Iowa Court Records
Iowa court records have moved at least twice in the state’s history, all while gathering over 150 years’ worth of legal resources for the judiciary and public’s use. Now located in an esteemed and renovated building in Des Moines, the State Law Library allows searches of appellate briefs, local and state statutes, federal laws and even court procedures and dockets. Civil and criminal Iowa court records, past opinions and even historical documents from the area are all available for general public research.
History of Iowa Courts
The Iowa State Law Library’s collection first came into existence in 1840, when the General Assembly passed an Act to allow for a librarian for the territory. Iowa court records were maintained at that library, which was open during sessions of the Supreme Court and legislature. It is unclear where the original library was located, but it was moved to Iowa City in 1857. At this time, legal materials moved to the new location but other volumes were taken to the Iowa Historical Memorial and Arts Building.
Later, the library moved to the capitol building in Des Moines in 1894 and underwent an extensive and impressive renovation in the late 20th century.
Iowa Court Statistics
Iowa Courts recieve 769,581 filings per year. In 2012, the court received 863,220 filings and gave 896,088 dispositions. In 2016, the state court caseload counted 707,501 filings and had 705,308 dispositions.
Total State Caseloads
Iowa Court Records Availability
Iowa court records can be found in the State Library of Iowa in Des Moines, as well as online. Volumes include state and federal statutes, case law, case histories, past opinions and oral arguments, treatises, abstracts, legal journals and law reviews, as well as legislative material. The main goal of the library is to serve lawmakers, government and attorneys, as well as the public.
The public is often interested in Iowa court records when they are searching for background information on a case or the court forms needed to represent themselves in court. Many of the court rules and forms are found online, and a catalog of recent and past case histories is also available.
Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads
|Traffic:||433,568 (61.3 %)|
|Domestic Relations:||34,221 (4.8 %)|
|Criminal:||122,430 (17.3 %)|
|Civil:||117,282 (16.6 %)|
Share of Court Type Outgoing Caseloads
|Traffic:||434,053 (61.5 %)|
|Domestic Relations:||33,541 (4.8 %)|
|Criminal:||120,604 (17.1 %)|
|Civil:||117,110 (16.6 %)|
Iowa Main Court Information
The Iowa Supreme Court has seven justices, serving eight-year terms. They are politically appointed and can serve subsequent terms. This court is the high court of the state, hearing appeals from all lower courts. It may then decide to send a case down to the court of appeals or keep it.
The Iowa Supreme Court was created in 1846 when Iowa became a state and its constitution was drafted. The Iowa General Assembly determined at that time that justices should serve six-year terms. In 1857, the constitution was amended to increase judicial districts to 11, and allowed the legislature to reorganize them every four years beginning in 1860.
Family Court Cases
Domestic relations caseload of Iowa at year end 2016 has decreased by 9.6% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases was 37,508 with a rate of 1,220 cases per 100,000 population, higher than it's in 2016.
|Year||Domestic Relations Caseload||Total Statewide Caseload|
Domestic Relations Clearance Rates
|Year||Incoming Caseload||Outgoing Caseload||Caseload per 100,000 Population|
States with More & Less Domestic Relation Caseloads than Iowa
Iowa Caseload Statistics
There are no specific caseload statistics available for Iowa, but they do report that they receive approximately 2,000 filings on an annual basis. 30% of those cases are criminal appeals, 25% are parental rights and children in need of assistance and 20% are family law appeals.
Iowa Criminal Caseloads
The number of criminal cases in Iowa counts 122,430 with 19,661 felony cases and 102,769 misdemeanors accordingly.
|Year||Criminal Caseload||Misdemeanor Caseload||Felony Caseload|
State Civil Caseload & Clearance Rates
In the last 5 years the number of civil cases has decreased by 17,211 cases, it went from 134,493 to 117,282 with clearance rates of 101% and 100%.
|Year||Civil Caseload||Clearance Rate|