Oklahoma Court Records
Due to the increasing use of digital storage and rise in accessibility of the Internet, Oklahoma court records are more highly available than ever before without the added challenge of tracking down documents of interest in person. Court records have a myriad of uses by the public and legal professionals alike including finding decisions for historical cases before filing a new one, exploring genealogical records, vital records, and finding cases of a similar nature for legal argument in court.
The Oklahoma court system is less traditional with the highest court of the state being the Supreme Court and also naming the Criminal Appeals Court a court of last resort, with a Civil Appeals Court underneath, along with the Oklahoma District Courts that are in multiple locations throughout the state. Each court generates records of respective civil or criminal cases which are available to the public.
History of Oklahoma Court Records
In the 1890s the Territory of Oklahoma established a general court system before achieving statehood in 1907. The earliest state constitution called for the legal system to be assigned between legislative and judicial branches, but was revamped a short time later to give exclusive judicial power to the courts. In the 1960s the court system was changed drastically after a scandal with Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices that became national news. The new regulations called for judiciary selection to be removed from direct partisan politics, changing the credibility of the court.
Oklahoma Court Records Availability
Court records are stored digitally and in many cases on paper. Oklahoma first began electronically keeping court records in 2002, and is steadily rising for criminal and civil case court records. To search online, you may enter the party name, type of case, case number, or filed date range.
Oklahoma also boasts a law library in its capital city which is open to the public, has full library services, and is a host for information about the court system and legal resources.
Main Court Information
Oklahoma’s Supreme Court is an appellate court and is mainly responsible for investigation of the interpretation of the state and federal constitutions. The Supreme Court shares final authority with the Court of Criminal Appeals which is given jurisdiction over all criminal cases appealed from District Courts of Oklahoma and has five justices which serve together and do not form panels of judges. The Court of Civil Appeals is an intermediate appellate court with jurisdiction of civil Oklahoma cases and is represented by 12 justices who serve in 4 districts in panels of 3 judges per district.
The caseload of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma has recently revealed a trend of decline with 250 opinions reached in 2006 and a mere 99 opinions in 2006. However, the caseload of the Court of Criminal Appeals is much higher with an average of 1,600 – 1,800 cases annually.