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Colorado Public Records
Court Case Search

Colorado Court Case Lookup

A court case is a dispute between two opposing parties brought to any Colorado Court for resolution. They can be brought to court by parties that are not in opposition but need a legal ruling to formally establish some legal fact. The purpose of a Colorado court case lookup is to offer members of the public access to court records generated during a judicial proceeding.

The Colorado court system can decide civil and criminal cases through four levels: County Courts, District Courts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. Every year, County Courts handle about 450,000 court cases, District Courts handle about 235,000 cases, the Court of Appeals handles about 2,500 cases, and the Supreme Court handles about 1,500 court cases. Colorado has several courts that handle various kinds of criminal and civil cases. These courts are:

  • Supreme Court: The Colorado court is considered the court of last resort or final court in the state because it is the highest court. Individuals dissatisfied with the judgments in the Court of Appeals can appeal to the Supreme Court to review their cases. Supreme Court decisions are binding on all other Colorado state courts.
  • Court of Appeals: These courts hear appeals of decisions made by Colorado District Courts, Denver Probate Court, Juvenile Court, and several state administrative agencies. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is final, except the case is reviewed by the Supreme Court.
  • Trial Courts: The three trial courts in Colorado are District Courts, County Courts, and Water Courts. District courts handle cases like juvenile, divorce, civil claims in any amount, probate, mental health, and criminal cases. County courts handle felonies, misdemeanors, civil cases under $25,000, traffic infractions, protection orders, and small claims. Water courts typically handle water-related cases like water rights, use, and administration. Each of the seven major river basins in Colorado has water courts.
  • Problem-Solving Courts: They provide sentencing alternatives to eligible incarcerated individuals. About 69 problem-solving courts are operating in 20 judicial districts in Colorado, offering Adult Drug Courts, DUI Courts, Veteran’s Treatment Courts, Juvenile Drug Courts, Adult and Juvenile Mental Health Courts, and Family and Dependency/Neglect Courts programs.
  • Denver Courts: Denver’s court system is different from those in other counties in Colorado partly because Denver is both a city and a county. In other counties in Colorado, the District Courts handle juvenile and probate matters.However, Denver has a separate juvenile and probate court. As such, the Denver juvenile and probate courts are state courts alongside Denver District Court.
  • Municipal Courts: These are courts that handle violations of laws (like shoplifting, traffic, and minor offenses like dog leash-law violations and disturbances) committed within Colorado cities.
  • Small-Claims Courts: Per §13-6-403 C.R.S., Colorado small-claims courts handle civil cases where the debt, damage, or personal property value claimed by the plaintiff or the defendant does not exceed $7,500.
  • Probate Court: Handles cases that involve the distribution of estates after deaths, appoints guardians and conservators to oversee the affairs of living incapacitated persons, and involuntary mental health and substance-abuse commitments.
  • Juvenile Court: Handle matters of civil actions that involve adoption, juvenile delinquency, dependency and neglect, paternity, and relinquishment.

Are Court Cases Public Record in Colorado?

Per Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), court cases are public records. As such, anyone can request to view or obtain copies of court cases from record custodians except if such records or portions of them are not open for inspection. Court cases like divorce, traffic, sex offender, and arrest records are open to the public, while adoption and juvenile records are confidential and are closed. For instance, adoption records in colorado are only open to adult adoptees, custodial grandparents of a minor adoptee, confidential intermediaries, adoptive parents of a minor adoptee, and legal representatives. Others who can access adoption records if they have notarized written consent or permission from the adult adoptee or if they show proof that the adult adoptee is dead are:

  • Adult descendant of an adult adoptee
  • The adoptive parent or grandparent of an adult adoptee
  • An adult sibling or half-sibling of an adult adoptee
  • The adoptive parent or grandparent of an adult adoptee
  • Spouse of an adult adoptee or adult adoptee's partner in a civil union
  • Attorney for any person mentioned above

Some court cases may be open, but certain portions may be confidential. For instance, investigative records, security procedures, or intelligence information of any law enforcement agency in a criminal case are not open to the public (C. R. S. 24-72-305).

How to Conduct a Colorado Court Case Lookup

Colorado court case lookup can be done online or in person. In-person requesters can visit the courts where cases were filed to conduct court case lookups. Alternatively, Online requests can be made using Colorado Judicial Branch or County Court Docket Search tools. Online requesters are expected to provide case information like district, county, location, court, division, date range, case number, the party's last name/company name, party first name, or attorney bar number. Search results will reveal the date, length, name, hearing type, case number, location, and division. Requesters who cannot find case information online can contact local courts for verification. A record seeker requesting specific information about court cases (like dispositions, judgment amount, and court orders) can submit a Record Document Request Form to the Colorado Judiciary.

Can I Get Colorado Court Case Documents Online?

Yes, Colorado has a statewide Court Docket Search tool that individuals can use to search for case documents. The Colorado Judicial Branch also partners with third-party vendors to provide online tools where requestors can view real-time registers of cases available in state courts. Individuals can retrieve information regarding civil, small claims, felonies, misdemeanors, traffic, and water cases from these commercial sites. Copies of court cases cannot be obtained online from commercial sites. Interested parties can request copies of court cases from the courts where the cases were filed.

How to Conduct a Colorado Court Search by Name

A Colorado court search by name can be done online via Colorado Judicial Court or County Docket Search tools. Just type the case party's last/company name or party first name on the appropriate search field, then click on “Show Docket” to retrieve case information regarding the case party. Alternatively, inquirers can walk into the local court office where the case was filed to retrieve case information. Provide the name of the case party to the staff in charge of court cases and pay the required fees to obtain copies of the case documents.

What is a Court Case Number?

A case number is a unique set of characters that allows easy reference to specific civil and criminal cases in the Colorado court system. In Colorado, a case number is used to identify the year the case was filed, the case class, and the number sequence. Using case numbers allows uniform access to case information within the Colorado Courts. Every document filed with the court is assigned a case number to help properly route documents within the court.

How to Conduct a Case Number Search in Colorado

The Colorado Judicial Branch Docket Search tool does not only provide access to case information via a name search, but a case number option is also available. To conduct a case search via this tool, a requester must type the case number in the search box provided on the platform. Unlike a name search that provides case results on every case party with the name provided, a case search narrows the search to the specific case. This is because case numbers are unique and cannot be duplicated.

How to Remove Court Cases From Public Record in Colorado

The steps involved in removing court cases from public records in Colorado differ depending on case type. For instance, the C.R.S. 24-72-703 and C.R.S. § 19-1-306 state the eligibility requirements for sealing criminal records in Colorado. Eligible offenders who want to seal criminal records must first complete the appropriate forms and file them with the Court. They must pay the necessary filing fees, and the Court will review the motion. If the motion is granted, a hearing date will be set. During the hearing, the record holder will be asked questions about the request to have their criminal record expunged or sealed. The Court can either grant or deny the petition to seal or expunge a criminal case from public records. The Court will automatically expunge or seal the criminal case if the petition is granted. The Court will send a copy of the order to case parties and agencies with records of the case. Generally, the agencies will seal or expunge the criminal records within 30 days of receiving the order.

How to Check a Court Case Status in Colorado

A requester can use the statewide court case online tool to check for a court case status in Colorado. Search can be done by district, county, location, court, division, date range, case number, the party's last name/company name, party first name, or attorney bar number. When a search is done, the result will reveal the date of the case. It is from the date that the requester will know the case status. With the case status, one can know if the case is active or inactive.

How to Find Supreme Court Decisions in Colorado

Colorado Supreme Court decisions are available to the public in the form of opinions at the Judicial Branch website. Supreme Court case opinions are also called case announcements in Colorado. Requesters can use the search tool on the Supreme Court Case Announcements page to find published opinions or select the year and month the opinion was published to find every supreme court opinion issued within that period.

Supreme Court opinions are also posted on the Colorado Bar Association (CBA) website. The CBA only posts Supreme Court opinions published within the last 6 months. Inquirers who want to access Supreme Court opinions published from past years can use the Casemaker tool provided by the CBA. One downside to this tool is that only CBA members can access the platform.

What Percentage of Court Cases Go to Trial in Colorado?

The Colorado Judicial Branch Annual Statistical Report revealed that about 543,846 new court cases were filed in Colorado courts as of 2022. Approximately 0.9% (over 4,600) of these cases went to trial. Specifically, the Colorado District Court had 199,840 new cases filed in 2022, but only 369 of them went to court trials, and 1,074 went to jury trials. In contrast, the County Courts had 344,006 new cases filed that same year, but 2,346 of them went to court trials, and 833 went to jury trials.

How Long Does a Court Case Last in Colorado?

Several factors affect the length of time a court case, including case type and nature of the case. However, the minimum time required to finalize a civil case in Colorado is 90 days. For instance, a divorce process lasts 90 days after filing a petition, and an adult adoption process also takes about 90 days in Colorado. With a plea bargain, a criminal case can last for weeks, but it will take about months or years to finalize if the case goes to trial.

How to File a Case in Court in Colorado

An individual can file a case in court in Colorado electronically or manually. A filer can visit the local court in their area to request forms for any type of case. After filling out the forms, they can file them with the court clerks and pay the necessary filing fees.

Alternatively, Colorado attorneys can use the Colorado Courts E-Filing system to file civil, criminal, domestic, water, probate, and appellate court cases electronically in the Colorado Courts. Self-represented filers must first register for a Colorado Courts E-Filing User ID. They can only e-file where and when the system is available and can only e-file in their own cases. The system does not allow self-represented users to e-file for others, and others can't e-file for them. Self-represented filers can only e-file domestic relations (DR) cases.

What Does It Mean if a Court Case Was Resolved Before the Trial Date?

Resolving a court case before the trial date simply means using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods to resolve problems without going to court. Most Colorado courts require case parties to consider ADR options before trial. This is because ADR methods allow case parties to resolve the case faster, allow them to maintain control of their legal matters and are less expensive than traditional litigation. Below are ADR methods that case parties should consider before going to court:

  • Negotiation: It involves back-and-forth communication between case parties to find a solution.
  • Mediation: This is a voluntary process where a neutral person helps case parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
  • Arbitration: This is when the case parties refer the dispute to an impartial third person (the arbitrator) chosen by them. The case parties must agree in advance to abide by the arbitrator’s decision.
  • Plea bargain: This agreement between the prosecution and the defense allows the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser offense or some offenses charged in exchange for more lenient sentencing or dismissal of other charges.

If all the above-mentioned ADR methods proved abortive, the case parties could take the case to court. This will compel the opposing party to participate in the resolution process.



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