Court Records

As the name indicates, court records or court files are simply records of the court. In other words, they are documents that contain information about everything from pleadings to testimonies. These records are believed to be highly accurate. For example, they contain word-to-word testimonies.

However, not all court records are the same and they do tend to vary according to the respective court case for which the record is maintained.

Importance of court records

Court records are extremely important as they contain every little detail pertaining to a criminal or civil court case. These details are often of critical importance. For starters, they act as a source of reference for future investigations and identical cases.

Other than that, the information can even help reverse verdicts. There have been plenty of instances where an individual who was found guilty has managed to prove his/her innocence by reviewing court records and finding details that prove his/her innocence.

Things to know

Here are a few things that you should probably know about court records.

  • Court records can be accessed by anybody. Barring a few exceptions such as cases related to national security or trade secrets, most court records are accessible to the general public. You can simply walk into a court office and ask for records pertaining to a case that you’re interested in. Or, there is an easier way to access them – online. Yes, court records are available online as well.
  • They are word-for-word records. In other words, they are factual and there is nothing written in there with bias or doubt. Think of them as actual recordings of court proceedings. They're one of the most transparent documents you can have. As a result, you are likely to acquire an unbiased view of the defendant/plaintiff. Far more unbiased than what you might learn from the lawyers who represented these people.
  • They contain accurate information. For example, court records will contain everything from actual names to known aliases, which can be helpful for future reference.
  • They offer plenty of data. Courts in the US file around 150 million cases per year. Though most of them tend to be petty cases, a lot of them are historical and important cases that can provide you an idea of how the justice system works and how court proceedings are carried out. It can be helpful for any court proceeding that you might have to undergo in the future yourself.