Iowa Court Records

Iowa court records

Iowa court records have moved at least twice in the state’s history, all while gathering over 150 years’ worth of legal resources for the judiciary and public’s use. Now located in an esteemed and renovated building in Des Moines, the State Law Library allows searches of appellate briefs, local and state statutes, federal laws and even court procedures and dockets. Civil and criminal Iowa court records, past opinions and even historical documents from the area are all available for general public research.

History of Iowa Court Records

The Iowa State Law Library’s collection first came into existence in 1840, when the General Assembly passed an Act to allow for a librarian for the territory. Iowa court records were maintained at that library, which was open during sessions of the Supreme Court and legislature. It is unclear where the original library was located, but it was moved to Iowa City in 1857. At this time, legal materials moved to the new location but other volumes were taken to the Iowa Historical Memorial and Arts Building.

Later, the library moved to the capitol building in Des Moines in 1894 and underwent an extensive and impressive renovation in the late 20th century.

Iowa Court Records Availability

Iowa court records can be found in the State Library of Iowa in Des Moines, as well as online. Volumes include state and federal statutes, case law, case histories, past opinions and oral arguments, treatises, abstracts, legal journals and law reviews, as well as legislative material. The main goal of the library is to serve lawmakers, government and attorneys, as well as the public.

The public is often interested in Iowa court records when they are searching for background information on a case or the court forms needed to represent themselves in court. Many of the court rules and forms are found online, and a catalog of recent and past case histories is also available.

Main Court Information

The Iowa Supreme Court has seven justices, serving eight-year terms. They are politically appointed and can serve subsequent terms. This court is the high court of the state, hearing appeals from all lower courts. It may then decide to send a case down to the court of appeals or keep it.

The Iowa Supreme Court was created in 1846 when Iowa became a state and its constitution was drafted. The Iowa General Assembly determined at that time that justices should serve six-year terms. In 1857, the constitution was amended to increase judicial districts to 11, and allowed the legislature to reorganize them every four years beginning in 1860.

Caseload Statistics

There are no specific caseload statistics available for Iowa, but they do report that they receive approximately 2,000 filings on an annual basis. 30% of those cases are criminal appeals, 25% are parental rights and children in need of assistance and 20% are family law appeals.

Iowa Court Structure

Iowa Court Statistics

Iowa Courts receive 769,581 filings per year. In 2012, the court received 863,220 filings and gave 896,088 dispositions. In 2016, the state court caseload counted 707,501 filings and had 705,308 outgoing cases.

Family Court Cases

Domestic relations caseload of Iowa at year end of 2016 has decreased by 8.8% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 37,508 with a rate of 1,220 cases per 100000 population, lower than it’s in 2016.

Domestic Relations Clearance Rates

States with More & Less Domestic Relation Caseloads than Iowa

More Domestic Relations Cases than Iowa:
State: Caseload:
New York570,709
Pennsylvania342,163
Texas397,468
California388,903
Virginia342,040
Less Domestic Relations Cases than Iowa:
State: Caseload:
Nebraska32,394
Puerto Rico25,737
Idaho22,769
Utah23,967
Maine13,161

Iowa Criminal Caseloads

The number of criminal cases in Iowa counts 122,430 with 19,661 felony cases and 102,769 misdemeanors accordingly.

State Civil Caseload & Clearance Rates

In the last 5 years the number of civil cases has decreased by 17,211 cases, it went from 134,493 to 117,282 with clearance rates of 101% and 100% accordingly.

Small Claims Caseloads & Rates

Caseload: Per 100K Population: Percent of Total Caseload: Max Limit in $:
50,171 1,601 43.0% $5,000

Iowa Court Locations

State Court Holidays

Holiday: Date:
New Year's Day Monday, January 1, 2018
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s BirthdayMonday, January 15, 2018
Memorial DayMonday, May 28, 2018
Independence DayWednesday, July 4, 2018
Labor DayMonday, September 3, 2018
Veterans DayMonday, November 12, 2018
Thanksgiving DayThursday, November 22, 2018
Friday after ThanksgivingFriday, November 23, 2018
Christmas DayTuesday, December 25, 2018

Iowa court records search by Counties

DISCLAIMER: The Iowa court records information accessible herein is derived from unofficial, publicly-available sources, does not constitute the official court records of any case, may not be up-to-date, complete, or accurate, and should not be relied upon by any person or entity for any purpose. This site is a third-party commercial entity that is neither authorized by nor affiliated with the Iowa Judiciary or the Iowa Administrative Office of State Courts in any way. The Iowa Judiciary and the Iowa Administrative Office of State Courts have not endorsed, warranted, or otherwise validated any of Iowa court records information available on this site.