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Criminal Law: Citators and Current Awareness tools

Have a Criminal Law question? This guide has answers.


What is a citator? 

A citator is a tool that allows the user to find everything that has ever cited your case or statute. Because legal standing and authority can change over time, courts can reverse or overturn decisions, you should check a citator to make sure your law is still good law before you cite it or make a legal argument based on it. 

Citators can also be used to find secondary sources that cite the case or statute you are researching and lead you to helpful documents, arguments, and cases.

Westlaw's KeyCite and Lexis' Shepard's are the main citators used in the legal community. 


Further information and tutorials on how to use Shepard's and KeyCite can be found in the following links:

Shepardizing - Making sure you cite good law (YouTube tutorial)

How To Check Citations (KeyCite Westlaw PDF)

Using KeyCite on Westlaw (YouTube tutorial)

Current Awareness Tools

Criminal Practice Manual (Westlaw login required)Reports on developments and trends in criminal law and practice strategies. Contains topical chapters on criminal defense issues as well as jury instructions, checklists, forms and trial transcripts.

Criminal Law Reporter (Bloomberg BNA) weekly news, commentary, and analysis on criminal law and coverage of U.S. Supreme Court cases.

Other resources

National Center for State Courts' Criminal Procedure Resource Guide contains information and links that may help the Criminal Law practitioner. 

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