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Finding Court Records

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In the United States we have complex court system that is broken down into many parts. There are two main branches of the US court system; federal courts and state courts. Each of these court systems are made up of more granular parts (described below). It is important to note what level of court the record pertains to (state or federal) because finding court records can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. The following information breaks down our US court record system so that you can find the court records you’re looking for without losing your mind.

Federal Courts are broken up into 3 parts; The United States Supreme Court, The Court of Appeals and District Courts. This is where you can locate the federal records for; bankruptcy court records, criminal court records, appellate court records, military court records, circuit court records, tax court records, federal lawsuit records, veteran court records and US Supreme Court records. There is some overlap between the state and federal courts but keep this in mind … court cases that are of a state nature are generally held in a state court unless elevated to the federal appeal courts or the United States Supreme Court.

State Courts are broken into many parts; Trial Courts, Civil Courts, Municipal Courts, Justice of The Peace Courts (JP Courts), County Courts, Superior Courts, Circuit Courts, State Supreme Courts, District Courts, Magistrate Courts, Courts of Common Pleas, Regional Courts and City Courts. The state courts are where most of the court cases start, at the lower levels, and then they can be elevated to the federal level depending on the nature of the court case. Trial courts can include county, city, magistrate, jp, or circuit courts and this is where you will find county court records, criminal court records, traffic court records and some civil court records. Courts of general jurisdiction (circuit, superior & district courts) hear cases relating to lawsuits and financial matters. This is where you will find lawsuit records and court cases that involve large sums of money. Civil courts will hear family court cases and that is where you will find family, marriage and divorce records.

The main thing to take away from this article on finding court records is; 1st Ask yourself what type of court record you are looking for (state or federal), 2nd What kind of court case was this record tied to (criminal court case, civil court case, etc…) A good place to start in finding court records is to use a 3rd party database (ie. SearchQuarry.com) that indexes public records so that you can do a simple name search and find out all the court records that are attached to that person’s public record. This will help you to narrow down your efforts and save you a lot of time while trying to digest all this information.

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Finding Court Records

Finding Court Records

4 Comments
  1. public records a supposed to be free but like our goverment they all lie so you think you have rights to veiw them and you guys use the word freedom like you care these people only let you act like your free until you pay them for your freedom now you can have your rights that you was GIVIN to you by our four father who believe we should be free not HE WHO CAN GIVE US MORE MONEY WILL HAVE FREEDOM AND RIGHTS and for the rest of the people come back later when you can at lest give us some money to hear you you have money for us to sell you your free rights to still not get the freedom I WAS PROMISED TOO with little more you can have rights

    • Hello Phillip,
      Public records are actually free to view in most cases. However, it is often necessary to send in a Freedom of Information Act request for many different types of information. An FOIA request is not always necessary as much public information can be found in our court system. In some cases, individual courts will allow online access for free or for a fee, or they will process formal offline requests.

      Websites like SearchQuarry.com that have member’s areas which allow users to access organized public records are a primarily a convenience and a time saving utility. With some time on your hands and an internet connection, you should be able to get your hands on the information that you are looking for. That being said, most people don’t have enough time too have a thorough look through all public record sources, and it makes more sense to pay for a look at a member’s area such as the one that SearchQuarry.com has. Our service is offered on a trial basis for $2.95. During your trial, you would have full access to the member’s area with unlimited searches available. You can even refund the $2.95 if you are unhappy.

      In many cases, you are correct that having some money to pay for access to records is quite helpful, as many direct public record sources will charge processing fees for accessing public records. It may not be of much consolation to you, but at least we still have the right to access all of these public records. In many countries, this is not the case as information is held by governments and not given to the people at all.

      Best Regards,

      Search Quarry Team

  2. I was hoping to find a system similar to Missouri. They have missouricasenet where the public can put a name in an up pops, speeding tickets,civil and criminal cases, for free. Its wonderful as a Landlord in Missouri, not having to rent to people who destroy other Landlords homes and in casenet. NO so lucky for my very few houses in Kansas, where I can not easily get that type of information unless I travel through approved channels. Dropping taxes in Kansas, is not the Key to success, getting rid of stupid regulations, is. Stupid regulations is the same as high taxes in my mind.

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