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Legal Research

This guide will provide basic legal information that can be found in the NMSU Library and elsewhere on the internet.


Citations for Case Law

                X vs. Y ___a____ ____b____ ____c____ (d)

a.       Volume

b.       Title of publication (see sample abbreviations at left)

c.        Page number

d.       Date in parenthesis


Citations for Statutes

                ____a____ ____b____ ____c____

a.       Title number

b.       Title of Publication

c.        Section


“Parallel citations” means an entry show two sources

Example: 452 N.M. 383, 822 P.2d 535

(this is the same statute, one entry is in NM Reports and the other in Pacific Reporter)


For legal citations to be mentioned in a body of writing: use the “Blue Book”, which is titled A Uniform System of Citation (Ref KF245 U55).


Other New Mexico Case Law Resources

Interpreting Case Law

New Mexico Supreme Court Cases

The Pacific Reporter and Digest

Law reports or reporters are series of books that contain judicial opinions from a selection of case law decided by courts. When a particular judicial opinion is referenced, the law report series in which the opinion is printed will determine the case citation format.  The Pacific Reporter comprises all the decisions of the Supreme Courts of California, Kansas, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Montana, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, District Courts of Appeal and Appellate Department of the Superior Court of California and Criminal Court of Appeals of Oklahoma.

Digests are organized alphabetically by topic.  Each Topic begins with a scope note (Subjects Included and Subjects Excluded and Covered by Other Topics), then an outline of the Topic (Analysis). Abstracts of points of law are then arranged in order by Key Number.  Each digest has a Descriptive Word Index and a Table of Cases. Most also have Defendant-Plaintiff Tables (earlier regional and decennial digests do not).  This digest directly supplements the Pacific digest, 1850-1931.