Court records can be either criminal or civil in nature. They detail the court date making essentially a summary of all the events that occurred. In a criminal context we call these records the “docket” and this basically is a carbon copy paper that shows every event that happened during the court date with a series of checked boxes and arrows. If it is yourself or a loved one, often people want to look up to see when someone has court or what the result in their court case was. The best way to do this is to go to the court directly yourself.
What kind of records can I see at the courthouse?
At the downtown San Diego Courthouse, you will literally be able to see a case file and every document that was filed in the case. Once filed in a case it becomes public record which means that every single document, including any motions or sentencing arguments that would summarize the case, becomes open to the public to see. At the downtown courthouse in San Diego the best place to do this is on the second floor in their records office. For the general public, there is a sign in sheet. Once you walk in, you sign your name and at some point a court clerk will talk to you and ask you about your inquiry.
How do I obtain a free background check?
You can also do a background check on anyone, at the courthouse, for free. Although it is a little controversial because some attorneys believe the court staff should be focused on current cases, the San Diego courthouse actually does background checks for free and they are the most accurate they can be because they are coming straight from the court system itself. What most people don’t know, is that when you pay a commercial company to do a background check for you, all they are doing is sending people to go to the courthouse and check it themselves. It sounds shocking to some people but that is how background checks are done. Any day at the courthouse you will see people with lists of 20-50 names and they are getting this information for free for the background checking company. Whether it is a check for yourself or someone you love this is the best way to get a free background check.
How do I get information about future court dates?
The court clerk’s office in the same building can give you this information for free as well. If you want to look it up online you can either look to the San Diego Sheriff’s website or the district attorney of San Diego’s website. The actual court website is notorious for showing incorrect or not updated information. Criminal Attorneys in San Diego generally rely on a combination of the Sheriff’s and the District Attorney’s site and never use the court website.