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: BRB's Public Records Blog

MN Public Record Research Tip

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Minnesota offers the Trial Court Public Access (MPA) at http://pa.courts.state.mn.us/default.aspx. Search statewide or by county. Records available include criminal, civil, family, and probate. Searches can be performed using a case number or by name. Calenders can be looked-up by district at www.mncourts.gov/default.aspx?page=512.

But there are a number of caveats - certain publicly-accessible case records cannot be viewed online.

Electronic copies of public documents filed by parties also cannot be viewed online at this time. Name searches for criminal case records will not return pre-conviction criminal records.  A statewide case inquiry may exclude district courts that have not yet converted to the system. Also, the public access terminals found at the courthouses do not use this system. For example, party street address and name searches on criminal pre-conviction case records are publicly accessible and available at the courthouse, but not online. The federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) also prevents the state from displaying harassment and domestic abuse case records online, but these are available at the courthouse. Comment fields for all case types are not available online but are available at the courthouse. Online users are not notified when such public data is restricted from online viewing.

The bottom line is the public access terminals found at courthouses are still the most accurate searching locations. In Judicial Districts (arranged by number and often covering several counties) many court's public access terminals contain court records for that entire district. The online system is supplemental at best.

excerpt from The Public Record Research TIPS Book

Full post as published by BRB's Public Records Blog on August 25, 2008 (boomark / email).

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