In the State of Texas, there are no current statutes, court rulings or orders that concern making court records available through electronic access. For this reason, the Texas Judicial Council developed a committee on public access to court records. This committee is responsible for creating a wide-ranging access that preserves the reliability of the judicial process and at the same time provides for the public right to view. There are two ways that you can have access to court files. You can either go to the courthouses or browse online and search for such records. Those who support the electronic distribution of court dockets emphasize the strong public need, ease, convenience, and efficiency of retrieving the documents.
However, it was discovered by the committee that there is no standardization when it comes to a statewide policy governing remote electronic publication of court documents. Some counties in Texas offer public access through the internet with full disclosure by the court, and other counties allow access only to subscribers who apply for a log-in and password. The committee concluded that whatever dockets are available in the courthouse should be made available on the internet. Therefore, any sensitive personal matters in court created documents concealed by the courthouse should be prohibited from disclosure on the internet.
The level of disclosure of court information depends on the type of case that is being researched. In Texas, there are policies regarding the kinds of cases that can be accessed by the public. For civil and bankruptcy cases, the dockets should be made available electronically, just as they are made accessible in the courthouse. However, certain personal data identifiers are kept private. These identifiers include social security numbers, financial account numbers, birthdates, and names of minor individuals. Appellate cases are considered lower level cases, while criminal cases are ultimately prohibited from public remote electronic viewing.
The way of finding court records in Texas is dependent on the type of case that you are searching for. If the case allows public electronic access, then you can go online and search the official website of the Texas county where the case took place or the person involved resided. For more details pertaining to court and arrest cases in Texas, you can visit www.courts.state.tx.us.
If you need to access a criminal case, you will have to go to the courthouse and ask the court clerks to gain access to the files. You can search for the addresses of the courthouses located in the various counties of Texas. To find the different courthouses in Texas, you can visit Texas’ official website, which is https://www.texas.gov. You can also go to The Texas Supreme Court for a more comprehensive copy of court documents. It is located in the Supreme Court Building at 201 W. 14th Street in Austin, northwest of the Capitol. The courtroom entrance is on the east corner of the building in a foyer opposite the Court of Criminal Appeals. Their office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on holidays. For inquiries, you can also mail them at P.O. Box 12248 Austin, Texas 78711. You can contact them by phone at (512) 463-1312 or by fax at (512) 463-1365.
As soon as you arrive there, you can ask for assistance from the court clerk. The clerk’s office is responsible for docketing all court cases, making sure that policies concerning filings and filing requisites are complied with, collecting payments, issuing opinions and orders, and assisting licensed attorneys with name changes and certificates of good standing. Their office is found in room 104 of the Supreme Court Building.
Public libraries are also good resource places when searching for court cases. In Texas, there are plenty of public libraries found in it’s the many counties. You can locate the addresses of these libraries by going to www.publiclibraries.com/texas.htm. The Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library is also a building that houses Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Texas State Library and Archives Commission or TSLAC refers to an agency in Texas that is responsible for supervising and assisting state-wide library agendas, meeting the reading-related necessities of disabled Texans and protecting and giving access to important Texas files. Its address is at 1201 Brazos Street in the Capitol Complex of Austin’s downtown.
With all that being said, gaining access to court and arrest records in Texas depends on the type of case and county located in the state. Because by that, you would readily know how you can find them which is either through electronic access using the internet or directly visiting resource places such as court houses and public libraries.
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