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All courts in the United States render judgments, including municipal courts, trial courts, civil courts, district courts, state courts, the Court of Appeals, and Supreme Courts. Therefore, searching and finding court records can be challenging. You must know the specific court, and if they don't have files online, you will have to visit the courthouse in person to review them. Using InfoTracer's powerful search engine, you can see court judgments within minutes from all over the country (availability will vary from state to state). Our databases are continuously updated with more than 5 billion public records. The types of information you can find in our judgement reports include when available:
Court judgments are the final ruling in a court of law. They apply to both civil and criminal court actions. A judgment is the court's decision regarding all parties' rights and responsibilities pertaining to a legal proceeding. The judge(s) may or may not include an explanation of their ruling. Court judgments explicitly detail what each party must do and the legal reasons for this decision. Court orders are created from court judgments and must be carried out and enforced by the courts.
Judgments may be issued orally or in writing. Following a court proceeding (either a trial or hearing), the judge will issue their decision. There are various types of court judgments.
The following are judgments that occur when there is no trial. These conclusions are made by a judge rather than a jury.
These judgments are made by a judge or jury following a trial.
When more than one judge is involved in deciding a case, along with the judgment, each one may include their opinions. This happens most often in appellate cases where multiple judges review a case. Not all judges may agree with the decision; therefore, it generally comes down to the majority and the hierarchy of the judges involved. The Chief Justice may carry more weight than others. The types of opinions include:
In criminal cases, the enforcement of judgments is simple. A local, state, or federal agency will handle doling out the punishment. However, in civil cases, the courts do not enforce judgments. Instead, all parties are relied upon to follow a national Code of Civil Procedure which means they will follow the instructions from the court on their own. However, that does not always happen. Therefore, if one party wins a judgment and the other party will not comply (pay or perform some other action), the winning party must return to court and file further action against the person or entity who will not comply.
InfoTracer is not a consumer reporting agency under the Fair Credit Reporting Agency (FCRA) and does not provide FCRA compliant consumer reports. InfoTracer does not permit the use of information obtained from their service for use in discriminating against any consumer or for the purposes of determining a consumer's eligibility for personal credit, insurance, employment, housing, licenses, or benefits. It also does not permit the use of gathered information for any purpose related to a consumer's economic or financial standing or status.
In civil cases, the plaintiff is the person who initiated the court action, and the defendant is the person who the court action is about. In criminal cases, there is the defense (the offender and their team of lawyers) and the prosecution (usually the district attorney or some other law agency). Both parties in a lawsuit are called litigants.
In criminal cases, the courts, local, state, and federal law enforcement will handle enforcing the final judgment. In civil lawsuits, all parties are left to enforce the judgment themselves or file further motions to get help from the courts. For example, if the winner is a creditor, they may not initiate garnishment of wages unless the court orders it. If someone wins a money judgment or is awarded personal property, they may have difficulty collecting it without the help of a lawyer or filing additional court motions.
It can be tricky to have court judgments removed from court records. Depending on the type of case, the state, and specific court type, sometimes offenders can apply for expungement or sealing to hide or remove their court records from public view. Typically, offenders must pay court fees when filing for expungement.
A judgment is a final verdict in a court case. After both sides have presented their evidence, oral arguments, and other items, the judge or jury will decide in favor of one side or the other.
In many cases, yes. However, some cases or partial information may not be available. However, according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), court records and judgments are public. Things like social security numbers, bank account details, domestic violence and protection orders, child abuse, and other records may be sealed to protect someone’s privacy and the innocent. However, most court dockets are readily available for public viewing.
Even if you win a small claims court case, you may have trouble collecting the debt. Typically, plaintiffs in a small claims case will hire an attorney to help them collect what is owed to them. Unfortunately, the courts do not collect payment for you, and they do not enforce the verdict unless you file additional legal motions against the defendant. However, the court may offer some self-help tips on its website with suggestions on collecting winnings.
It is up to each state judiciary to determine how long a court judgment lasts. In some cases, and states, a judgment might last twenty years. However, that same decision may only be good for seven years in other states.