How to Find Court Records On and Offline
One of the crowning achievements of the Founding Fathers has been the American court system. It is an institution that the overwhelming majority of people have faith in, and one of the biggest reasons why is because the public always has unfettered access to court records. With the exception of cases involving a minor, anyone can request the official transcription of a court case so that they can learn about what happened. This system allows for judges to be held responsible and for instances of corruption to be easily discovered. If you are looking to request official court records yourself, you can do so online or offline. Let's take a look at who you need to contact.
You should probably start with your local courts to see if they have the records you need. Find the county seat in your area and call the clerk of courts to see if they have the records you are searching for. The average county court keeps records on file for both criminal and civil matters. If the county court can't help you, they will likely be able to direct you to an official in the state court system.
If you are told to contact your state courts, you are likely going to need a phone book to find the number for the court clerk in your state capital. Once you've reached the right people, you will be told how you can receive your court record. Often times, you will be asked to send a self addressed, stamped envelope to the state and your record will be mailed back to you in a certain amount of time.
If you are trying to get copies of federal court records, you can contact The Library of Congress or the National Archives. The United States Government Printing Office makes a government phone book that will help you track down the right people in Washington DC to call if you need federal court records.
Thankfully, the Internet has made tracking down court records much easier. Many county and state court offices have their own websites that allow you to get the records you need, or you can use a web site like RecordsProject.com to find all of the court record information you need. With just a few clicks, you can easily track down all of the necessary information you need without all of the tiresome legwork that is usually involved.