How to Obtain Court Records in Nebraska
Understanding the structure of a state’s judiciary is an important first step in uncovering the documents you need. In Nebraska, county courts are the most likely setting for most residents’ encounters with the legal system. County courts handle misdemeanors, traffic issues, juvenile and family court matters (with the exception of a few counties), civil cases up to $35,000 in value, adoption, probate, and small claims.
District courts are the general trial courts, hearing criminal and civil cases as well as appeals of some issues from administrative agencies.
An intermediate court of appeals uses three-judge panels to hear disputes over lower court decisions. At the top of the state judiciary is the supreme court which takes automatic appeals of life imprisonment sentences, death row cases, decides the constitutionality of state laws, and oversees the state bar.
Getting copies of court documents
Obtaining copies of court records or documents can be important to prove your innocence, to enforce court orders of protection, child custody, or settlements, or to change your name. Some records are confidential and cannot be released to the public, including those that name victims of sex crimes, juvenile court records, and those with other highly confidential information like medical diagnoses.
The state offers an online service that will search for case records for a $15 fee per search (even if no results are found. That website is here: https://www.nebraska.gov/justicecc/ccname.cgi. However if you know which court the case was heard in and/or know which record you need, you may contact the clerk of that court to request a copy. Here is a directory of county court clerks: https://supremecourt.nebraska.gov/directories/county-court-contacts. District court clerks can be found here: https://supremecourt.nebraska.gov/directories/district-court-contacts.
Having a copy of your divorce decree can be helpful if you’re applying for housing, credit, or a name change. At other times there are disagreements over the terms of the divorce and a decree will spell out what needs to be done regarding child support, custody, and dividing shared assets. To get a copy of your divorce decree, ask at the county or district court where the divorce was granted.
When a person dies, his will or estate is overseen by a probate court judge to ensure that taxes are paid and property is distributed correctly to heirs. Probate court may also handle mental health cases, guardianships, and adoptions. To get a copy of a probate court document (keeping in mind the confidentiality issues that may arise), contact the clerk of the county court where the individual lived using this list: https://supremecourt.nebraska.gov/directories/county-court-contacts.
Federal courts handle bankruptcies, some criminal cases, and lawsuits involving residents of multiple states. There is a U.S. District Court in each state. To get information on a case, use this website: https://www.pacer.gov.