What Can I Learn from Court Records?
If you live in one of the many large cities dotted throughout the U.S. landscape, you know how unnerving it can be to constantly have new neighbours. If you have kids, its like having to play lookout around the clock, and since not every threat to your family is obvious, there is no way you can anticipate every eventuality. The path of least resistance may be simply looking up court records.
Thanks to the power of major search engines, it isn't difficult to figure out if the guy who moved in next door was involved in a court case somewhere in the United States. If they were, you can order court records online to find out exactly what happened.
What to Expect from Court Records
Who? — You will get a detailed explanation of who this person is and who they were involved with. Was it simply a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time or is there more to it than that? You owe it to your family and to your neighbours to find out the truth, and court records can lift that veil of secrecy for you.
What? — What happened that caused your not so innocent looking new neighbour to be involved in a court case? Was he the defendant or did he simply testify? Was he a ring leader of some crime syndicate or did he have to testify on behalf of the prosecution?
These are huge questions that people often feel the need to find answers to in order to feel safe at home. State and federal court records document all of this information in great detail, and assuming the records haven't been sealed by a judge, you can, as an American citizen, view them all.
How To Access Records
When & How? — Was this an incident that happened decades ago or was it something that happened last month? Most importantly, what was the result and how did it affect your new neighbour? The Freedom of Information Act has helped to make these records and other official documents available to the public, you simply have to request them.
Court records aren't a flawless insight into the psyche of those around you, but they can provide an incredible amount of information on people who interact with your family and your children on a daily basis. It is up to you to decide if you want to unlock all available information.