Maryland Court Records
Maryland court records are administered and maintained by the Maryland State Law Library and local court systems. Civil and criminal records are largely available to the public for review, with some exceptions for particularly sensitive information and cases. These records can be important when researching genealogical histories, case histories and the local rules and procedures for representing yourself in court.
Though most states have a supreme court that is considered their highest appellate court, Maryland has a Court of Appeals that functions much the same way. The sitting justices decide cases involving the death penalty and lifetime sentences, administrative cases, attorney discipline cases and any case when the Maryland Constitution or statutes are called into question. This court’s decision is final and binding, unless the parties wish to file an appeal with the federal Supreme Court.
History of Maryland Court Records
In 1826, Maryland’s General Assembly created the Maryland State Law Library, known as simply the ‘State Library’ at that time. It was opened to the public in 1827, and in 1892 began to be overseen by appellate judges. Currently located in Annapolis, it has been there since 1972.
Maryland Court Records Availability
Most Maryland court records offered to the public include documents, exhibits and information tied to a civil or criminal case. There are some types of court records that are not able to be viewed openly by the public. Namely, these include: adoption records, tax returns, financial statements in a child support case, physician and guardian reports in cases of an alleged disabled adult, termination of parental rights, juvenile delinquency, some marriage license details and child in need of assistance cases.
Many Maryland court records offer court histories, official charges and dates of arrest, pleas entered, and the current disposition of the case. Evidence and witness statements, transcripts of court testimonies and even information about the class of offense the defendant was charged with can be found in Maryland court records.
Civil court records may include information about the parties involved in the suit, any court hearings and details of what happened in court, as well as the final judgment in the case.
Main Court Information
Maryland’s Court of Appeals is the court of last resort in the state, and was created in 1776. In 1960, the number of justices serving the court was increased to seven, and they were to serve 15-year terms. The court hears cases in Annapolis. The court has mandatory jurisdiction over death penalty cases and those regarding redistricting of the state and questions of law. Justices may decide whether to hear most other types of cases.
The Maryland Court of Appeals hears very few cases per year. In 2007, there were 148 filings and 176 dispositions. In 2014, there were only 106 filings and 153 dispositions.