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Indiana Court Records

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What are Indiana Criminal Court Records?

Indiana Criminal Court Records refer to all documents and case files created as regards to criminal court proceedings in the state’s judicial body. These documents may include transcripts, minute entries, court calendars, case histories, tapes of deposition, written statements among many other documentary evidence, testimonies, electronic recordings, photographs, papers, and resources that substantiate proof that such criminal cases have undergone preliminary hearing or grand jury indictments. The dynamics of court records are such that it may include other digital tapes and data processing software so created in relation to criminal cases.

However, all generated documents are not court records. In compliance with the Indiana Judicial Administrative Rule, sealed records, mental health case records, records pertaining to investigative requests, and other records rendered confidential by statute or court rule are excluded entirely from public view. Although criminal court records are a part of criminal history information in the state, it may not serve as official criminal history information as such comprehensive records are maintained by the state’s law enforcement agencies.

What’s Contained in a Criminal Court Record?

The information contained in a criminal court record is designated depending on the case and the court where the case was/is being handled, and also on whether the case ended with a plea bargain or trial conviction. However, most criminal court records share similar features which may include:

  • Biodata of the defendant and/or the plaintiff
  • Case Summary
  • Record of Judgments and Orders
  • Index of Parties
  • Case Filings List
  • Dockets/Calendars with case numbers, captions, date, time and hearing location
  • Court summons and information on indictment
  • Information regarding the defendant’s plea
  • Available official receipts, transaction sheets and miscellaneous documents relating to the case
  • The final judgment, penalties, probationary conditions, and fines

Who can access Criminal Court Records in the State of Indiana?

As furnished by the Indiana Open Records Act, the Indiana Administrative Rule 4.0 allows citizens the right to inspect and copy non-confidential criminal case records. Current records are housed in the courthouse where the case was filed while older records may be stored at a different location. The court clerk is the records custodian and is responsible for filing and processing all court records requests within the court’s juridical premise.

Understanding the Indiana Court Structure

Indiana’s court system is typically divided into two broad categories: appellate courts and trial courts. The appellate-level courts consist of the Supreme Court, the five courts of appeals, and the tax courts while trial courts are made up of superior courts, circuit courts, and local city or town courts.

Appellate Courts

Supreme Court

Made up of five justices, the Indiana Supreme Court serves as the court of last resort for criminal and civil cases in the state. It exercises original jurisdiction over appeals from lower court decisions, appeals from death penalty verdicts, and offers advisory opinions overall questions of state law, etc.

Courts of Appeal

As the name suggests, the Indiana Courts of Appeal have no original jurisdiction and functions to review the final decisions of various administrative agencies in the state. They are divided into five judicial districts with 15 judges, and serves as the court of last resort over appeals not taken to the Supreme Court.

Tax Court

With only one court located in Indianapolis, the Tax Court has exclusive jurisdiction over cases that questions the state’s tax laws.

Trial Courts

Superior Courts

They serve as the trial courts of general jurisdiction in counties with distinct superior courts dealing with felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions. Having about 201 court judges presiding over the various counties in the state, their organization varies from county to county each serving as the court of exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases. They also review appeals from local court judgments.

Circuit Courts

There are 92 counties in the state of Indiana. With the exception of the Ohio-Dearborn conjoined circuit, each county has one judicial circuit hence making up the state’s 91 circuit courts. They have concurrent and overlapping functions with the superior courts.

Local Courts

The various city and town courts are courts of limited jurisdiction handling all misdemeanors and infractions within its geographical jurisdiction. They also have exclusive jurisdiction over all town ordinances violations.

Obtaining Indiana Criminal Court Records

Residents may obtain Indiana criminal court records using any of the following means:

  • Obtaining records in person
  • Obtaining records online
  • Obtaining records by mail
  • Obtaining records from third-party websites like CourtRecords.org

How to Obtain Indiana Court Records in Person

Step 1. Identify the Right Court

Criminal court records for cases filed at the circuit court can be obtained by visiting the local trial court. The Indiana court website provides a list of the different courts in Indiana’s court structure as well as their location and address. It also provides a clerk directory that contains a list of trial court clerks’ street addresses, websites and phone numbers for different county courts.

Step 2. Gather Case Information

Requests for criminal court records must include relevant information to facilitate the search. The best approach to finding a court record is to conduct a search using the case number. However, records can also be found by conducting searches using the name(s) of the parties involved in the case, attending attorneys or a presiding judge. In cases where none of this information is available, members of the public may be able to find the record by manually searching through court records filed within a specified period.

Step 3. Request for Records

To obtain records, interested parties are required to submit a written application, providing relevant details, such as the case number, name of the defendant named on the record, the presiding judge or the attorneys who managed the case. While most appellate and trial courts have rules governing the submission of requests for records as well as access to proceedings and courtroom information, requests for criminal court records are generally processed by the clerk of court.

Step 4. Pay for Records

Although criminal court records are free, there is a set fee for making copies of the provided documents. Additional charges may apply if certified copies are requested. Interested parties are expected to complete payment before copies of the record are released. The total fee for each physical record request varies, depending on the number of copies required.

How to Obtain Criminal Court Records by Mail

To obtain criminal court records by mail, residents must first establish that the court offers this service. Interested parties can confirm this by contacting the clerk of court or visiting the court’s official webpage. Mailing details, as well as the cost for coping official court records, can be found on most court websites. While the rules vary with different clerks, most courts require a physical address for mailing records. Payment for records may be made by credit card or check. Interested parties are advised to include a self-addressed stamped return envelope. Obtaining records by mail may take 3 days to 2 weeks determining on the court and the difficulty in finding the record.

Obtaining Criminal Court Records Online

Electronic access to criminal court records for county court cases can be obtained using the Indiana Odyssey Case Management System officially called Chronological Case Summary (CCS) —an online portal that provides a secure single point search tool for state-wide court cases. To use the search portal, the requester must first select the appropriate county. It provides search options for attorneys, party access, registered users and members of the public. Although passwords are required for the party access, attorney access, and registered user access, no such requirement is needed for public access.

Searches can be conducted on a case-by-case basis or using a specified date range. Members of the public can also search through the online portal using a known first and last name (or business name).

There are online access to circuit and county courts in all 92 counties in the state, including Adams, Allen, Bartholomew, Benton, Blackford, Boone, Brown, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Davies, Dearborn, Decatur, DeKalb, Delaware, Dubois, Elkhart, Fayette, Floyd, Fountain, Franklin, Fulton, Gibson, Grant, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Harrison, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Huntington, Jackson, Jasper, Jay, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Knox, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, LaPorte, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Martin, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Porter, Posey, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, Scott, Shelby, Spencer, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Sullivan, Switzerland, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Union, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, Wabash, Warren, Warrick, Washington, Wayne, Wells, White, and Whitley counties.

Many of the county courts outside the CCS portal provides online access to criminal court records via independent search platforms maintained on their official website. Records searches may be limited to a fixed number of results and may only contain documents for cases included in the Odyssey’s case management system by a given county. The following are links for some of the major county courts in Indiana:

  • Adams County
  • Allen County
  • Bartholomew County
  • Benton County
  • Blackford County
  • Boone County
  • Brown County
  • Carroll County
  • Cass County
  • Clark County
  • Clay County
  • Clinton County
  • Crawford County
  • Daviess County
  • Dearborn County
  • Decatur County
  • DeKalb County
  • Delaware County
  • Dubois County
  • Elkhart County
  • Fayette County
  • Floyd County
  • Fountain County
  • Franklin County
  • Fulton County
  • Gibson County
  • Grant County
  • Greene County
  • Hamilton County
  • Hancock County
  • Harrison County
  • Hendricks County
  • Henry County
  • Howard County
  • Huntington County
  • Jackson County
  • Crawford County
  • Daviess County
  • Dearborn County
  • Decatur County
  • DeKalb County
  • Delaware County
  • Dubois County
  • Elkhart County
  • Fayette County
  • Floyd County
  • Fountain County
  • Franklin County
  • Fulton County
  • Gibson County
  • Grant County
  • Greene County
  • Hamilton County
  • Hancock County
  • Harrison County
  • Hendricks County
  • Henry County
  • Howard County
  • Huntington County
  • Jackson County
  • Jasper County
  • Knox County
  • Lagrange County
  • Lake County
  • Marion County
  • Monroe County
  • Porter County
  • St. Joseph County
  • Tippecanoe County
  • Warren County
  • Warrick County
  • Vanderburgh County
  • Vigo County

Can I Find Indiana Court Records Online?

Yes, some trial and appellate courts provide online access to criminal court records and other information. For instance, the Indiana Supreme Court maintains an online platform that members of the public can use to search for dockets. The Indiana District Courts of Appeal also provides access to docket information via a searchable platform. Interested parties can conduct searches by case number or using other options, such as searching by filing date, attorney/party name or lower tribunal case number.

Publicly available records like Indiana inmate records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:

  • The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
  • The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name

Third party sites are not government sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.

Are all Indiana Criminal Court Records Open to the Public?

Following the establishment of Indiana’s Public Access Rule 4.0, members of the general public may access criminal court records including records of court proceedings. The state’s courts may not restrict access to these records unless there is a specific interest to be protected which outweighs the right to public access. As such, most criminal court records are public records and their custodians are tasked with facilitating public access unless restricted by law or court order. Some confidential court record information includes:

  • Records pertaining to juvenile court summons and proceedings
  • Details of mental health and psychological evaluations
  • Financial account information and social security numbers
  • Information regarding domestic violence

Are Transcripts of Indiana Criminal Court Proceedings available to the public?

Access to the transcripts for specific hearings and trials may be available at some courts. The process of obtaining these records varies with different courts. To obtain copies of transcripts for federal crime cases filed at the Federal district court, interested parties must contact the court reporter or courtroom deputy listed as present during the proceeding. Members of the public may be able to order copies of a transcript by visiting the court’s website and paying the applicable fees.

Transcripts of cases filed at the county courts can also be obtained by submitting a request to the digital court reporter or the respective court reporting office. To reduce the risk of delays, requests for transcripts should include as much relevant information such as the:

  • Requester’s name
  • Contact details
  • Case number
  • Case style
  • Time and date of the proceeding
  • Type of proceeding
  • Name of the presiding judge
  • Courthouse
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