Category Archives: Finding Court Records

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

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

Case Records Get More Mobile

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Just a few years ago, some courts started making court records and calendars available via mobile apps; we talked about it here. Those services required an iOS, Android, or BlackBerry app to be downloaded to your mobile device.

Since we last covered this topic, more court systems have offered mobile app access to their case records, calendars, and other information. Examples abound:

In Illinois, the Cook County Clerk of Circuit Court offers downloadable iOS and Android apps that include case record searches, traffic ticket searches, court location information and mapping, a fee schedule, and contact information.

In Ohio, the … Read More

A New Type of Court Record

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CourtReference loves court records. Each of our state guides has links to many different kinds of court-related resources, but the most popular are the links to online court records. If your court doesn’t have records online – or if you need to see the original hardcopy – each CourtReference state guide provides contact information for every trial court in the state, so you can locate the court and arrange to see the records.

We like to talk about court records on this blog too; we’ve covered the things you need to know about court records here, the many new … Read More

When Court Websites Come Up Short

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Businesses, organizations, units of government, even many individuals have websites. It’s no surprise that many courts also have websites. As with any other entity’s website, some court websites are better than others: easier to see what’s there, easier to navigate, with more content.

On some court websites, it’s obvious at first glance how to contact the court by mail and phone, how to search case records and court calendars, how to locate and download the forms you need, and how to pay fines online. An explanation of the court’s process; the types of cases the court handles; and links to … Read More

Juvenile Records – Sealing or Expungement

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In our July 2008 post about juvenile court records, we noted that most juvenile court records are confidential. This is done to protect the juvenile, on the theory that juveniles are more prone to bad decisions than adults (i.e., they do “dumb things”), but that they can be rehabilitated. Law enforcement agencies and the court system can see juvenile records, but the general public cannot.

Background checks for the purposes of employment and housing – and sometimes for college admission, financial aid, etc. – are the general public’s main interest in court records. Since most juveniles are not yet … Read More

Misconceptions About Court Records Availability

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While keeping up with developments in court systems, court records, and related online resources, we at CourtReference frequently encounter discussions about the difficulty – or ease – of finding court records online. We’ve discussed the many types of court records available online, right here on this blog; see our posts about More Court Records (Jan 2012),  What to Know Before Searching (Dec 2010), Jurisdiction and Court Records (Oct 2008), Court Records Basics (Aug 2008),  and Where to Find Criminal Records (Feb 2008).

Yet many people still have trouble finding court records. “There’s no such thing as free court records online” … Read More

Need help finding Mr. Right-the CORRECT Mr. Right-when searching in public and court records online?

 Here are some tips to maximize your efficiency and retrieve more accurate search results so he won’t be so elusive!   Due to advances in technology and demand for public and court records, there are multiple sources online to locate individuals  and companies. You can literally profile an individual from cradle to grave-birth record to death notice-as well as determine marital status, criminal history, credit worthiness, professional standing or suspension, even political party affiliation!  Similarly, with a company you can determine ownership, professional hierarchy within the organization, publicly or privately held status, assets, solvency, and compliance with legal and regulatory industry … Read More

State Court Records Access-Does the Medium Matter?

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Historically, state courts have offered public access to court records where the information resides-at the local courthouse. Any person willing to travel to the courthouse could request to view and copy records from the court clerk or document custodian in the available format, whether paper or electronic. However, with the emergence of record scanning, data collection and storage, the public has demanded instant delivery of all court documents, including judicial opinions, orders, pleadings, and images. Many state courts have developed web sites and online subscription services to provide virtual access to their records, previously accessible only by physically visiting the … Read More