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Texas Courthouse Records and Files

Common law, statutory law and court rules govern access to the court case records of Texas. The Texas Information Technology Task Force had justified the implementation of a Justice Information Management System (JIMS) which enables the general public to access Texas Courthouse records for a specific court district in one central location or database.

In general jurisdiction, a Texas courthouse will have a court clerk whose primary duty is to maintain the permanent records. The Clerk is the registrar, recorder and custodian of all file documents that are part of criminal and civil actions and must mark the exact date and time of receipt, issue papers during the life of a case and for many years after a case is final. The respective Texas courthouses in which the actions were documented preserve the court records.

To access the Texas Courthouse records, you need to either physically appear at the courts offices or search through the online methods via Internet. It should be noted that, though search methods of cases and files are available from government website(s), they by no means would be considered as official documents. Only those physical papers obtained by written request (by filling up a request form) from the courthouses at a small fee are considered legal and can be referred to for future use.

Online records serve as a purpose of research, criminal check and public awareness of case proceedings. It allows instant lookup tool that will scan the data and prepare a complete report for you to view and examine on any search of court documents of all trial courts including district courts, county courts, and county courts, county courts at law, statutory probate courts, justice courts, municipal courts and criminal district court.

A request to inspect or copy a judicial record from court officials must be in writing, must include sufficient information to identify the record, and must be directed to the custodian of the record.

The other option that the people of Texas can bank upon with respect to court record access is the CaseMail or case tracking facility. This is a free service from the court that will send e-mail updates about case activity for specific cases you have chosen to track. It will also send you a notification each time a selected court issues opinions. You can sign up for as many cases and/or courts as you like. For the first time users, you need to register for this service and each time you use, you need to login with your allocated I.D and password. For further clarifications on the alert mails, call or contact the clerk's office.

Access to judicial records (records other than court case records) is governed by Rule 12 of the Rules of Judicial Administration of Texas. It is the Office of Court Administration (OCA) and the Texas County Court House that is part of the judicial branch of Texas government that holds these records with the Administrative Director of the OCA who is the custodian of the records. Appeals for the sealing of the judicial records are requested to this officer and a committee of presiding judges who issue written opinions explaining the committee's decision decides the corresponding appeals.