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LRAC Legal Research Class Site

Citators for Statutes

One purpose of a citator (such as KeyCite or Shepard's) is to update statutes. For a particular statute (the cited statute), a citator will give you the history of a statute and reveal every time a later case or secondary source (a citing reference) refers to the cited statute.   

A citator for statutes has THREE basic purposes.

  • Purpose One: Current Version - You want to make absolutely sure you are looking at the most current version of your statute. There are two things that you want to know about your statute.
    • Are you looking at the most current version (or is there a recent amendment that hasn't been incorporated into the text)?
    • Is there a pending bill that might pass tomorrow and amend your statute (not as important)?
  • Purpose Two: Validity - It is very important to make sure your statute (or part of your statute) hasn't received negative treatment from a court before you cite it. (Important note: Just because one part of a statute is invalid doesn't mean the whole statute is invalid.) Examples of negative treatment from case law:
    • Unconstitutional
    • Unconstitutional as applied
    • Preempted
    • Recognized as unconstitutional
    • Invalid
  • Purpose Three: Research - Citators are great for statutory research. Once you find a statute on your specific legal topic, you can look at the citing references - cases that interpret your statute and secondary sources that explain it.

Statute Example

Using KeyCite for a Statute Example: A.R.S. § 11-1025