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Organization of Court Records

Court records are transcriptions of proceedings in a case in a court. These records are accessible to the public. Daily, humungous volumes of records are produced by the courts. Proper management and organization of court records help judges and lawyers research for old cases that might help them in a present case proceeding. Court records have in it pleadings, motions, trial transcripts and all other relevant documents from the very initial stages of any particular case. These enable researchers to get a lucid understanding of a courts decision on a particular case as well as have an insight into both successful as well as failed arguments. The courts record from court proceedings is useful to verify or investigate a person's background. However not all court records are accessible to the public. There are a few exceptions, particularly in certain court proceedings that are routinely sealed as directed by the state's particular laws. Even certain court documents relating to juvenile trials are unavailable.

With time, the organization of court records has become digitised. They are now slowly moving from old files and cabinets to being computerised. Such efficient storage enhances the efficacy of court records search. Added to this, they are now available online at no cost to the public. Though major states and counties have their own websites related to these searches, there are also specialised ones. One may also try common search engines like Google or yahoo, but the search may become cumbersome. A quick and easy method to search court records is via specialty websites. These websites contain directories of court cases from the entire country, or county or state. One such good example is the website of Free Court Records Directory. In order to view trial court records, a useful website is CourtReference.com. However, there are many trial courts that provide court records or court case information via the state wide judiciary or individual court websites.

One easy way to search for court cases is through the case numbers. Each case has its own unique number. A case ID or a case identification number is exclusive. One can gain information about a status of a case by the case number. Most of the federal courts permit case related searches via personal computers kept at public counters and also through PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). This PACER is a free service at public counters in the clerk's office of most of the courts.

A court docket is also a court record as it has in it the minute details of any pending cases. Court dockets helps provide a reference in future cases. For court dockets of federal courts, the most efficient system is PACER. Most of the states have their own online docket systems. Supreme Court too has its own. There are hyperlinks in a Docket's case summary, clicking which a user is directed to a .PDF file that has the details. Oklahoma has one of the most progressive online docket systems.

Even though every state has its own laws, by legal default, court documents are categorized as public property. So depending upon the state's jurisdiction, one has the right to access the court records and legal documentation that are on record in all public courts.