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The state court system is made up of a Supreme Court of Alabama with nine justices, a civil Court of Appeals with five judges, a criminal Court of Appeals employing five judges, and 41 Circuit Courts with 146 judges. The Circuit Court is the appellate court for the 68 Probate Courts, the 67 District Courts, and the 280 Municipal Courts in the state. The Probate Court has 68 judges, the District Courts use 106 judges, and the Municipal Courts have 306 judges.
The Alabama Supreme Court assigns cases to the Civil Court of Appeals. The Circuit Court holds jury trials whereas the District does not. The Probate and Municipal Courts also do not conduct jury trials; all decisions are made by a judge. The state has an extensive law library on their judicial.alabama.gov/library judicial system website for use by lawyers, judges, Human Resources, students and the general public. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the state.
Most state court case dockets are available to the public through various portals. However, according to United States federal laws, any court documents and court information that contains sensitive or personal information must be redacted from the documents before posted online. Court records that contain things like someone’s social security number, contact information, home address, taxpayer identification, bank account numbers or the names of minor children are some examples. Additionally, any court sealed records including juvenile criminal records and information about jurors are not considered public records and will not be available to the general public. In some high-profile corporate matters, trade secrets and other sensitive information will be removed from the record before it is made public.
The state has three resources to help with electronic filing of court documents. The first is called ACIS and is exclusively for attorneys that need to review court documents and file motions. This portal is an appellate court service. The next resource is called AOC E-FILE (Administrative Office of Courts) and is the state’s official electronic document filing service for the court system. Then they offer AlaFile which is an application that allows users to upload documents and file forms with the court, it part of the alacourt.com system. When using each of the services, the user must create an account and log in to protect the privacy and uphold the security of the system. When searching for cases, the user may have to pay a fee.
Records are just a few clicks away from using Infotracer’s search tool. Gain access to records from the entire state, including Jefferson County, Mobile County, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Madison County. According to AL Al. Code §36-25A-1 et seq., and the Freedom of Information Act, private citizens have the right to review AL circuit, district, criminal records, municipal, and probate cases.
In the United States, unless prohibited by law, the general public can perform a search on any court case; they don’t even need a reason or authorization from anyone. Some cases are court-ordered private (such as juvenile records), but most are publicly accessible.
Using an records search by name, Infotracer gives you court case information on demand. Lookup public records from this state quickly and easily and enjoy free, instant access to thousands of AL court records whenever you use the official website Infotracer.
In 2012, the Alabama courts received 504,149 filings. In 2016, the number of filings increased by 54.1% and counted 776,904 filings and had 755,261 outgoing cases
Domestic relations caseload of Alabama at year end of 2016 has decreased by 11.9% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 94,134.
|Domestic Relations Caseload
|Total Statewide Caseload
The number of criminal cases in Alabama courts counts to 229,606, with 137,416 felony cases and 92,190 misdemeanors accordingly.
The state has 41 Circuit Courts spread out over many of the counties in the state. These courts are trial courts that have general jurisdiction, and they handle a variety of types of cases. Circuit judges resolve tort, contract and real property cases over $10,000 (with no maximum). These courts also handle family issues, domestic relations and domestic abuse cases. They have the authority to process both criminal cases, and civil cases and most juvenile matters are handled through the these courts. Appeals from these courts go directly to the Supreme Court or first to either the Civil or Criminal Court of Appeals.
The District Courts have limited jurisdiction and only handle specific types of cases such as small claims between $3,000 - $10,000. These courts also have authority over all misdemeanors and can hold preliminary hearings for felony cases. Appeals that originate in the this court moves up to the Circuit Courts first and then if necessary, go to either the Criminal or Civil Court of Appeals. The Districts have 98 judges and 67 courts throughout the state. Some of the types of cases heard in District Courts are paternity, custody, child support, adoption, visitation, traffic violations, juvenile criminal matters, and some preliminary hearings for minor offenses. Some of these District Court dockets contain vital records.
The state's Municipal Courts, also known as city court preside over municipal cases such as criminal misdemeanors within a specific city’s police jurisdiction. Most cities in Alabama have one of these courts. There are 280 Municipal Courts in the state. Generally, these courts have local jurisdiction over misdemeanors, DWIs traffic violations, parking infractions, and ordinance violations as well. These courts employ 306 judges who preside over each court. The National Association of Counties (NACo) website can help locate Municipal Courts all over the United States. Many city court dockets contain criminal records like minor offenses, and vital records.
Alabama’s Probate Courts have particular limited jurisdiction over matters pertaining to estates, wills, real property, and adoption. These courts also have exclusive jurisdiction over mental health cases. These courts are specialized, and their mission is to ensure that a deceased person’s assets are distributed legally and fairly among his or her beneficiaries. In some cases, they also pay debts from the deceased’s estate. When someone dies without a will, the issue of distribution of property can become messy among family members. Probate simplifies this process and mediates until it is resolved. Many vital records come from probate courts.