Free public access to judicial records

The party name can be the name of an individual or organization. Show Open Cases Only. Use the Case List by Attorney search to locate all Court docket sheets for a specific attorney. You can search by either attorney bar number or attorney name. Bar Number:. Attorney Name:. The Michigan Supreme Court is providing the information on this site as a public service.

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The information is updated frequently based upon the needs of our users. Although every effort is made to maintain accurate information on this site, the Michigan Supreme Court does not guarantee the accuracy of the information. No warranty of any kind, implied, express or statutory, including but not limited to the warranties of noninfringement of third-party rights, title, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and freedom from computer virus, is given with respect to the contents of this site or links to other external resources.

Use of this site is at your own risk, and the Michigan Supreme Court will not be liable for any damages whatsoever resulting from the use of the information available on the site. If you find any errors or omissions, we encourage you to report them to the web master via e-mail. What Procedures Are Required? Courts must follow certain procedures prior to closing a court proceeding or sealing a court record.

Requests for Access to Court Records

First, before closure, the court must give notice to the public. Second, the court must give the public an opportunity to be heard and to challenge any motions for sealing court records or closing proceedings. Third, if a court permits closure, it must make factual findings on the record that states the reasons for closure and explain why less restrictive alternatives were insufficient.

See United States v. Buehl, A.

In certain cases, a court may hold a closed i. The public has the ability to assert its rights of access by seeking to intervene in a particular case.

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For everyday citizens, courts sometimes dispense with such formalities, especially if access is being granted. But a member of the public technically has no standing to be heard in court if it has not formally intervened for the limited purpose of seeking access. Courts usually grant such intervention motions, even if the court then reaches a decision to deny access. Sometimes, however, courts deny any right of intervention, usually because the court concludes that there is no right of access.

Motions to intervene were filed and discussed in the following two Pennsylvania cases: Commonwealth v. Long , A.

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Fenstermaker , A. A court order denying access to court records and proceedings is immediately appealable under what is known as the collateral order rule. Such an appeal, however, must be timely filed within thirty days of the order denying access. Appeals are often won because the trial court failed to follow the required procedures, even if the appellate court may agree that closure was appropriate and not an abuse of discretion.

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If the court refuses to permit a non-party to intervene, then that order denying intervention must be appealed. Such an order is also immediately appealable under the collateral order doctrine. It is important to ask the trial court for a stay of all proceedings, not just the closure order, pending the appeal. If the trial court denies a motion to stay, then the same request can be made to the appellate court. Courts are loathe to stay matters pending appeal. There are two methods of analysis used in examining the competing interests involved in a request for closure: the constitutional analysis and the common law balancing approach:.

Pleadings and Motions — Presumptive Right of Access — Pleadings are documents filed with a court in a civil action, such as complaints, answers and a wide variety of motions. Motions are procedural filings used to bring a limited, contested matter before a court for decision. Both types of documents are filed with the court and therefore are considered judicial documents open to public inspection.

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As a result, a party wishing to seal pleadings or motions must overcome the presumption of openness. Case Management Conferences — No Presumptive Right of Access — Generally, these are not open to public access as they usually occur between the court and counsel for the parties and sometimes the parties themselves and are generally for establishing schedules and related issues for the proceeding.

However, any memoranda, orders or other filings for or as a result of the conference e.

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Types of discovery include depositions, interrogatories, requests for admissions, or requests for production of documents. Generally, there is no public right of access to discovery materials. Discovery materials are retained by the parties during the pre-trial stage. However, the common law right of access applies to all such materials once they are filed with the court as attachments to non-discovery motions e. It is an attempt by the parties to resolve the matter with input from a neutral who can ideally guide them to a resolution before trial.

A settlement conference is similar but is often before the judge who will try the case and is typically shorter in duration. Neither is open to public access and, in fact, the negotiations which occur between the parties may not be used or referred to in subsequent trial of the matter. Civil Hearings and Trials — Presumptive Right of Access — Generally, the public enjoys a presumptive right of access to civil hearings and trials. However, sometimes closure will be permitted even over the objections of other parties. Most often such closure is permitted in divorce proceedings, mental health hearings, or proceedings that may adversely affect a minor.

Juvenile Records — Limited Right of Access — Under Pennsylvanian law, there is a limited right of access to records and proceedings relating to juvenile matters. Access depends upon whether the hearing involves a claim of dependency or delinquency. Dependency hearings are subject to the presumption of openness; however, the court may still order a closed hearing if demonstrable danger to the child or overriding privacy concerns are clearly shown.

In re M.

See below for analysis of delinquency proceedings and records. Transcripts — Presumptive Right of Access — Transcripts record, verbatim, the discourse of individuals present during a court proceeding. Transcripts are filed with the court and are therefore considered judicial documents. As a result, the public has a presumptive right of access to transcripts.

This includes transcripts of sidebars. Settlement Agreements — Presumptive Right of Access If Filed With Court — A settlement agreement is an agreement between two parties in a lawsuit that outlines the means by which the parties have agreed to resolve the matter outside the courts. Settlement agreements that are filed with the court enjoy a presumptive right of access. Such agreements must be filed with and approved by the court in cases involving minors, incompetent persons and wrongful death cases. Other settlement agreements are not normally filed of record and would not be open to the public.

Post-Trial Motions — Presumptive Right of Access — Just as the public enjoys a presumptive right to access motions filed prior to and during proceedings, motions filed once proceedings have concluded generally remain open to the public.

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Post-trial motions are filed after the verdict is entered and request the court reverse or overturn the verdict entered because of alleged error that occurred. Appellate Court Proceedings and Records — Presumptive Right of Access — An appellate court may review the decisions of a trial court, but it will not normally preside over a trial. Nevertheless, the same rules that govern trial court hearings govern appellate court hearings.