Tennessee Court Records
Tennessee court records are readily available online, especially with the rise in digital storage and Internet access. This is a convenience to those who frequently search for court records and have been required to track down documents in person at the state law library or courthouse of record. Public access allows the general population and law professionals alike to benefit from the multitude of court records from civil, criminal and municipal judicial entities.
The state of Tennessee is no exception and has a complex and interesting judicial system that includes many courts such as the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Court of Criminal Appeals, Chancery Courts, Circuit Courts, Criminal Courts, General Session Courts, Juvenile Courts, Probate Courts, and lastly Tennessee Municipal Courts. Each jurisdiction requires documentation which later turn into the searchable court records of the state.
History of Tennessee Court Records
Since it first achieved statehood, Tennessee has adopted three state constitutions. In 1796, there was no specific legislation deeming it necessary to have a Supreme Court. It called for superior and inferior courts only. Later, in 1834, the second constitution made provisions for a Supreme Court with three justices each serving 12 year terms. And finally, in 1870, the most recent constitution called for a five justice court, where no more than two judges could reside in any one of the three grand divisions located in Knoxville, Nashville and Jackson.
Tennessee Court Records Availability
The State Library and Archives is currently working to scan historical court records dating back to the 1800s for public research online. This will vastly improve the network of records available for those interested in genealogy and Tennessee history. More than 50,000 cases have been digitally archived so far.
Tennessee court records can be found through an online search of criminal and civil records by case number of the appeal, case style, the first and last name of a party, or by the name of the organization.
Main Court Information
Tennessee has many types of courts in its judicial branch, the highest court being the Supreme Court, which is the court of last resort for all criminal and civil cases. The Court of Appeals, established in 1925, hears appellate cases from non-criminal trial courts and some cases concerning state boards and commissions. Criminal cases can be reviewed in the Court of Criminal Appeals, which was created in 1967 to offer support of the Supreme Court’s caseload.
Outside of these main appellate courts are the trial courts of Tennessee which includes the Criminal, Chancery, Circuit, and Business Courts which oversee cases from 31 judicial districts. In addition, each of the 95 counties of Tennessee have General Session Courts for local civil and criminal cases. The Family Court hears cases which involve family law such as adoption proceedings, divorce, juvenile cases, and child custody. Municipal Courts of Tennessee has smaller jurisdictions, can vary from city to city and are numerous statewide.
The recent caseload of the Supreme Court includes 1,198 filings from 2014 with 1,153 cases reaching a disposition and well represents the average numbers of cases filed over the last ten years.