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
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
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
Are there areas in your town or city that have become unsightly due to abandoned cars, buildings in disrepair or extremely overgrown yards and you wish something could be done about it? One Louisiana Parish is currently taking the necessary steps to get an area of its Parish cleaned up. According to an article entitled “Jefferson Parish planning Thursday code sweep in Harvey,” by Ben Myers, The Times Picayune, June 22, 2015, code inspectors for Jefferson Parish planned an inspection on June 25, 2015, of Harvey, a census-designated area on the west bank of the Mississippi River. The purpose of … Read More
Every state court system has an administrative branch that manages the court system’s internal operations. It is most often named the Administrative Office of the Courts (as in Washington), but may also be called the Office of Judicial Administration (as in Kansas), Office of the State Court Administrator (as in Colorado , the Chief Court Administrator (as in Connecticut), the Division of State Court Administration (as in Indiana), the Director of State Courts (as in Wisconsin), and even the Office of the Executive Secretary (as in Virginia).
These administrative offices are usually under the … Read More
In our earlier post about court calendars, we discussed various types of court calendars and dockets. When using CourtReference to find court calendars and dockets, remember that these are are usually a detailed list of upcoming hearings, with information about the time and location of the hearing and the name of the case or parties; here’s an example from McLean County, IL. Dockets and calendars often include additional details about the case, such as this one from Dane County, WI with a link to each judge’s weekly calendar; each case on the calendar includes a linked case number … Read More
Part of our job here at CourtReference – in addition to making sure that court contact information and links to court websites and other resources are up to date – is to provide a brief explanation of each state’s trial court system. When you select a state on CourtReference, the next page you see has a list of that state’s trial courts, an explanation of each, and a chart showing which types of cases are heard by each court.
Most state trial court systems are fairly simple, with one or two levels of general-jurisdiction courts in each county. We’ve … Read More
Today, April 25, 2014, I heard an advertisement on the radio for the State of Washington’s “Claim Your Cash” website. The radio advertisement encourages people to check the State’s unclaimed property website for money that is being held by the State. Generally, unclaimed property is money that is forwarded to the State by organizations that held funds which had not been claimed by the rightful owner within a three year period. Unclaimed property consists of bank accounts, insurance proceeds, utility deposits and uncashed checks.
In Washington State, the funds are held by the State until claimed by the rightful owner. … Read More
Crime is in the news lately. But as they say in the news business, “If it bleeds, it leads.” – so whether crime rates are up or down, crime is always in the news. Among the crime reports are those in which the accused is a minor, so the reports note whether the accused will be tried as an adult or a minor. But what does that question really mean?
If the minor is tried as an adult, the trial will be in a regular criminal court, and neither the process nor the result will take the accused’s age into … Read More
Last month we discussed judges (Justices of the Peace and Magistrates) who are not required to have law degrees, and whose courts have jurisdiction over areas larger than a city or town. Judges of city, town, village, and other municipal courts in many states are also not required to have law degrees or be practicing lawyers. These judges only have geographical jurisdiction over their own municipality, and in many states their subject-matter jurisdiction is limited to violations of the municipality’s ordinances.
We reviewed New York’s Town Courts and Village Courts in a 2010 post; with over 1200 such courts, … Read More