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Rhode Island Court Records

Rhode Island Court records can be searched for in person at the courthouse or local library, or remotely through the Internet. It is convenient for legal professionals and the public alike to have options and access to the court records of their state. These records might be used for legal purposes such as finding a historical decision before beginning a new case, or simply to better understand the judicial process and locate vital and genealogical records.

Rhode Island Court Records

History of Rhode Island Courts

The history of Rhode Island courts and their records dates back to an era before the United States was independent from Britain. In 1747, the Supreme Court was called a different name at its creation by the Rhode Island General Assembly. At that time it was known as the Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize, and General Gaol Delivery. A look in the state’s charter shows that even as far back as 1663 there was an established judiciary branch, then known as General Court of Trials. In 1798 the name changed again to Supreme Judicial Court. In 1843 it became known as the Supreme Court of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Court Statistics

Rhode Island Courts recieve 154,935 filings per year. In 2012, the court received 186,244 filings and gave 197,046 dispositions.

Total State Caseloads

Year Caseloads
2012 199,532
2013 182,918
2014 125,321
2016 171,112
2015 95,791

Rhode Island Court Records Availability

Civil and criminal cases from courts all over the state can be accessed online through a keyword search using the last name of the party. If it is a specific workers’ compensation court record, a domestic case from the Family Court, or case information regarding civil cases in the Superior or District Courts, those can be found separately through an online public access portal.

Additionally, the State Law Library located in Providence provides a wealth of information regarding legal documents such as access to case information, court calendars and criminal information search.

Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Criminal: 37,002 (100.0 %)

Share of Court Type Outgoing Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Criminal: 33,712 (100.0 %)

Rhode Island Main Court Information

The Rhode Island Supreme Court is an appellate court and is last resort for the state, which means it has absolute appellate jurisdiction over questions of law and equity. The Supreme Court is also responsible for supervising state courts and serves as general advisory concerning the interpretation of the state and federal constitutions. Lastly, the Supreme Court is in charge of regulating admission of attorneys to the Rhode Island Bar and disciplining members as necessary.

The Superior Court is an intermediate appellate court and also holds jurisdiction of original criminal and civil cases for jury and non-jury trials. This includes felony proceedings and civil cases where the amount in question exceeds ten thousand dollars. Rhode Island also has a Family Court with jurisdiction over cases involving divorce, custody, adoptions, paternity proceedings, and several other matters involving juveniles. Any appeals from Family Court go directly to the Supreme Court.

Family Court Cases

Domestic relations caseload of Rhode Island at year end 2016 has decreased by 42.3% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases was 13,288 with a rate of 1,265 cases per 100,000 population, higher than it's in 2016.

States with More & Less Domestic Relation Caseloads than Rhode Island

More Domestic Relations Cases than Rhode Island:

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

There are no states with less Domestic Relations cases than Rhode Island

Rhode Island Caseload Statistics

The state of Rhode Island Supreme Court had 359 filings in the year 2013, along with 393 dispositions. Similarly, the previous year had 355 filings and 373 dispositions.

Rhode Island Criminal Caseloads

The number of criminal cases in Rhode Island counts 33,578 with 11,887 felony cases and 21,691 misdemeanors accordingly.

Year Criminal Caseload Misdemeanor Caseload Felony Caseload
2012 39,932 12,068 27,640
2013 37,875 12,495 25,131
2014 38,046 12,355 25,409
2015 37,002 12,535 24,173
2016 33,693 11,887 21,691

State Civil Caseload & Clearance Rates

In the last 5 years the number of civil cases has decreased by 7,786 cases, it went from 51,591 to 43,805.

Year Civil Caseload Clearance Rate
2012 51,591 122
2013 51,467 92