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CJ 3100 Legal Research and Writing (Paden): Home

Citing Sources in APA Style

Basic examples

In-text examples from Purdue Owl

Print books in Reference List examples from Purdue Owl

Print articles in Reference List examples from Purdue Owl

More print sources in Reference List examples from Purdue Owl

Online sources in Reference List examples from Purdue Owl

Citing Legal Sources in APA style

 Citing Cases in APA Style

      In text:  (Lessard v. Schmidt, 1972)

      In bibliography:   Lessard v. Schmidt, 349 F. Supp. 1078 (E. D. Wis. 1972)

"Lessard v. Schmidt" is the case name.  "349 F. Supp. 1078" is the volume, title, and page number of the source.  "E.D. Wis." refers to the court that tried the case, the Eastern District of Wisconsin.  1972 is the date it was tried.  NOTE:  A Supreme Court case does not list the court tried.  For example, this is a Supreme Court case:

      Brown v. Board of Educ., 347 U.S. 482 (1954).

"U.S." refers to the publication United States Reports.

Citing US Constitution in APA Style

   In text:  (U.S. Constitution Amendment XIV, Section 2)

   In bibliography:  U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 2.


Citing State and Federal Code in APA Style

"In text, give the popular or official name of the act (if any) and the year of the act.  In the reference list entry, include the source and section number of the statute, and in parentheses, give the publication date of the statutory compilation, which may be different from the year in the name of the act."                                        Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed., pp. 219-220.

In Text:  The Mental Health Systems Act says that " . . . " (1988).

Or:  The Mental Health Systems act of 1988 says that " . . . ".

Reference List:       

Mental Health Systems Act, 42 U.S.C. § 9401 (1988).

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C.A. § 4332 (1994).

Note:            U.S.C. = United States Code

          U.S.C.A.  = United States Code Annotated


After an act is codified into law, its "name" may no longer follow in the code.   Simply refer to the code citation itself. 

In text:   Title 28 of U.S. Code states that " . . . " (1994).

Reference List

28 U.S.C. § 1291 (1994).

In text:  The California Penal Code states that " . . . " (2004).

Reference List

Cal. Pen. Code § 224 (2004).

If using a database such as LexisNexis, identify that source in the parenthetical along with the date indicated by the database. 

Reference List

Cal. Pen. Code § 224 (LexisNexis 2012).


If citing a statute from a Web site, include the traditional citation plus the name of the provider of the Web site (unless contained within the URL), the URL, and a date.  Use a brief form of the URL, which will indicate where the document is located on the Web site, rather than the full URL.  For the parenthetical date, use the date of the law if indicated.  If not, give the date the Web site was last updated.  If neither are available, then indicate the date you accessed the site.    

Cal. Pen. Code § 224, State of California, available at (accessed 4/5/2011).


These examples are adapted from

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.).  Washington, D.C.:  American Psychological Association.

Harvard Law Review Association. (2000). The Bluebook:  A Uniform System of Citation (17th ed.).  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard Law Review Association.


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