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District of Columbia Court Records

Court records are often necessary when researching genealogical histories for personal use or case histories before heading to court. District of Columbia court records are particularly useful when searching for court forms and past court decisions, or simply to conduct research on past criminal and civil cases.

Information regarding civil matters such as divorces is typically necessary to confirm marital status before remarrying or changing a name. It can also be helpful to determine dates of marriage for a person in your family tree. Criminal records provide information about the dates of court hearings, formal charges and dates of arrest, final court rulings and appeals information. These cases can provide vital insight into similar cases of interest before heading to court, or when verifying your own criminal court record history.

District of Columbia Court Records

History of District of Columbia Courts

The judicial courts of the District of Columbia were established in 1801, but the Superior Court and Court of Appeals were not created until the District of Columbia Court Reform and Criminal Procedure Act of 1970. District of Columbia court records have been created and maintained since the beginning of this judicial system, and can be researched at the Library of Congress.

District of Columbia Court Statistics

District of Columbia Courts recieve 98,137 filings per year. In 2012, the court received 101,061 filings and gave 99,329 dispositions. In 2016, the state court caseload counted 98,749 filings and had 90,474 dispositions.

Total State Caseloads

Year Caseloads
2012 101,061
2013 100,634
2014 97,041
2015 93,200
2016 98,749

District of Columbia Court Records Availability

The Library of Congress offers historical and current copies of the district’s constitution, as well as executive documents containing municipal regulations and statutes, elections history, oral arguments from the Attorney General and past mayoral decisions. Legislative records such as official codes and current laws are available, as well as court procedures and rules. Other judicial records include opinions from the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and rulings from the District of Columbia Superior Court.

District of Columbia court records available from the court clerk include court forms as well as civil and criminal records that are searchable online. The Court Cases Online system offers court dockets, tax cases, probate information, major litigation, wills and proceedings from foreign estate cases. Cases can be found by searching a person or business name or case number.

Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Domestic Relations: 12,715 (12.9 %)
Criminal: 30,659 (31.0 %)
Civil: 55,375 (56.1 %)

Share of Court Type Outgoing Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Domestic Relations: 12,926 (14.3 %)
Criminal: 23,237 (25.7 %)
Civil: 54,311 (60.0 %)

District of Columbia Main Court Information

The District of Columbia Superior Court exercises general jurisdiction over trials in Washington D.C. This court was established in 1970 and has 86 total judges. Appeals from this trial court go to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. This court has 9 judges serving, and is the high appellate court for the region. It also exercises administrative authority over members of the bar. Cases are heard by randomly selected panels of three judges. The court meets in the Historic Courthouse in Washington, D.C.

Family Court Cases

Domestic relations caseload of District of Columbia at year end 2016 has increased by 6.5% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases was 11,890 with a rate of 1,880 cases per 100,000 population, lower than it's in 2016.

Year Domestic Relations Caseload Total Statewide Caseload
2012 11,890 101,061
2013 12,357 100,634
2014 12,269 97,041
2015 12,379 93,200
2016 12,715 98,749

Domestic Relations Clearance Rates

Year Incoming Caseload Outgoing Caseload Caseload per 100,000 Population
2012 11,890 12,953 1,880
2013 12,357 12,475 1,912
2014 12,269 11,978 1,862
2015 12,379 13,335 1,841
2016 12,715 12,926 1,867

States with More & Less Domestic Relation Caseloads than District of Columbia

More Domestic Relations Cases than District of Columbia:

State: Caseload:
New York 570,709
Texas 397,468
California 388,903
Pennsylvania 342,163
Virginia 342,040

Less Domestic Relations Cases than District of Columbia:

State: Caseload:
Alaska 12,562
Vermont 12,170
Wyoming 9,361
Rhode Island 9,335

District of Columbia Caseload Statistics

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals hears more than 1,000 cases per year. In 2007, there were 1,510 filings and 1,837 dispositions. In 2014 there were 1,538 filings and 1,846 dispositions. The highest caseload in recent years was in 2012 with 2,126 filings and 1,845 dispositions.

District of Columbia Criminal Caseloads

The number of criminal cases in District of Columbia counts 30,659 with 5,725 felony cases and 24,934 misdemeanors accordingly.

Year Criminal Caseload Misdemeanor Caseload Felony Caseload
2012 22,545 4,312 18,233
2013 23,921 4,074 19,847
2014 22,255 3,794 18,461
2015 25,288 4,057 21,231
2016 30,659 5,725 24,934

State Civil Caseload & Clearance Rates

In the last 5 years the number of civil cases has decreased by 5,107 cases, it went from 60,482 to 55,375 with clearance rates of 101% and 98%.

Year Civil Caseload Clearance Rate
2012 60,482 101
2013 57,589 103
2014 54,855 103
2015 55,533 95
2016 55,375 98