Maryland Public Records Information
Maryland became the 7th state in the US on April 28, 1788. Early economic growth came from tobacco and wheat crops. Today’s economy is comprised of agriculture such as poultry, dairy and corn. Coal mining and steel are 2 of Maryland’s major natural resources. Maryland is the country’s 42 largest state with 12,407 square miles of territory with a population of 5.7 million residents.
The state has executive, legislative and judicial branches with 24 counties including Baltimore. The county government consists of commissioners, councils, executives, courts and works to govern localities in the state. The state’s governor is the chief executive of the state with its own appointed cabinet. Cities provide residents with services such as fire and police departments, municipal courts for smaller disputes, city managers, clerks, city council, public works and other local agencies. Maryland has one of the least number of local governments in the U.S.
All of Maryland governing agencies local or state fall under the state’s open record laws named the Maryland Public Information Act. Government agencies under PIA laws have a duty to provide a requestor any records deemed public information. The statutes have limitations in place to protect against abuses such as identity theft. Maryland enacted open record laws in 1973, seven years after the federal FOIA enacted in 1966 to provide its citizens government transparency. Reporters, researchers and members of the public, without being required to provide a reason, can inspect and copy budget information, transactions, planning, employee pay and assembly meetings. The departments have 30 days to provide or reject the PIA request.
As all state agencies fall under this law, so do the records in any particular department. This includes records from courts where a member of the general public can inspect and copy cases, divorces, criminal trials and other records kept in all venues. Residents can request a criminal history search from the department of public safety and correctional services to conduct a background check on any other resident. Births, deaths and marriages occurring in Maryland can be obtained from the department of public health’s vital record division. The PIA can also be used for verification of professional licenses since it is state issued. The department of assessments and taxation online real property search will show the recorded owner’s name and the property’s details. Simple forms with how to instructions from Maryland’s agencies are available to the public online the help begin your search.
Court Records Information
The Maryland judiciary case database offers public access to court records. Online look up of divorces in family court cases. Find judgments, criminal trials and civil lawsuits occurring in courts statewide and from county to county. Instructions to look up UCC filings in Maryland can be found at the department of assessments and taxation website.
Maryland Orphans Court has jurisdiction to hears guardianships of minors and acts as the state’s probate court, (except where such cases are handled by circuit court in Montgomery and Harford counties).
District Courts hear torts, contracts of $2,500 to $25,000, real property rights, miscellaneous civil, small claims jurisdiction ($2,500). Criminal cases of felony, misdemeanor, domestic violence, exclusive traffic and ordinance violations.
Circuit Courts handle torts, contracts, real property rights from $2,500 with no maximum, estate, civil, mental health, civil appeals jurisdiction. Domestic relations. Felony, misdemeanor, miscellaneous criminal. Exclusive criminal appeals jurisdiction. Juvenile.
Court of Special Appeals have mandatory jurisdiction in civil, noncapital criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, interlocutory decision cases. Discretionary jurisdiction in civil, noncapital criminal, original proceeding cases.
Court of Appeals have mandatory jurisdiction in civil, capital criminal, criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, disciplinary, certified questions from federal courts, original proceeding, interlocutory decision cases. Discretionary jurisdiction in civil, noncapital criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, interlocutory decision cases.
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