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Understanding Superior Court Records

Every state in the U.S. operates its own judiciary system, which may or may not include a superior court. States that do include a superior court or superior courts in their system may place these in each city or county, or even specific circuits which oversee several counties at once. Generally, superior courts are general jurisdiction courts and will also hear appeals from lower, local jurisdiction courts. 

Finding Superior Court Records

The Superior Court Clerk’s office will maintain all case files from past and present issues heard in that court. Some judiciary websites may provide electronic forms of these records that can easily be searched from the comfort of your own home. However, this can be costly, and many local jurisdictions may not have the funds or manpower to provide this option.

Public search engines may be able to point you in the right direction. By simply searching for an individual’s name, you may be provided with a link to the proper court’s site, given a case file number and even the date and judgment or ruling in the case.

Types of Records You May Find

Depending upon the corresponding state’s court system, a superior court may hear and record cases involving juveniles, traffic infractions, appeals from lower courts, small claims, property, civil cases and criminal cases—both misdemeanors and felonies. However, some states may deem the city-level court as a superior court, so it may or may not serve as a general jurisdiction court.

Information in Superior Records

When you locate the correct records, you’ll have access to a wide range of case-specific information, minus personal identifying information like Social Security numbers. You’ll have a detailed listing of the parties involved and the capacity in which they acted. This will include attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant, as well as the judge, any character witnesses and authorities who were directly involved.

The charges submitted in the case, minutes maintained from the hearings, and all dates, paperwork, evidence and other occurrences will be included in the case file. The alleged offenses committed by the defendant, whether he or she was incarcerated, and any judgments, rulings and awards in the case are also included in the records.

Why You May Be Interested

Searching for superior court records may serve you well if you are conducting a background check on an individual or business entity, as well as if you need records from a case you were involved in. Divorce cases, child custody, probate and estate feuds may be recorded with your local superior court. These records could be needed if you ever need legal proof of a judgment, or even official documentation of the outcome of any charges against you. Such documentation may be necessary when applying for specific types of jobs, to professional schools or even to alter incorrect judgments on your personal credit report.

It’s most important to first begin by learning about your state’s court system, and whether a superior court may have jurisdiction over the case you’re interested in. Using a public search engine can at least give you an idea of which court you need to contact directly, either online or in person to request copies of the necessary records.



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