Author Archives: Van

What’s New With e-Filing Court Documents

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It’s been a while since we’ve discussed electronic filing of court documents, so it’s time to note some recent “e-filing” developments. Our original 2009 post provides a good introduction to the process, and the reasons it’s being implemented. In a nutshell, filing court documents electronically saves time, money, and paper. Instead of typing up a form from scratch – or completing a fillable PDF document online and printing it out – all the work is done on your computer. Instead of then delivering that paper document to the court clerk, you simply transmit it from your computer. In addition to … Read More

Citation Information by Text Message

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Just a quick update on a new way courts are taking advantage of technology. One of the first and most widely used is online payment of traffic and parking tickets, which we covered here, here, and here. Next up were the ubiquitous red light camera tickets, which can also be paid online.

Since some people don’t want to pay their tickets without a fight, some courts allow tickets to be contested online without having to show up in court. We’ve even seen examples of courts allowing some hearings to be held by telephone or online instead … Read More

How Many Courts?

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Here at CourtReference, we’ve quite familiar with the court systems in every state. Unless you have business with courts in many different states, you may not be aware of how different court systems can be from state to state.

The basic structure is not so different; each state usually has a trial court in which the parties argue both the facts and the law in front of a judge or jury. The judge decides how to apply the law, and the judge or jury decides which facts are true and which are not – in other words, which party … Read More

A New Look for CourtReference.com

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We’ve made it easier for you to find the court-related information you need on CourtReference.com. When you search for your local court information on CourtReference.com, you will select a county; then CourtReference.com will display a page containing a list of all the courts in that county, along with contact information for each court.

Until our recent re-design, each court’s information was followed by three links: an “Online Resources” link, a “Map This Court” link, and a link containing the name of the court. If you didn’t know what those links meant – or didn’t realize they were links, even … Read More

Legal Help for Seniors

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Many businesses and government agencies give special treatment to people over a certain age. That age limit is usually around 60, 65, or somewhere in between. If you’re a “senior”, an “elder”, or otherwise in that category, you can usually get discounts from private enterprise on things like meals, hotels, and movie tickets. From the government, you can get a lifetime pass to National Parks for only $10.

When it comes to the justice system, seniors don’t get any breaks. If you’re accused of a crime, or sued for damages, the law only cares about your age if you’re a … Read More

More Court Tech: Skype Hearings

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At CourtReference, we’re always alert for advances in court technology. We don’t just mean finding court records; CourtReference has provided links to online court record resources, other court-related resources, and court websites for many years. We’re talking about interaction with the court by actual parties to the case.

Gone are the days when every interaction with the court took place in person. Payment of court fines online was one of the first methods of conducting court business electronically, and now it’s the most common; we covered it here, here, and here.

Once it became so easy … Read More

A New Specialty Court: Sex!

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Special court programs to deal with specific types of cases exist in every state. “Accountability Courts” or “Problem-Solving Courts” or “Therapeutic Courts” are special court programs that use treatment and social services in lieu of incarceration. We’ve covered specific types over the years: Drug Courts here and here, Mental Health Courts, Family Dependency Treatment Courts, and Veterans Courts.

These programs include intensive supervision by a team that includes the judge, and have proven to reduce recidivism and save their jurisdictions money, because treatment is less expensive than jail. Offenders with substance abuse and/or mental health problems … Read More

Different Type of Court, Same Type of Name?

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We talked about about the different types of courts you might find in different states here, including the difficulty of figuring out which local court handles your type of case (and the fact that CourtReference helps you figure that out). If you know the name of each court in your area, you can go to CourtReference and see what types of cases that court handles.

But just knowing the name of a court may not always be enough, depending on where you live. For example, you would think that a “Municipal Court” would have jurisdiction over a particular municipalityRead More

How Not to Find Case Records

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Last month’s post was a refresher course about how to find case records. It did mention simply Googling “court records” (“case records” will produce similar results) before suggesting better options. I’d like to explain a bit more about why Google is not the most efficient way to find case records.

Each court system maintains its own case records, perhaps on a statewide or countywide database, or a court-specific database, or (yes, even in this day and age) in paper files in steel filing cabinets, or on microfilm (to be fair, that last method is mostly used for older cases that … Read More

How to Find Case Records: A Refresher

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Here at CourtReference, we get a lot of questions about court records. People want to know how to go about looking up a divorce record, doing a criminal background check, or looking up a will from the 1800’s.

Of course anyone can just Google “court records” to start the ball rolling. But if Google knows your location (and they do, they do!), the top search results will be for your area – and most of the rest will be for commercial websites that charge a fee to search. That’s why most of our questions are about how to find … Read More