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Superior court records are often available to the public to search on the court’s website or in person during the court’s business hours. The records available for review include an index of defendants in criminal cases and both parties in civil cases, case documents, and court dockets. Some of the superior court records are archived and may not be available online or at all beyond a certain time period. Superior court clerks may charge a fee to inspect older records because of the additional research that’s required to locate files not kept with more recent cases. Individuals may need the case number, the name of the defendant, or the name of one of the parties in order to retrieve the records online or for the clerk to retrieve the records at the superior court.
Criminal cases are prosecuted by the solicitor or prosecutor on behalf of the government, and the records are often filed by the defendant’s name as a result. Individuals can often locate criminal case records in the region where the defendants were prosecuted by searching an index of defendants, which states the defendant’s first and last name and the number of court records that are associated with that name. The superior court records in criminal cases are similar to civil cases in that they contain all of the court proceedings for the case. For example, someone could research the depositions that were taken by the prosecutor and defendant in the criminal case she wants to research. Criminal court case calendars are often available for the public to search and contain a list of all the court hearings, dates, and the names of the defendants.
The case documents in superior court are all of the pleadings and other court documents submitted to the court prior to, during, and after the trial. Some superior court records are not available for the public to view because the documents are considered confidential records. For example, some superior courts do not make divorce, unlawful detainer, and probate case records available to the public to search. Interested parties may have to apply with the superior court clerk to view those records and demonstrate a connection to the case in order to view them.
Superior court records also include court dockets. The docket information is often helpful to locate the case file number. It often contains a list of the parties’ names, the court hearing dates, and the case file numbers.