Court Records

How to find court records


Court records are public records and include information on all the cases being handled by the judiciary of a particular area. Typically, court records will include details on:

 

  • – Allegations and charges
  • – Affidavits filed in the matter
  • – Sworn statements
  • – Status of cases in different courts like circuit courts, traffic courts or probate courts
  • – Judgments and sentences pronounced

 

Where can I find different courts records?

Court records of different courts are available at the court of clerk’s office for a small fee and sometimes available on the court websites as well. For instance, the superior court records can be found online in the superior court docket. If you don’t have the time to pay a visit, you can get the records online through the much talked about PACER system.

 

What is PACER? Can I do a case look up online through this service?


PACER stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. Typically, PACER account holders are attorneys, government agencies, financial and educational institutions. The system is also used by the general public to keep a track of litigation status.

This facility is offered by the federal judiciary through a central service and database. Information is available for federal appellate courts as well as bankruptcy and district courts. The PACER case locator can be used by people to do a nationwide search for parties involved in litigations in different states.

 

How much does it cost to get information on PACER?

The fee list is divided in three categories:

 

1. Electronic access Fees

  • – PACER charges $ 0.10 per page up to 30 pages for any access to dockets or court records.
  • – Same fee is applicable for searches done through the PACER case locator.
  • – Access to audio files of court hearings will cost you $2.40 per audio file.

 

2. Fees for printed copies of court records

To get a copy of any court documents at the court house you will need to pay $0.10 per page.

 

3. Fees for using the pacer service center

  • – It will cost you $30 per inquiry for a search done through the PACER Service Center.
  • – Fees to reproduce any records of a PACER account will cost you $0.50.If an amount payable to PACER for the service availed bounces or is rejected due to insufficient funds, you will be charged an extra $53. There are exemptions provided to some people and free access allowed in some cases.
  • – There is no fee to access judicial opinions.
  • – There is no fee to view documents at the courthouse through the public access terminals.

 

 

The Court may, at its discretion, exempt certain people from paying the fees. This facility would typically be given to indigent people, trustees of a bankruptcy case, pro bono attorneys and non-profit organizations.

 

What information can be received from the clerk of court’s office?


All the information related to a court case is available at the clerk of court’s office for that specific court, but it’s important to know where to look. Online information is great to save time, however if you are looking for everything related to the court case then it is best to visit the courthouse and look through the public court records.

 

What is the court docket?

A court docket is like an index with all the basic information pertaining to trials, such as the case number, case status, accusations, charges and arrest details of the case. However, all the details are not available in the electronic records. There have been instances when the district court docket online was missing a few details. The missing details though are available at the district court clerk’s office.

 

How can I do a court records search?

To search the court records you must first know the categories of documents available. There are 4 main categories of documents:

 

  • – Affidavits: Have the details of the case proceedings.
  • – Complaint or indictment: Has all the details from the beginning of the case, along with the allegations.
  • – Depositions and transcripts: Have the details of all the sworn testimonies and arguments made
  • – Final deposition: Has details of the charges, appeals and judgement passed with the sentence awarded.

 

Are there any court records that are not made available to the public?

Court records that are in the confidential records category cannot be accessed by the general public. These are records of cases involving juveniles, adoption and paternity suits, domestic violence protection order cases and psychological assessments and addiction treatment information. Needless to say, social security and bank account information is also kept confidential and not made available to anyone except government agencies. Documents admitted as evidence in the court are excluded from the court records.

 

What is the difference between court records and judicial records?

There is no difference between court records and judicial records as both provide the same information.

 

Why should I look up my own court record?

If you have a litigation going on in court, it is better to keep a track of it. Case hearings can be stressful if they clash with an important work day, but missing them is not an option. A lost mail can cost you dearly, if it leads to a missed appearance in court. The last thing anyone needs is a bench warrant that he/she is unaware of.

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