Colorado Court Records Search
Under the Colorado Court Procedure, court records refer to all documents, exhibits, and other materials produced by a court. This includes all transcripts and recordings of court proceedings, whether they are made electronically or otherwise recorded. These records encompass documents related to court proceedings, including case filings, orders, judgments, and other documents related to a particular case. A Colorado court records search assists members of the public with access to court information for personal or legal research.
In Colorado, court records services are provided by the Colorado Judicial Branch Website or in-person access at the courthouse. Record seekers can use keywords like the case number, the party's name, or the attorney's name to search for and obtain court records.
A courts records search can give important insights into legal processes and the operation of the justice system. Court records are a crucial component of the judicial process in Colorado. These services allow individuals to review and assess the actions of judges, attorneys, and other parties involved in legal proceedings. Individuals, organizations, and scholars can use court records for research and analysis.
Are Colorado Court Records Public?
Yes, Colorado court records are public records that may be inspected or copied by anyone. Colorado Open Records Law ensures that records maintained by Colorado's government and law enforcement agencies are available for any member of the public to request and view. After the enactment of the FOIA law, Colorado's legislature acted in like-manner to create broad access to public records in the state.
Colorado's open records law was passed in 1968. Under Colorado's Open Records Act (CORA), all records are presumed publicly accessible except where exemptions from disclosure are established by law. Colorado's open records law underwent significant amendments in 1974 and 1977. Access to public records in the state is enshrined in two different laws: the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) and the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act (CCJRA). CORA provides that all public records be open for inspection by any individual at reasonable times, except where otherwise blocked by law. CCJRA governs the disclosure of criminal justice records, that is, the records made or maintained by law enforcement agencies such as police departments, sheriffs' offices, and criminal courts.
How Do I Find Court Records in Colorado?
The first step to take when trying to obtain a court record in Colorado is to identify the court where the case recorded was filed. Colorado court record custodians keep official court records in electronic and paper formats. Court record custodians in Colorado are the Clerks of Court. Requesters can access court records in person or by remote access.
Colorado Court Records Public Access
The state judiciary provides public access to court records and electronic versions of case information from Colorado District and County Courts by using the Court Docket Search tool on the Colorado Judicial Branch website. Records of a case may be searched by selecting County Court or District Court and the county where the case was filed and then providing the case number, a party's first name or last name, or attorney bar number. Note that access to District and County Courts case documents and files is not available on the Colorado Judicial Branch website.
Copies of court records can also not be obtained on the site. For specific access to a particular court record, visit or contact the court in which the action was filed. The judicial branch website lists the locations of the District Courts or County Courts in the state.
Interested persons may also use the judicial branch's online Record/Document Request Form to request court records. Suppressed records or other protected documents may require a U.S. government-issued photo ID before release. Colorado charges 25 cents per electronic page, 75 cents per printed page, $25 for a transcript of judgment, and $20 per certified or exemplified copy. Other associated fees can be found on the document request page.
The Colorado State Archives holds Supreme Court case records and civil and criminal cases from several District and County Courts in the state. The State Archives maintains the case files which contain all documents filed in a case. To obtain information on the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal cases, requesters will need to provide corresponding case numbers. To access case files from the District and County Courts, requesters must also provide the assigned case numbers. If case numbers cannot be provided, requesters are advised to contact the county or district where the case was filed to obtain the required case number.
Requesters can submit a formal record request to the Colorado State Archives in one of three ways:
- Online digital form
- Mail request
Note that there are fees associated with obtaining copies of records from the State Archive. However, no fees are charged for viewing the materials in person. A Colorado Archivist will contact the requester to arrange payment before processing a request. Mail requests to the State Archives must include the following information:
- Requester's name
- Requester's return address or preferred mailing address
- Requester's phone number
- The type of record requested
- The county where the case was filed
- The record's case number
- The name of any person or organization relevant to the search
- The requester's best guess of the date of the record
- The documents or the specific type of information needed from the requested materials
- Indication of record certification (if needed)
Requesters may send mail requests to:
Colorado State Archives
1313 Sherman St, Room 120
Denver, CO 80203-2274
The Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are located at:
Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center
2 East 14th Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
Persons interested in accessing Colorado Water Court rulings may visit the relevant division location to obtain or inspect these records.
Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. To gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:
- The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
- The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.
While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government-sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.
How to Conduct a Colorado Court Record Search by Name
To conduct a court record search by name, visit the Colorado Judicial Branch's online search portal called the Colorado Courts E-Filing. This portal allows users to create an account that provides access to court records in Colorado. After signing in/up individuals can search by name, case number, or court. However, in-person requests can be conducted at the courthouse or the court's records department to request records. Inquirers will need to provide the party's name, and any other identifying information such as case number, date of birth, or address.
Alternatively, record seekers can request court records via mail which requires the individuals to write a letter to the court's records department providing the party's name and any other identifying information. When conducting a court record search by name in Colorado, individuals need to determine which court(s) to search and provide a fee for accessing certain records.
How to Get Court Records Online for Free
In Colorado, accessing court records online for free can be challenging as there are few online resources that offer free access to court records. However, several courts provide public access to remote computers to requesters when conducting a court record search at the courthouse. This would require the records seeker to visit in person the courthouse where the case was filed and provide identifying information to help retrieve the records in question.
Types of Courts in Colorado
The Colorado judicial system consists of several levels of courts, including municipal courts, county courts, district courts, and the Colorado Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the state.
The municipal and county courts typically deal with minor traffic offenses, civil issues, and misdemeanor criminal prosecutions. The district courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction, hearing felony criminal cases, civil cases with larger monetary jurisdiction, and family law matters.
District courts hear appeals from municipal and county courts, and the Colorado Court of Appeals hears appeals from district court decisions. Finally, the Colorado Supreme Court administers the state's judicial system and handles appeals from the Court of Appeals as well as some other sorts of cases.
The Colorado judicial system also has a number of specialized courts with jurisdiction over particular types of matters, including juvenile courts, probate courts, and water courts.
What are Colorado Judgment Records?
Judgment records in Colorado contain information about the eventual outcome of a criminal or civil case filed in a court of competent jurisdiction. Courts typically issue judgments after considering case facts, after the jury enters a verdict, or at the litigants' request. In any way, these judgments become binding when the court clerk creates the judgment record. This also makes the document open for public inspections per the Colorado Open Records Act and the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act.
Persons who wish to obtain these records must visit the clerk's office and provide case information to facilitate a search. Furthermore, the individual must pay court administrative fees to cover the labor cost of retrieving the documents and making copies of the judgment record. These fees are payable by cash, money order, certified check, and credit card. Besides visiting the clerk's office, requesters can also submit online requests for colorado judgment records. The same case information will be required to identify and retrieve the record of interest, including the case number and the litigants' names.
Colorado judgment records contain varying information, depending on the case type. In any way, persons who obtain Colorado judgment records can expect to see the litigants' names, the judge's name, and judgment date. In addition, judgment records will contain the specific claims of the parties involved, as in civil cases, or the charges against the defendant, as in criminal cases, as well as the issued judgment.
What are Colorado Bankruptcy Records?
The term "Colorado Bankruptcy Records" relates to the collection of records of individuals filing for bankruptcy in the state. Colorado has a variety of rules for filing a new bankruptcy case. These details are available on the Court's website, under the "Filing a Case" part of the Guide for Debtors Filing Bankruptcy Without an Attorney and the chapter-specific checklists. Immediately following the filing of a bankruptcy case, a meeting is held to allow creditors and the trustee to interrogate the debtor(s) under oath. The Bankruptcy Code Section 341(a) requires that this gathering, dubbed the Meeting of Creditors, be presided over by the trustee, not the judge.
Colorado bankruptcy records, along with related documents such as Colorado liens, contracts, judgments, and title deeds, are typically maintained and disseminated by the state's courts and county clerks in their respective jurisdictions.
How to Find Bankruptcy Records in Colorado
In Colorado, bankruptcy records are often open to the public, making them accessible to anybody who is interested in viewing them. Bankruptcy records in Colorado can be accessed through the Colorado Bankruptcy Court website which allows individuals to search for bankruptcy cases filed in the state. However, individuals can contact the bankruptcy court directly to find records when they are unable to locate the records in question online. The court's contact information can be found on its website.
Another option for accessing bankruptcy is the PACER system, a national database that provides access to federal court records, including bankruptcy cases. Individuals will need to register for an account on the PACER website and pay a small fee to search for bankruptcy records. The cost of conducting a bankruptcy record search in Colorado through the PACER system charges a fee of $0.10 per page, with a maximum charge of $3.00 per document. However, there is no charge to search for cases or to view dockets.
Additionally, the requester searching for documents related to a bankruptcy filing is required to provide case information to search for specific bankruptcy records such as the debtor's name, case number, or filing date. This information can be obtained from the court or through the PACER system.
While bankruptcy records are generally public, there may be some restrictions on who can access certain types of information. Furthermore, the court may have sealed some bankruptcy cases, preventing the public from accessing them for security reasons.
Can You Look Up Court Cases in Colorado?
Yes, members of the public can perform a Colorado court case lookup for public case information. Access to trial court case information is available through the Docket Search tool on the Colorado judicial branch website. Note that confidential or redacted court records cannot be accessed through this tool. Only case information is available online. To look up actual court documents and files or obtain copies of court documents, a visit to the local courthouse will be necessary.
Rulings of Colorado Water Court cases may be accessed from the individual webpages of the court's divisions on the state judicial branch website. The pages of the seven divisions are:
Case information from the Denver Juvenile Court may be accessed by using the 2nd Judicial District/Denver County Docket Search tool on the Colorado Judicial Branch website. Requesters may select the Denver Juvenile Court from the Court options on the tool and provide the case number, party's last name/company name, party's first name, or attorney's bar number. Note that information provided via this tool is not extensive as access to most juvenile court records is restricted.
Colorado Court Case Lookup Exemptions
In general, public records, including court records, are available for examination by anybody at reasonable times under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), unless the statute specifically specifies otherwise. However, CORA does contain a number of exemptions that apply mostly to court records. These exceptions include, among others:
- Records that are privileged or confidential under state or federal law.
- Ongoing criminal investigations.
- Trade secrets or other proprietary information
- Personal privacy.
- Records protected by court order.
- Medical and Health Records.
- Attorney-Client Privilege.
- Protected Speech.
- Juvenile court records
Nonetheless, access to certain court records' exemption is possible under certain restrictions and conditions. Parties to the case, law enforcement, and government legal aid are among those who have access to these records.
What is a Court Docket in Colorado?
Colorado court dockets are the schedules or calendars containing information about cases being heard in a particular court. The docket typically includes:
- The names of the parties involved.
- The type of case.
- The date and time of the court hearing.
- The courtroom number.
The case's status, such as whether it is still pending, going to trial, or being settled, is also indicated on the docket. In Colorado, court dockets are used to inform parties, monitor the status of cases, disseminate information to the public, support court administration, and assist judicial scrutiny.
Colorado court dockets can be accessed online through the Colorado Judicial Branch's website. The state's district courts, county courts, and appellate courts' dockets are accessible on the website. Members of the public can search for dockets by case number, party name, or by the date of the court hearing.
Note that while court dockets are typically regarded as public records, the court may restrict or seal specific information for privacy or other reasons. It is also important to confirm the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in a docket.
What are Civil Courts and Small Claims in Colorado?
Colorado Small Claims Courts are divisions of the County Court. Small claims courts rules are more relaxed than in other courts as individuals are allowed to argue their own cases. These courts allow for quick resolution of civil matters in which the amounts in controversy do not exceed $7,500. Filing fees are also much lower in small claims courts when compared to other courts. No jury trials are held in small claims courts.
Colorado Small Claims Courts sometimes use magistrates in handling cases instead of judges. Typically, both parties to a small claims case cannot be represented by attorneys, except in specific situations. Discovery is not permitted in small claims court, that is, neither party has the legal obligation to furnish information requested by the other party. Colorado Small Claims Courts do not permit plaintiffs to file more than two claims per month or 18 claims per year. A small claims case is usually filed in the county where the defendant resides, works, has a place of business, or in the area where the incident disputed occurred.
Colorado civil cases may be heard in the County Courts and the District Courts. County Courts have a higher threshold for the amount in dispute in civil cases. The damages cap for Colorado County Courts is $15,000. Discovery is permitted in County Court cases if requested. There is no limit on the amount of damage that may be requested in the civil cases brought before the District Courts in Colorado.