Alabama Public Records Information
Located in the southeastern region of the U.S., Alabama became the 22nd state on December 14, 1819. The state had a vital role in the civil war, and the capitol city of Montgomery was the confederate government’s first capital. Alabama early economy benefited from slave labor and cotton production. Today, Alabama’s economy is comprised of car production, agriculture, aerospace, mining of natural gas, coal and oil. Government services are third in the state’s economy.
Alabama has a population of 4.7 million people in 52,423 square miles making it the 30th largest in the U.S. The state is divided into 67 counties and 460 incorporated localities such as cities and towns.
Ratified in 1901, Alabama has the longest constitution in the world. The state is governed by 3 branches of government which includes the executive branch with an elected governor, attorney general, secretary of state, commissioners, treasurer and auditor. The state legislature is an assembly of a 105 member house of representatives and 35 members of the state senate. The judicial branch is the court system of the state and interprets the law with the top court being the supreme court of Alabama. Lower courts are in the appellate divisions, circuit trial courts for local issues and jurisdiction, probate and municipal courts involving smaller claims.
Alabama government is comprised of 67 counties, and has 460 incorporated cities and towns. Each level of government whether state, county or municipality, elects and appoints governing officials by its citizens. Certain government functions such as licensing drivers are the sole responsibility of the state whereas law enforcement can be local to counties and have an elected sheriff a county funded department or city level police. County courts in Alabama are broken down into various jurisdiction depending on venue and types of cases.
The state’s statutes provide the public’s right to government records. Similar to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Alabama gives its residents an open record government with few exceptions. This law allows citizens of Alabama (or anyone) to obtain, copy and inspect government records. The law also allows the public’s access to open meetings and deliberations by agencies. Government transparency lets its residents see government finances, elections and oversight of many other state and local operations. Freedom of information act requests are often made by reporters uncovering data that the Alabama public can greatly benefit from by exposing overspending and abuses by local and state officials. Students, residents and the general public also benefit greatly from open records for personal reasons.
Many record requests in Alabama are for personal documentation requests and historical research. A resident can conduct a background search by obtaining criminal records history checks from the Alabama criminal justice information center. Certified copies of Alabama births, deaths marriages and divorces are requested from the department of public health. Historical records of the state for genealogy and ancestry research are held in the Alabama department of archives and history. Alabama courts offer an online source to the public in obtaining criminal case information, civil records such as domestic relations, judgments, liens, traffic and small claims. Property details, taxes, real estate ownership and value can be easily obtained from the revenue commissioner of Alabama.
Court Records Information
The Alabama Court Access system is an electronic case search for criminal, civil, domestic relations, small claims, traffic and child support filings. Information of the search can show setting dates, court actions, party information, case action summary, financial data and images. Open to the public and attorneys, searches can be conducted by name or case number.
The Alabama district courts are the state's trial courts for torts, contracts, real property rights from $3,000 to 10,000, exclusive small claims jurisdiction of $3,000, criminal felony, misdemeanor, DWI or DUI, traffic, juvenile cases and preliminary hearings.
Probate courts have exclusive mental health, estate jurisdiction as well as real property rights and adoptions, misdemeanors, traffic, parking, and exclusive ordinance violation jurisdiction.
Circuit courts deal with torts, contracts, real property rights from $3,000 with no maximum, civil appeals jurisdiction, domestic relations, felony, misdemeanor, exclusive criminal appeals jurisdiction and juvenile issues.
Civil appeals court have mandatory jurisdiction in civil less than $50,000, domestic relations, administrative agency, juvenile, original proceeding cases. Court of criminal appeals have mandatory jurisdiction in capital criminal, criminal, juvenile, original proceeding, interlocutory decision cases.
The supreme court of Alabama has mandatory jurisdiction in civil over $50,000, administrative agency, disciplinary, original proceeding cases, discretionary jurisdiction in civil, noncapital criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, advisory opinion, original proceeding, interlocutory decision cases.
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