Rhode Island Court Records
Rhode Island Court records can be searched for in person at the courthouse or local library, or remotely through the Internet. It is convenient for legal professionals and the public alike to have options and access to the court records of their state. These records might be used for legal purposes such as finding a historical decision before beginning a new case, or simply to better understand the judicial process and locate vital and genealogical records.
History of Rhode Island Court Records
The history of Rhode Island courts and their records dates back to an era before the United States was independent from Britain. In 1747, the Supreme Court was called a different name at its creation by the Rhode Island General Assembly. At that time it was known as the Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize, and General Gaol Delivery. A look in the state’s charter shows that even as far back as 1663 there was an established judiciary branch, then known as General Court of Trials. In 1798 the name changed again to Supreme Judicial Court. In 1843 it became known as the Supreme Court of Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Court Records Availability
Civil and criminal cases from courts all over the state can be accessed online through a keyword search using the last name of the party. If it is a specific workers’ compensation court record, a domestic case from the Family Court, or case information regarding civil cases in the Superior or District Courts, those can be found separately through an online public access portal.
Additionally, the State Law Library located in Providence provides a wealth of information regarding legal documents such as access to case information, court calendars and criminal information search.
Main Court Information
The Rhode Island Supreme Court is an appellate court and is last resort for the state, which means it has absolute appellate jurisdiction over questions of law and equity. The Supreme Court is also responsible for supervising state courts and serves as general advisory concerning the interpretation of the state and federal constitutions. Lastly, the Supreme Court is in charge of regulating admission of attorneys to the Rhode Island Bar and disciplining members as necessary.
The Superior Court is an intermediate appellate court and also holds jurisdiction of original criminal and civil cases for jury and non-jury trials. This includes felony proceedings and civil cases where the amount in question exceeds ten thousand dollars. Rhode Island also has a Family Court with jurisdiction over cases involving divorce, custody, adoptions, paternity proceedings, and several other matters involving juveniles. Any appeals from Family Court go directly to the Supreme Court.
The state of Rhode Island Supreme Court had 359 filings in the year 2013, along with 393 dispositions. Similarly, the previous year had 355 filings and 373 dispositions.