How to find full text of cases:

Visit the library's Resources by Academic Discipline web page for Criminal Justice and Law.

Through this website you can access:

  • Full text of Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals decisions via the State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Full text of state and federal case law through the LEXIS/NEXIS database (Access from the library's homepage and click "Journal Indexes, Full Text, and more".)

The Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals decisions are published chronologically in the Wisconsin Reports. The recently published cases are printed in the advance sheets, which are orange pamphlets placed next to the most recent bound volume. Both the bound volumes and the advance sheets are shelved on the third floor of the Karrmann Library.

Wisconsin Reports (KFW 2445 .W5) Vol. 1-275 (vol. 21 missing)

Wisconsin Reports, 2nd Series (KFW 2445 .W5 2d Ser.) Vol. 1 - to date

To Find a Wisconsin Court Decision or Case (from print sources)

By subject:

Use Callaghan's Wisconsin Digest (Ref KFW2441.1 .W5). Wisconsin Supreme Court/Court of Appeals, federal court and U.S. Supreme Court decisions construing and interpreting Wisconsin cases are indexed and digested in Callaghan's Wisconsin Digest. Look up "catch words" or subjects of interest in the index. This will lead to the appropriate headings in the main volumes. Ranges are listed alphabetically on spines. The reference will be to a "topic of law" and a section number. Each topic will provide synopses or digests of cases related to the subject.

When using Callaghan's Wisconsin Digest check the pocket part located inside the back cover for up-to-date information. Also check any advance sheet that is shelved with the set. The full text of the decision can be found by locating the volume of the Wisconsin Reports cited in the synopsis.

By case name:

Use Callaghan's Wisconsin Digest (REF KFW2441.1 .W5). Refer to the volumes with tables of cases. Check pocket parts and advance sheets.

Or check Shepard's Wisconsin Citations. One volume is also an alphabetical list of Wisconsin cases, and this source is shelved in the Reference Collection (Ref KFW 2459 .S5). Check advance sheets.

By citation:

Go directly to the Wisconsin Reports. A citation will include volume number, abbreviation of the Wisconsin Reports, and the page on which the decision begins.

Example: 12 Wis. 591

Parallel citations, (citations to the same case in different reporters) are common.

Example: 73 Wis. 2d 90, 241 N.W.2d 877

Note: We do not have the North Western Reporter in the library, but Wisconsin Reports offers the same text.

Be sure to check all advance sheets for the most recent information.

Points To Remember

  • Subject searching requires flexibility; try different words, if needed.
  • Copy the full citation, including case name, before going to next step.
  • If not sure of the case name, check both plaintiff-defendant and defendant-plaintiff tables.
  • Parallel citations are references to the same case in different reporters.
  • Always check pocket parts and/or advance sheets for the most current information.
  • When reading a legal citation, the order is volume, title of reporter series, first page of decision.
How to Read a Legal Citation

12 Wis. 591
Means: volume 12 of the Wisconsin 
Reports
, 1st series, page 591+

18 Wis. 2d 306
Means: volume 18 of the Wisconsin 
Reports
, 2nd series, page 306+

For Assistance

  • Ask at the Reference Desk
  • Call 342-1668 or Toll Free: 1-888-450-4632
  • E-mail: Ask a Librarian!

Branch Information

Baraboo Sauk County Campus:
T.N. Savides Library


Richland Campus:
Miller Memorial Library


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