Iowa’s Court System is structured similar to other states with an Iowa Supreme Court, then an Iowa Court of Appeals and the District Courts as the trial courts for the state. All cases in Iowa begin in the District. If a decision made is opposed by the losing party, they have the option of having it appealed at either the Court of Appeals or United States Supreme Court level.
The Supreme Court assigns all cases sent to the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court is the “court of last resort” and the highest court in the state. All other courts in the state must abide by laws determined by the Supreme Court. The highest court is the only entity who can allow attorneys to serve as judges in the court system. They are also the only section of government that can supervise and discipline attorneys. The main office of the Supreme Court where regular sessions are held, is located in Des Moines.
The state also separates Juvenile Court from regular trial courts to focus on matters that pertain to minors. Some things that Juvenile Court handles are child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency, and parental rights.
Most records in Iowa will be available to the general public except for juvenile and confidential case information. Files that have been sealed or expunged will not be available. The state offers an online portal where individuals can perform a case search for public records as well as additional information. All trial cases after 1998 will be available online and most appellate cases after 1998. Patrons can also visit court clerks in person to obtain copies of ecords. Federal law prohibits personal information from being released to the public. Therefore, things like social security numbers, phone numbers, mental health details, bank accounts, and home addresses must be redacted before the files can be made public.
Although anyone can visit the clerk of court in a county courthouse in IA to file paperwork for their case, the state also allows free e-filing as an option. Users must first register for an account, and then they can use the system. Their e-filing service allows individuals to check the status of their case and filings, review the filings by the other parties and it alerts users with notifications from the court. The Iowa Judiciary website (ia.gov) also has downloadable forms to be used in place of electronic filing. In some cases, e-filing is mandatory, and the details of that can be reviewed on the Iowa Judicial Branch website. Anyone can contact the clerk's office to get help if they need it.
Use Infotracer to quickly search for Iowa records all over the state, including Polk County, Linn County, and Scott County. The Infotracer system allows access to hundreds of court cases and records in IA, including criminal records, bankruptcies, property records, traffic tickets, vital records, probate records, civil cases, family records, child support issues, and more! Public records are protected by the Freedom of Information Act and the Iowa Open Records Law Iowa Code §22.1 et seq.
A records search may be conducted by anyone privately without the need for permission or special information. The searcher doesn’t even need a reason to look up Iowa dockets. All court records, except for those sealed by law, like juvenile records, will be readily available online.
You can get free instant access to public records using the Infotracer system, and an Iowa state court records search by name. Find district records, supreme court cases, and appellate records throughout the state.
In 2012, the Iowa courts received 863,220 filings. In 2016, the number of filings decreased by 18.0% and counted 707,501 filings and had 705,308 outgoing cases
|Court Type||Incoming Caseloads|
Domestic relations caseload of Iowa at year end of 2016 has decreased by 8.8% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 37,508 but are higher than in 2015.
|Year||Domestic Relations Caseload||Total Statewide Caseload|
The number of criminal cases in Iowa courts counts to 122,430, with 19,661 felony cases and 102,769 misdemeanors accordingly.
|Year||Criminal Caseload||Misdemeanor Caseload||Felony Caseload|
The Iowa District Courts in the state of Iowa are the original jurisdiction trial courts for the state. Nearly all legal matters originate here. Each county has its own District courthouse. Additionally, the state is divided into eight judicial districts for administration, and one Chief Judge heads each district for administrative purposes. These courts handle civil matters, criminal offenses, probate cases, juvenile issues, family and domestic issues as well as small claims and civil suits. IA uses a unified court system established in 1973 in its Constitution. Before that, they had hundreds of justices of the peace courts, mayor’s courts, municipal courts, and police courts.