Wisconsin Court Records

Due to the increasing capacity of digital storage in our new era of online access, court records are more highly available than they have ever been. This expediency is not lost on those who formerly had to appear in person at the courthouse or law library of record to request documents during business hours only. Now the public and legal professionals alike have quick and easy access to Wisconsin court documents through the convenience of the Internet.

Wisconsin has a traditional judicial branch with multiple levels of courts each documenting their own proceedings to later be referenced as publicly accessible court records, a valuable resource of the state.

Wisconsin Court Records

History of Wisconsin Courts

The judicial system framework was established when Wisconsin became a state in 1848. Similarly to today, the original courts were laid out as a Supreme Court, Circuit Courts, Courts of Probate, and Justices of the Peace. The first Supreme Court was comprised of the five justices who presided over the Circuit Courts, and were required to meet in Madison at least once annually until a separate court could be established. It was in 1853 that voters were able to elect three justices to serve on the first regularly meeting Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

In 1959 legislation was brought about to reorganize the lower courts of Wisconsin. Over the next several years the specialty statutory courts were phased out to make room for a more uniformed system of County Courts. This, of course, created better organized and more accessible court records as a byproduct.

Wisconsin Court Statistics

Wisconsin Courts recieve 747,480 filings per year. In 2012, the court received 427,496 filings and gave 432,136 dispositions. In 2016, the state court caseload counted 353,884 filings and had 354,896 dispositions.

Total State Caseloads

Year Caseloads
2014 1,269,226
2015 1,295,248
2012 427,496
2013 391,546
2016 353,884

Wisconsin Court Records Availability

Wisconsin Circuit Court provides online access for the public to search the court records of criminal and civil cases. The simple case search feature allows you to search the records by party name, date of birth, business name or case number. The methods for finding court cases from the appellate courts are similar and you may search by appeal number, Circuit Court case number, party name, business name, attorney name, or class code.

Records not open to the public include adoptions, juvenile delinquency, child protection, termination of parental rights, guardianship and civil commitments.

Additionally, the Wisconsin State Library is open to the public and provides educational materials on the structure, history and research of the judicial system.

Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Domestic Relations: 47,239 (13.3 %)
Criminal: 110,725 (31.3 %)
Civil: 195,920 (55.4 %)

Share of Court Type Outgoing Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Domestic Relations: 47,239 (13.3 %)
Criminal: 107,772 (30.4 %)
Civil: 199,885 (56.3 %)

Wisconsin Main Court Information

The Supreme Court of Wisconsin has jurisdiction over all other courts of the state as the court of last resort, and can preside over original actions. It is composed of a Chief Justice and six associate justices who are elected for 10-year terms. The Supreme Court is responsible for overseeing all cases that require interpretation of the state or federal constitution, as well as upholding the Bar of Wisconsin Law Professionals by admitting and dismissing attorneys and justices. The Court of Appeals is the state’s intermediate appellate court, which was founded in 1978. It is divided into four districts and presided over by 16 justices.

Family Court Cases

Domestic relations caseload of Wisconsin at year end 2016 has decreased by 18.4% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases was 55,922 with a rate of 977 cases per 100,000 population, higher than it's in 2016.

Year Domestic Relations Caseload Total Statewide Caseload
2014 52,123 1,269,226
2015 55,718 1,295,248
2012 55,922 427,496
2013 47,042 391,546
2016 47,239 353,884

Domestic Relations Clearance Rates

Year Incoming Caseload Outgoing Caseload Caseload per 100,000 Population
2014 52,123 51,903 905
2015 55,718 54,820 965
2012 55,922 56,151 977
2013 47,042 48,334 819
2016 47,239 47,239 817

States with More & Less Domestic Relation Caseloads than Wisconsin

More Domestic Relations Cases than Wisconsin:

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

Less Domestic Relations Cases than Wisconsin:

State: Caseload:
Colorado 44,152
New Mexico 43,588
Kansas 34,696
Iowa 34,221
Nebraska 32,394

Wisconsin Caseload Statistics

The caseload of the Wisconsin Supreme Court has a steady record of filings and dispositions. In 2014 there were 792 filings and 860 dispositions. Comparatively, there were 810 filings in 2007 with 826 dispositions reached by the court.

Wisconsin Criminal Caseloads

The number of criminal cases in Wisconsin counts 110,725 with 39,157 felony cases and 71,568 misdemeanors accordingly.

Year Criminal Caseload Misdemeanor Caseload Felony Caseload
2012 116,336 35,611 80,725
2013 115,037 36,507 78,530
2014 110,591 36,705 73,886
2015 111,422 37,733 73,689
2016 110,725 39,157 71,568

State Civil Caseload & Clearance Rates

In the last 5 years the number of civil cases has decreased by 59,318 cases, it went from 255,238 to 195,920 with clearance rates of 103% and 102%.

Year Civil Caseload Clearance Rate
2014 205,620 103
2015 205,213 101
2012 255,238 103
2013 229,467 101
2016 195,920 102