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How can you access a list of criminal court cases?

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Quick Answer

Information regarding criminal court records are typically accessible online through the website of the state's court system or, in some states, through the website of the country in which the court where the trial proceedings occur in question sits. The National Center for State Courts maintains a webpage, accessible at NCSC.org, that contains links to the websites maintained that allow access to court records, separated by state. While some of the sites require payment, most are free.

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The docket for current or upcoming criminal cases are typically available online as well. In Travis County, Texas, for example, Travis County Criminal Courts maintains a report of all current and future District and County Court criminal settings, searchable by defendant or attorney name.

The U.S. Court System maintains PACER service, accessible at pacer.gov, which allows public access to electronic court records for all federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts. As of April 1, 2015, accessing court records online through PACER costs $0.10 per page. Records associated with past court cases are often available through university or public libraries. In Wisconsin, for example, the University of Wisconsin Law Library maintains case briefs, able to be searched by docket number, for cases from between November 1992 and July 2009.

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