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Mississippi Public Records

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The following is for informational purposes only

What are Mississippi Public Records, and How are They Created?

Mississippi Public Records

Per the Mississippi Open Records Act (Miss. Code Ann. § 25-61-1), the Secretary of State handles public records request. They have a form you can use to request records, but you must pay a fee and also detail the paperwork needed. Mississippi's Open Records Act is summarized as "It is the policy of this state that public records shall be available for inspection by any person unless otherwise provided by this chapter; furthermore, providing access to public records is a duty of each public body and automation of public records must not erode the right of access to those records. As each public body increases its use of, and dependence on, electronic record keeping, each public body must ensure reasonable access to records electronically maintained, subject to records retention."

In Mississippi, "public bodies" create, store, and maintain public records. "Public bodies include any department, bureau, division, council, commission, committee, subcommittee, board, agency and any other entity of the state or a political subdivision thereof, and any municipal corporation and any other entity created by the Constitution or by law, executive order, ordinance or resolution."

"Public records shall mean all books, records, papers, accounts, letters, maps, photographs, films, cards, tapes, recordings or reproductions thereof, and any other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been used, being in use, or prepared, possessed or retained for use in the conduct, transaction or performance of any business, transaction, work, duty or function of any public body, or required to be maintained by any public body."

Although you can request public records through the Secretary of State's office, for some records, you must contact the public body/custodian of the records such as the courts, the department of corrections, state or local police, or other government offices directly to request copies. Each entity may have its own process and charge different fees.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is the government agency that collects, stores, preserves, and maintains public records archives for the state. They have an extensive website with information on genealogy, sections for researchers, government and vital records, online resources, and information about tours of historical landmarks.


How to Access Mississippi Public Records?

How to Access Mississippi Public Records

The Secretary of State for Mississippi makes it easy to contact them for copies of public records. They provide an easily accessible online form to submit. They also recommend that you visit or contact government agencies, law enforcement, the courts, and other entities directly to obtain records that they do not store. When requesting records from the Secretary of State follow the steps below:

  • Visit the Secretary of State website.
  • Use the downloadable form and fill it out for your request.
  • Submit your request to Office of the Mississippi Secretary of State, 401 Mississippi Street; Jackson, MS 39201.
  • Await their response.

You may also call or email them with questions or to follow up on a previous request.


Different Types of Public Records in Mississippi

Mississippi Criminal Records

The Mississippi State Department of Health, MSDH Criminal History Record Check Division handles background checks for licensed healthcare and child-care facilities. For all other criminal records requests, you need to contact the Mississippi Department of Public Safety(MDPS). They handle criminal records requests for the public along with maintaining the sex offender registry, Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), Mental Health Adjudication Reporting, and the NIBRS (National Incident-Based Reporting System).

Some common types of criminal records in Mississippi include (but are not limited to):

  • Felony and Misdemeanor Records - some common misdemeanors in Mississippi shoplifting, petty theft, simple battery, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of less than 30g of marijuana. Some common felonies in Mississippi include murder, arson, burglary, rape, manslaughter, and embezzlement.
  • Jail and Inmate Records - both jails and prisons keep inmate records, and those too are public records. The Mississippi Department of Corrections has an online search tool you can use to locate criminals and their records.
  • Police Records - local police can provide copies of incident reports, police reports, sometimes mugshots, and even crime scene photos upon request.

Mississippi Court Records

Different Types of Public Records in Mississippi

Court records in Mississippi are created, collected, stored, and maintained by the State of Mississippi Judiciary. They have a section on their website where the public can request records for current and historical cases. They include explicit instructions and a list of the fees per copy. You may also visit a courthouse in person to request records.

Some types of court records in Mississippi are:

  • Civil Court Records - domestic relations cases such as divorces, marriages, paternity lawsuits, custody and child support cases, estates, conservatorships, wills, civil lawsuits, and small claims lawsuits.
  • Criminal Court Records - criminal filings for misdemeanors, felonies, and other citations. These may include things like trial paperwork, sentencing, prison transfers, and evidence related to the court case.
  • Financial Court Records - bankruptcies, liens, tax issues, company stock filings, and corporate financial reports.
  • Other Court Records - such as bench warrants, arrest warrants, judgments, traffic tickets and other traffic violations, and name changes.

The Mississippi court system consists of five levels beginning with the Supreme Court, then the Court of Appeals, the Circuit Court, followed by Chancery Court and County Court, then finally Justice and Municipal Court.

Mississippi Arrest Records

Mississippi arrest records are created and maintained by all levels of law enforcement and the courts. You can request copies of arrest records through the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, local police stations, or by contacting the Department of Corrections or the courts.

Some different types of arrests records in Mississippi are:

  • Drug charges.
  • Murder.
  • Shoplifting.
  • DWI.
  • Theft.
  • Petty theft.
  • DUIs.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Booking details like fingerprints and mugshots.
  • Arrest warrants granted by a judge.
  • Bench warrants for not appearing in court.
  • Crime scene photos.
  • Witness statements.
  • Property crimes and accompanying paperwork.
  • Vehicle records if one was used during the crime.

Mississippi Vital Records

The Mississippi State Department of Health is the agency in charge of all vital records for the state. They collect, store, and disseminate copies of birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. You can contact them for copies and order them online, through the mail, in person, or by phone. They can also make corrections to incorrect vital records. This office also handles health statistics for the state.


Other Public Records in Mississippi

Other Public Records in Mississippi

Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, property records in Mississippi are also public. Here are the others:

  • Government budgets and annual reports.
  • Driving records (without personally identifiable information).
  • Home addresses.
  • Maps, books, and tapes.
  • State health and wellness statistics.
  • Air and water quality (pollution reports).
  • Home phone numbers.
  • Police and accident reports.
  • Liens & tax issues.
  • Company incorporation records.
  • Demographics.
  • Library Research.
  • Personnel records for state agencies.
  • Permits, licenses, and certifications.
  • Government employee salaries.

What Information is Not Public Record in Mississippi?

Some records in Mississippi are not publicly accessible. According to the Mississippi Open Records Act, the following are exempt from this law:

  • "The name, home address, any telephone number or other private information of any person who possesses a weapon permit issued under Section 45-9-101 or Section 97-37-7 shall be exempt from the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983.
  • Academic records exempt from public access, see § 37-11-51.
  • Appraisal records exempt from access, see § 31-1-27.
  • Archaeological records exempt from public access, see § 39-7-41.
  • Attorney work product, examination, exemption, see § 25-1-102.
  • Birth Defects Registry, see § 41-21-205.
  • Bureau of vital statistics, access to records, see § 41-57-2.
  • Charitable organizations, registration information, exemption from public access, see § 79-11-527.
  • Concealed pistols or revolvers, licenses to carry, records, exemption, see § 45-9-101.
  • Confidentiality, ambulatory surgical facilities, see § 41-75-19.
  • Defendants likely to flee or physically harm themselves or others, see § 41- 32-7.
  • Environmental self-evaluation reports, public records act, exemption, see § 49-2-71.
  • Hospital records, Mississippi Public Records Act exemption, see § 41-9-68.
  • Individual tax records in possession of public body, exemption from public access requirements, see § 27-3-77.
  • Insurance and insurance companies, risk-based capital level requirements, reports, see § 83-5-415.
  • Jury records exempt from public records provisions, see § 13-5-97.
  • Licensure application and examination records. exemption from the Public Records Act, see § 73-52-1.
  • Medical examiner, records and reports, see § 41-61-63.
  • Personnel files exempt from examination, see § 25-1-100.
  • Public records and trade secrets, proprietary commercial and financial information, exemption from public access, see § 79-23-1.
  • Workers' compensation, access to records, see § 71-3-66."