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Washington Court Records

The state of Washington has a traditional court structure involving several appellate, trial and hearing courts which include: The Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Superior Courts, District Courts, and Municipal Courts. Each type of court documents their proceedings to later provide publicly accessible court records.

The increases in Internet accessibility and growing capacity of digital storage have been major influences on the availability of court records today. It is no longer necessary to drive to the courthouse or law library during business hours and wait for a clerk or librarian to assist you in locating a document. Now the public and law professionals alike have millions of court records readily available at all times through online access.

Washington Court Records

History of Washington Courts

The original Supreme Court of Washington existed while it was still a part of the Oregon Territory from 1848-1853. Later this territory separated and the new Washington territory comprised a Supreme Court with 3 justices. Washington officially joined the United States in 1889, and the state constitution called for five Supreme Court justices elected by the people.

Today, the Supreme Court of Washington has grown to nine justices which preside over all cases en banc since the formation of the Court of Appeals in 1969.

Washington Court Statistics

Washington Courts recieve 1,309,836 filings per year. In 2012, the court received 2,377,252 filings and gave 2,289,653 dispositions. In 2016, the state court caseload counted 539,800 filings and had 577,687 dispositions.

Total State Caseloads

Year Caseloads
2012 2,377,252
2013 2,465,634
2014 593,689
2015 572,805
2016 539,800

Washington Court Records Availability

The Administrative Office of the Court provides a statewide online search engine for criminal and civil cases filed in the Appellate, Superior, District, and Municipal Courts of Washington. Access to court records is available to the public, to conduct a search for court records of interest; you may use the case number, person’s name or business name.

The Washington State Law Library maintains a comprehensive printed compilation of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals briefs dating back to 1889 when Washington officially joined the United States.

Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Domestic Relations: 59,949 (11.1 %)
Criminal: 239,711 (44.4 %)
Civil: 240,140 (44.5 %)

Share of Court Type Outgoing Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Domestic Relations: 57,910 (10.0 %)
Criminal: 266,378 (46.1 %)
Civil: 253,399 (43.9 %)

Washington Main Court Information

Located in Olympia, the Washington Supreme Court is the court of last resort and is composed of nine justices elected to six-year terms. The state’s constitution calls for a minimum of five justices, including a Chief Justice to serve at any given time. The main responsibilities of the Supreme Court are to interpret cases involving the state or federal constitutions, uphold the bar of Olympia by admitting and dismissing attorneys and justices, as well as handle appellate cases from lower courts.

The Court of Appeals differs from the Supreme Court as it is a non-discretionary appellate court, meaning it may not turn down cases that are appealed before the court, and must accept, review and issue a disposition for any case filed. The Court of Appeals is made up of three divisions based in different locations throughout the state and includes 22 judges. Criminal and civil cases are typically heard by a panel of three justices in Seattle, Tacoma or Spokane.

Family Court Cases

Domestic relations caseload of Washington at year end 2016 has decreased by 8.3% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases was 64,944 with a rate of 942 cases per 100,000 population, higher than it's in 2016.

Year Domestic Relations Caseload Total Statewide Caseload
2012 64,944 2,377,252
2013 63,413 2,465,634
2014 61,506 593,689
2015 60,734 572,805
2016 59,949 539,800

Domestic Relations Clearance Rates

Year Incoming Caseload Outgoing Caseload Caseload per 100,000 Population
2012 64,944 65,182 942
2013 63,413 64,267 910
2014 61,506 61,846 871
2015 60,734 59,661 847
2016 59,949 57,910 823

States with More & Less Domestic Relation Caseloads than Washington

More Domestic Relations Cases than Washington:

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

Less Domestic Relations Cases than Washington:

State: Caseload:
Louisiana 58,947
Nevada 56,575
Arkansas 52,577
Minnesota 49,714
Connecticut 49,660

Washington Caseload Statistics

The Supreme Court of Washington received filings for 1,578 cases in 2013 and of those 1,509 met with a disposition. The year prior was similar with 1,479 filings and 1,439 dispositions.

Washington Criminal Caseloads

The number of criminal cases in Washington counts 239,166 with 53,679 felony cases and 185,487 misdemeanors accordingly.

Year Criminal Caseload Misdemeanor Caseload Felony Caseload
2012 277,627 47,546 229,481
2013 267,007 50,489 215,956
2014 246,075 49,871 195,702
2015 245,080 51,107 193,471
2016 239,711 53,679 185,487

State Civil Caseload & Clearance Rates

In the last 5 years the number of civil cases has decreased by 50,550 cases, it went from 290,690 to 240,140 with clearance rates of 103% and 106%.

Year Civil Caseload Clearance Rate
2012 290,690 103
2013 295,268 96
2014 286,108 131
2015 266,991 102
2016 240,140 106