Why Should Judicial Records Be Public?

In every county, the citizens want access to certain information regardless of when the information came into existence and same stands true for the Collin County judicial records.

One of the basic aspects of any court case is that it is possible to inform the public about the law and its consequences. If all cases were tried where no one was allowed access to what was being said, the law couldn’t develop and evolve and lawyers of the future wouldn’t be able to get the full picture of what the law entails.

Future lawyers know how important past trial records are, so if trials weren’t made public, then learning and gaining knowledge couldn’t exist. The public certainly wouldn’t be able to hold the legal system accountable as it wouldn’t have any clue as to how things work and turn out.

The public wants to see people accountable

Also, court proceedings can involve huge organizations or government bodies and making sure court documents are public can help them know why the government is legislating in a certain way or if the courts are in fact holding big organizations accountable for their actions.

It’s why the Freedom of Information Act was proposed in 1955 by a Democratic congressman, John Moss. He was objecting to government secrecy. He believed that members of the public had a right to know what the government was getting up to.

He believed that having access to this information could then be used to check on certain things regarding the actions of some government officials.  President Lyndon Johnson signed the FOIA Bill into law but amendments have been made and now include electronic access to records and accountability statutes.

In 1976, new requirements for distributing records were brought about. In 1996, President Bill Clinton also signed an amendment forcing agencies to make documents available in electronic formats to the public. In 2007, President Bush signed an amendment allowing access to government records.

Today, the federal Freedom of Information Act allows each state to have its own rules regarding records and documents the public wants. All public records are presumed to be open, and can only be withheld if a specific statutory exemption applies.

Lots of different ways to access court records

In the US, you get PACER – Public Access to Court Electronic Records – which is a service of the federal judiciary. It provides access to court records for the public, allowing the public to gain a better understanding of the court system.

Today, the system furnishes the public with entry to more than one billion documents registered at around 200 federal courts. If you use Pacer to access case information, there is a fee of roughly  $0.10 per page.

Judicial records must be made public so as to help people access certain information in an easy way.  You’re able to find records such as –

  • Marriage and divorce certificates
  • Traffic violation records
  • Education
  • Job history
  • Social media profiles
  • Criminal records
  • Social media accounts and more.

So you can scan millions of public records and get a detailed report about the particular person you want to find.  You can usually search by name, address, telephone number, and email address.

If you are looking for judicial records in Collin County or any other county,  you need to know exactly which offices have complete access to the records. Court records of any sort are open records and are maintained by the District Clerk, the County Clerk, and the Justice of the Peace.

These court records must be solicited from the clerks of the courts. Police records have to be solicited from that very law enforcement agency that produced the report. In other words, reports from Collin County Sheriff’s Deputies have to be requested from the sheriff’s office. The public and the press have a  right of access to court proceedings and records.

The American court system sees many cases every year and these consist of thousands of pages of records. They are available in paper and electronic formats.

Under the banner of transparency, the court’s focus today is to ensure that the public – individuals, legal professionals, researchers and journalists all have access to the information they need. So, yes, court records are actually legally required to be open to the public, with there being just one or two exceptions.

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