties to consider, such as the following:

Judge(s)
OpinionAuthor
ConcurrenceAuthor
DissentAuthor
LegalHolding(s)

Thoughts on the general modeling issues here (e.g., US-specificity) and feedback on the specific proposal would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Stuart Robinson

Received on Friday, 22 May 2015 15:39:53 UTC

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