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Troubleshooting CM/ECF

Always enter the Court assigned ECF user login and password first. If prompted for a login and password again, enter the PACER login and password. This fixes many problems.


Internet Explorer 

  • From the menu click on Tools --▸Internet Options
  • On the General tab under the Temporary Internet Files heading, clock on the Settings button
  • Make sure Every Visit to the Page is selected under Check for Newer Versions of Stored Pages
  • Click OK button
  • Click OK button

ECF Free Document First Look

  • If the document is in a Criminal, Magistrate or Social Security case, or any document with security, when you click on the link for the document for the first time, you will be prompted to login to the ECF/Pacer account. LOGIN USING YOUR ECF ACCOUNT LOGIN AND PASSWORD. This should take you straight to the document – this is your free look. If you use your PACER account login and password, you will lose your free look, and will have to take up any billing disputes with the PACER company.
  • If the document is for a non-Social Security civil case, when you click on the document link for the first time, it should take you straight to the document without asking for a login. This is your free look.
  • If you click on the case number link that takes you to the docket you will receive a login prompt. You should login with your pacer account login and password. You do not get a free look at a docket sheet. YOU WILL BE CHARGED.
  • If you login to ECF or PACER without using the e-mail link, YOU WILL BE CHARGED.

How to tell what type of case it is:

  • Criminal - The case number will contain a “cr” (i.e. 4:06CR941)
  • Magistrate - The case number will contain a “mj” (i.e. 4:06MJ00941)
  • Civil - The case number will contain a “cv” (i.e. 4:06CV941)

When you click on the document number and are taken to a login screen

  • If the case is a Criminal, Magistrate or Social Security case, or a document with security, first login using your Court assigned ECF login and password
  • If you have already viewed the case using the link in the e-mail, you will be charged for this subsequent look.

Viewing Restricted documents

  • You must be logged in with your e-filing login, when viewing restricted documents. If you do not login with your e-filing login, CM/ECF will not know who you are and will not recognize you as a authorized user. The PACER login will only give you access to public documents and entries. It is recommended that you always login with your e-filing login and if you are required to pay for viewing a document or docket sheet, you will be prompted for a PACER login. You should then login with you PACER information.

When you click on the document number link and nothing happens.

  • his happens sometimes with AOL users. If you are using AOL mail and the AOL browser, you will have to change your e-mail notification from HTML to text
  • Occasionally something will have been docketed in error and then deleted by the Court. The attorney will receive an NEF with the document number in it. When you click on the document number, you will receive an error because it no longer exists. You should login and look at the docket sheet. When a docket entry has been deleted there should be a follow-up entry explaining why it was deleted. The attorney should also get an e-mail for this entry.

When I click on the document link, my Acrobat Reader says it can’t display the file.

  • Make sure you have the most current version of Acrobat Reader.

Internal Error 47 

  • This error is the result of a docket entry being done incorrectly. Make sure you fill all necessary fields and select the appropriate options.

While docketing you are prompted for a PACER login

  • This usually is due to the user clicking on the hyperlink for the case instead of clicking on the NEXT button. After choosing an event to docket and entering the case number, the next screen will have a hyperlink with a NEXT and CLEAR button underneath it. You should click on the NEXT button instead of the hyperlink.