Frequently Asked Questions - ECF
How do I access presentence disclosure documents?
Effective, Monday, December 1, 2014, all presentence disclosures made by the Probation Office in criminal cases assigned will be accomplished through CM/ECF. SECRIS will no longer be used to disclose documents. The notice of assignment, initial disclosures, as well as the final presentence report, will be docketed in ECF and counsel will receive a NEF (notice of electronic filing) when the documents are filed. Because most of these documents are sealed, counsel must access their copies through ECF, as they will not be available in PACER. Click here for instructions on opening these documents.
I am having a problem with the text size in a PDF document that was converted from a word processing program. How can I correct this problem?
Often the print settings within Adobe Acrobat are set such that print scaling enabled. Print scaling will shrink the printed content of a PDF document so that a "best fit" on paper is achieved, and this often results in a visually reduced font size when the PDF document is printed to paper. In order to print a PDF document such that the font size matches that of the original document, you will need to disable print scaling within Adobe Acrobat. To do this, when attempting to print a PDF document that is being viewed in ECF, from the printing dialog window change the setting that appears in the "Page Scaling" field (this is found within the "Page Handling" section of the printing dialog window) to read "None", and then click on "OK" to print the document. Once the print settings are changed so that print scaling is disabled, Acrobat will "remember" this setting such that it does not need to be selected in the future.
Why do I keep getting prompted to log in to ECF?
I enter my username/password, go to the next screen, click submit, and then get prompted to enter my username/password again.
1. You are logged into ECF with the same username and password as someone else in your firm. There can only be one active ECF session with a particular username and password. Once a second person logs in with the same username/password, the first session will end.
2. The firm has two Internet connections and is load-balancing between the two. In this case, the CM/ECF server sees two different IP addresses for the only login with that username/password, and so it still appears to the server that two people on two separate machines are logging in with the same login and password.
How do I file pro hac vice?
Out of state attorneys who wish to appear in this district must submit a formal application to appear pro hac vice. For a copy of the application form and detailed instructions on appearing pro hac vice in the District of Arizona, please click here to visit the Attorney Information section.
What civil and criminal events can be used when e-filing?
ECF users in the District of Arizona have the capability to search for filing events. The Event and Menu Search utility, labeled Search, is available from the main blue menu bar. When clicked, a small pop-up window appears, and the user can enter text for searching. Once the user enters text in the search box and clicks the Search button (or Enter on the keyboard) the results are displayed on the screen, with the search string characters highlighted. Each item is a hyperlink to the corresponding menu item or event, so the user can access the menu item or event directly from the search results screen.
The search function ignores the order of the words entered for searching. For example, search for “amended notice of appeal” will find event Notice of Appeal - Amended. In general, the less text entered in the search box, the more events and/or categories will display in the search results screen.
Note: The Search functionality is available for ECF users only (not PACER users).
Is there a user manual for external filers?
Yes. Open the User Manual from the "Training and User Manual" link on the left.
What are the guidelines for scanning documents?
ECF Document Scanning Tips
NOTE: Per LRCiv 7.1(c) and the District of Arizona ECF Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, only those documents which exist only in paper form are to be scanned into PDF format prior to e-filing. All other documents must be converted to PDF directly from a word processing program, and be text searchable.
1. Use 300 dpi resolution for scanning documents.
2. Set image type to black and white bitmap, text (image only), or line art.
3. Do not use Textbridge or OCR software, which scan the document to find alterations or to recognize words for later word processing. For filing purposes, we need only an image of the document.
4. Use black ink if possible. Blue ink and pencil do not scan well. If necessary, make a copy of the document before scanning it, and darken with the copy machine settings.
5. Request depositions on portable media (such as a floppy disk, CD, or flash drive) and convert them to PDF using a word processor.
6. Use PDF writer software such as Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional on the scanning computer to simplify the scanning process. In Acrobat, scan documents directly to PDF files by clicking File ... Create PDF ...From Scanner from the men u bar, or Create PDF...From Scanner from the tool bar (Acrobat 6/7/8), or File...Import...Scan from the menu bar (Acrobat 5).
7. Check the size of a scanned document before uploading it to CM/ECF. The size limit is 10 MB (ten megabytes, or 10000 KB) per document. To check the file size, locate the file in Windows Explorer and either right-click on the file and choose Properties, or hold your mouse cursor on the file name and it will display the size after about a half a second. If you use Adobe Acrobat to create the PDF file, with the file open in Acrobat, press Control-D to view the file size on the Acrobat document properties screen.
8. Estimated number of pages in a 10 MB scanned document:
a. Plain text, correspondence, pleadings, etc. 60-250 pages
b. Tables, charts, extensive graphics 8-40 pages
c. Condensed transcripts 20-30 pages
9. If a scanned document is larger than 10 MB, use PDF writer software such as Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional to extract/remove pages from the document to a separate file, resulting in two files. This prevents re-scanning the document.
Why can't I see my 'Free Look'?
Double-clicking will lose the free look at the document. It is important to only single-click the hyperlink to view the document.
Does the exhibit index have to be signed?
Where can I find a sample of a Certificate of Service?
The "Sample Certificate of Service" is a link from the electronic version of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual. If you view the Manual online and click on this link, it will provide sample language to use for your certificate of service.
What is the latest time that a document can be filed on any business day?
Documents can be filed as late as midnight, Arizona time.
Why does the PACER login screen appear when I click on my document link?
Double-clicking will lose the free look at the document. It is important to only single-click the hyperlink to view the document.
Refrain from viewing the document in the e-mail preview mode. Fully open the e-mail and then click on the link.
The free look is available only from the Notice of Electronic Filing in one's e-mail, and not from the e-filing receipt displayed inside ECF upon e-filing a document.
After the free look viewing of the PDF document, you must have a PACER account and log in to PACER to view the documents referenced by the document number hyperlink in the Notice of Electronic Filing e-mail.
If you believe you are receiving the PACER login prompt in error, you can contact the PACER Service Center for assistance at 1-800-676-6856.
What types of documents may I e-mail to a chambers e-mailbox? Proposed documents? Courtesy Copies? Miscellaneous information?
All registered users of the ECF system are reminded that the e-mail boxes designated for each judicial officer are to be used exclusively for lawyers to e-mail proposed orders in accordance with Section II.G.1.c., of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual. Absolutely no other form of communication should be directed to the court via the chambers e-mailbox.
Registered users are also reminded that, pursuant to Section II.D.3. of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, courtesy copies of certain filings must be submitted to the court in paper form, and may not be e-mailed to the court. Mailing addresses for all judicial officers may be found on our website.
What does this question mean? "Refer to existing event(s)?"
This screen allows you link to the document you are filing to a previously filed, related document. By clicking the box next to "Refer to existing event(s)?" the system will provide a list of documents already filed in the case. You can narrow that search by entering a date or document number range. You would then click the box next to the document you wish to link to. You may bypass this screen if there are no previously filed documents to which your filing relates.
What are the common things to remember when e-filing?
a. The civil cover sheet should be submitted as an attachment to the complaint. If a notice of removal, the supplemental cover sheet should also be attached.
b. Include your e-mail address on your title page.
c. Date your document.
d. Sign your document with s/(your name).
e. Proposed orders shall be an attachment to the motion or stipulation and must also be e-mailed to the judge's chambers.
f. Select the correct event for your document. Check "Other Documents" for frequently overlooked selections.
g. Adding the word "SEALED" to your docket entry does not seal your entry. See Section II., I and J of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual before filing a sealed or ex parte document.
h. A document to be filed should be converted to PDF from your word processing program, and the PDF file must be text searchable. Documents which exist only in paper form may be scanned into PDF for electronic filing. To be sure you are filing the correct document, always open the PDF before attaching it to your entry.
i. Dual entries are sometimes necessary. The same PDF can be attached but two entries will be needed. Example: Response to a Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. This will be e-filed as a response first and then as a motion.
j. File documents in the new criminal case, rather than the magistrate case, after an indictment has been filed.
k. If you are filing a two part motion, be sure to select both events. Example: For a Motion to Continue Trial and Extend Time to File Pretrial Motions you would select "Continue" and "Extend Time to File Pretrial Motions" from the "Motions" list, using control-click to select the second motion.
My login and password for U.S. Bankruptcy Court will not allow me into the CM/ECF system.
The electronic filing system for U.S. District Court is separate from U.S. Bankruptcy Court and, therefore, a separate login and password are required. Your PACER account can be the same.
My e-filing login and password issued by the Court do not work.
Logins and passwords in ECF are case-sensitive. Be sure to enter your ECF login and password exactly as it was issued to you via e-mail by the Court. Also, if you are e-filing, be sure to enter your ECF login and password, not your PACER password. The PACER password will not allow you to e-file.
Is a certificate of service still required?
Under F.R.Civ.P. 5(d), a certificate of service is required. However, per the sample found in the link under Section II.D.3. of our Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, the Certificate should state if service was electronic or paper and, if paper, what method was used. Part II, Section D of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual.
I have third-party "shareware" software that converts files to PDF. Can I use this to prepare documents for e-filing?
As long as the software product is compatible with Acrobat 4.0 and above, there should be no problem with using the software to convert documents to pdf for eventual e-filing.
I have a large document to file, and the ECF system will not complete the transaction.
The system will "time out" after a designated period of time. If you are attempting to file a document with multiple attachments, the transaction may take longer than this designated time. You can minimize this by reducing the resolution of your documents and/or combining the attachments into larger files, not to exceed ten (10) megabytes. The number of attachments associated with a single entry shall not exceed ten (10). Please see Part II, Section K of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual.
I have a copy of Adobe Acrobat 3.0. Will that work with CM/ECF?
No. You must have a software product that produces pdf files that are compatible with Adobe Acrobat 4.0 and above in order to e-file in ECF.
How should a stipulation be filed in ECF?
Section II.C.3. of the Administrative Manual addresses multiple signatures on stipulations and other papers. Specifically, the filer of any document requiring more than one signature must certify that the content of the document is acceptable to all persons required to sign the document by obtaining either physical or facsimile signatures, or authorization for the electronic signatures of all parties on the document. If physical or facsimile signatures are used, the document must be scanned and electronically filed in PDF. If electronic signatures are to be used, the signatories should appear as "s/Jane Doe," "s/John Smith," etc. for each electronic signature.
How do I update my password?
You may update your password by going to "UTILITIES" and click on "MAINTAIN YOUR LOGIN/PASSWORD." Highlight the asterisks in the password box and enter the new password. Click on "SUBMIT." The new password will be effective the next time you log in. It is NOT recommended that you change your login.
If you have forgotten or lost your password you may request a new one by:
1. Click the link on the login page requesting a new password be issued.
2. Enter your login ID (This is the registered user's first initial and last name and it is case sensitive.)
3. When the e-mail request is received, click the embedded link and enter the login ID and new password.
How do I submit courtesy copies for the judge?
Paper courtesy copies for the judge are required for certain document types as listed under Section II.D.3. of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual. To verify electronic filing, the Notice of Electronic Filing must be appended to the last page of the courtesy copy. The courtesy copy must be either post-marked and mailed directly to the judge or hand-delivered to the judge's mail box located in the courthouse by the next business day after the electronic filing. Courtesy copies are to be provided in paper form only and should not be e-mailed. For further information, please reference Part II, Section D of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual.
How do I get a summons issued?
A summons for each defendant (excluding fictitious parties) in civil actions can be submitted for issuance after receiving notice confirming a civil case number and judge assignment. Attach the summons to the “Summons Submitted” event located in the “Service of Process” category. The Clerk will issue each summons and return them to the filer electronically.
How do I file exhibits to a document?
The entire group of exhibits may be submitted as one attachment to the document but must not exceed ten (10) megabytes with a resolution of 300 dots per inch (dpi). The first page of the attachment should be an index of the attached exhibits. The number of attachment associated with a single entry shall not exceed ten (10). Please see Part II, Section K of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual.
How do I file a document under seal?
See Section II., I and J of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual before filing a sealed or ex parte document.
How do I add or change an e-mail address for ECF electronic noticing?
1. Log in to ECF.
2. Go to “Utilities”, “Your Account”
3. Click on “Maintain Your E-mail”
4. Click on the existing e-mail address in the “Registered e-mail addresses” list.
5. The selected e-mail address will appear for updating under “Configuration options” on the right side of the screen.
6. Make necessary changes to the existing e-mail address.
7. Click on “Submit all changes” before exiting this screen.
*** Although you are able to add cases of interest to your profile on this screen, please be advised that pursuant to LRCiv 5.5(i), a Registered User may subscribe to receive Notices of Electronic Filing in an unsealed case in which the Registered User is not a party or counsel of record by filing a text-only Notice of Request for E-Notice event on the electronic document. Upon receipt of the Notice of Request for E-Notice, the Clerk’s Office will add the case of interest to your profile.
*** Pursuant to LRCiv 83.3(d), an attorney or unrepresented party must file a notice of name or address change, and an attorney must also file a notice of change of firm name or e-mail address. A separate notice must be filed in each active case.
Upon receipt of the notice filed in each active case, the Clerk’s Office will update all information EXCEPT the attorney’s primary and secondary e-mail addresses. The attorney will be responsible for updating the e-mail address by following the steps above.
*** Please note that you may also add e-mail addresses to your profile.
Pursuant to Section I. C of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, you may register up to two (2) additional e-mail addresses. E-mail addresses exceeding this limit may be removed by the Clerk’s Office.
How can I view documents in a Social Security case?
In order to confirm that the user is the attorney of record in a Social Security or criminal case, the user must enter ECF login and password (not PACER) when the login screen appears to view the document via the Notice of Electronic Filing.
How can I determine if someone is registered?
You may check to see if a person is a registered user by going to "UTILITIES" and clicking on "MAILINGS", "MAILING INFO FOR A CASE." After entering the case number, the ECF system will display how each party will receive notice of electronic filings. The information will include their e-mail address or mailing address.
How are proposed orders submitted?
Electronically submitted orders must be included as separate attachment to the motion or stipulation. Following the filing of the motion or stipulation, a proposed order in WordPerfect or MS Word format and pdf version of the motion or stipulation must immediately be sent to the court in a separate, non-ECF generated e-mail message. The proposed order must not contain any form of signature line or block for the judge. The proposed order, as well as a pdf version of the related motion or stipulation, should be attached to an Internet e-mail message and sent to the e-mail address of the assigned judge. The subject line of the message should contain the case number and title of the case, and the text of the message should reference the document number assigned to the motion or stipulation assigned by the ECF system when it was electronically filed. A typical e-mail message subject line would appear as follows: "Proposed Order in 2:05cv12345 Smith vs. Jones, et al." under Section II.G.1.c. of the Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual.
Has the Rule regarding mailing response time changed?
Yes, in part. Effective 12/1/16, Rule 6(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was amended to remove service by electronic means under Rule 5(b)(2)(E) from the modes of service that allow 3 added days to act after being served. Rule 6(d) now says: "When a party may or must act within a specified time after being served and service is made under Rule 5(b)(2)(C) (mail), (D) (leaving with the clerk), or (F) (other means consented to), 3 days are added after the period would otherwise expire under Rule 6(a)". Three (3) days are no longer added when service has been accomplished by electronic means. If a party is not served electronically, then the 3-day mailing time would still apply.
Can an attorney file a document on behalf of another attorney?
All attorney appearances and submissions are governed by Local Rule of Civil Procedure 83.3. LRCiv 83.3(a) states in part that, ". . . An occasional court appearance or filing of a pleading, motion or other document as associate counsel at the request of an attorney of record shall not require the filing of a notice of association."
The ECF login and password for each registered user serves as that attorney's signature for purposes of Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and for all other purposes under the Federal Rules of Civil, Criminal and Appellate Procedure and the Local Rules of this court. An attorney should not permit his or her password to be used by anyone other than an authorized agent and is responsible for all documents filed with his or her password. LRCiv 5.5(g) states in part, ". Documents signed by an attorney shall be filed using that attorney's ECF log-in and password and shall not be filed using a log-in and password belonging to another attorney."
Based on the above, we believe the answer to the question you raise is best left to the discretion of the affected attorney of record.