California Court Records Search

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The following is for informational purposes only

California Court System

California Court System

California’s Court System is made up of three divisions: The Supreme Court, The Court of Appeals (both of which are appellate courts) and then the Superior Courts which are state-level, trial courts. Most cases begin in one of the 58 Superior Courts in the state. There is one in each of the 58 counties. Superior Courts hear not only civil and criminal cases but also cases pertaining to probate, mental health, family issues, traffic violations, and juvenile delinquency problems.

The Court of Appeals reviews cases that originate in the Superior Court. There are six appellate districts each with a court that reviews decisions made at the trial level. Then if there is still an issue, the case moves up to the Supreme Court which is the highest court in the state. The Supreme Court automatically reviews any case where the death penalty is an option.

Superior Courts have 1,743 judges presiding. They average 5,837,625 filings in one year and 4,768,103 dispositions. The Court of Appeals has 106 justices presiding. These courts record 18,717 filings per year and average 20,824 dispositions. The Supreme Court has only 1 Chief Justice and then six associate justices. This court sees 7,317 filings every year with 92 written opinions.

Supreme Court
Courts of Appeals
Superior Court

California Court Records That are not Open to the Public

California honors the Freedom of Information Act through its California Rules of Court, rule 2.400(a) law. Therefore, almost all court documents are available to the public upon request. The only types of court records that are not available to the public are sealed or confidential records. These might include trade secrets from a high-level corporate case. Additionally, according to federal law, certain private information must be removed from court records that are publicly available. Things like bank account numbers, children’s names, juror information, home address, and other sensitive data must be redacted from court documents before making them public.

Filing Information

Filing Information

California’s Judicial website is detailed and provides first-time users of the system a lot of helpful information to navigate through the court system. They provide all forms needed to file documentation manually, and they also offer an e-filing option as well. They have a list of all courthouses so that users know where to file their forms once they are filled out. The first packet of information required is called Judicial Council Forms. The state’s website also has step-by-step instructions on how to fill these forms out online. Additionally, they have links to videos to help with the process. They even address the process for filing a “non-form pleading.”

Search California Court Records Online

Use Infotracer to search for California court records quickly and easily! Access hundreds of court cases in CA, including Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, and Riverside County. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act through California’s Rules of Court, code 2.400(a), Infotracer’s extensive database includes criminal court records, civil cases, family court issues such as divorce, bankruptcies, and more.

A court records search may be performed privately without providing any information. The person searching doesn’t even need a reason to search except in cases where the record is court-ordered private or confidential by law.

Get free instant access to California court records from most courts in the state. Performing a California state court records search by name is the best way to lookup cases online from CA district courts, superior court, circuit and trial courts from all four judicial districts in the state.

California Court Statistics

In 2012, the California courts received 8,375,563 filings. In 2016, the number of filings decreased by 22.6% and counted 6,486,398 filings and had 5,770,212 outgoing cases

Total State Caseloads

Year Total Caseload
2012 8,375,563
2013 7,796,955
2014 7,653,383
2015 7,090,083
2016 6,486,398

Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads

Court Type Incoming Caseloads
Civil 13%
Criminal 21%
Domestic Relations 6%
Traffic 60%

Family Court Cases

Domestic relations caseload of California at year end of 2016 has decreased by 1.0% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 392,873 but are higher than in 2015.

Year Domestic Relations Caseload Total Statewide Caseload
2012 392,873 8,375,563
2013 382,808 7,796,955
2014 382,941 7,653,383
2015 378,589 7,090,083
2016 388,903 6,486,398

California Criminal Caseloads

The number of criminal cases in California courts counts to 1,361,390, with 266,124 felony cases and 1,095,266 misdemeanors accordingly.

Year Criminal Caseload Misdemeanor Caseload Felony Caseload
2012 1,443,389 1,134,273 309,116
2013 1,447,092 1,105,422 341,670
2014 1,411,701 1,062,406 349,295
2015 1,433,631 1,147,794 285,837
2016 1,361,390 1,095,266 266,124

Superior Courts (State Trial Courts)

California’s Superior Courts are the trial courts for the state. Prior to June of 1998, the state had both Municipal Courts and Superior Courts, but voters amended the system with Proposition 220, and they merged Superior and Municipal Courts into one unified system. There are 58 trial courts in the state, one in each county with 1,743 judges presiding. Superior Courts resolve both criminal and civil cases along with juvenile, family, probate, mental health cases, and traffic violations. These courts average about 5,837,625 filings per year and 4,768,103 dispositions. The Superior Courts resolve the majority of all cases in California.

California Court Records Search