Public Records Information
Missouri became a state in 1821 after the US purchased the land from France in 1809. The state's major industries are agriculture, food, manufacturing, aerospace and transportation. Missouri ranks 19th in size with 69,697 miles of territory and a population of almost 6 million people. It’s centralized location and proximity to the Mississippi river played a big role in the Missouri’s early economic growth. The state is the eight ranked in the U.S. for non-fuel mineral production.
Missouri has of 3 branches of government. The executive branch is comprised of elected officials such as the governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state auditor, treasurer, lieutenant governor and the state’s individual departments. The legislative branch consists of the state’s senate and its house of representatives. The judicial branch is the state’s courts system.
There are 114 counties, one independent city (St Louis) and 946 municipalities. County governments have elected officials such as the sheriff, commissioners, administrator, prosecutor, assessor, treasurer, revenue collector and coroner. Missouri was the first state to grant cities home rule in the U.S., where they can hold local elections for their mayor and council.
Missouri statutes adopted privacy laws in 1973. The state’s Sunshine Law is similar to the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) passed in 1966. Missourians are assured transparency and access to public records, operations, budgeting, elections and any other information that is in the custody of the state, county or local governments. This law also provides for government meetings to be open to the public. Open governments allows the residents of Missouri to obtain records for any purpose and does not bar anyone or entity with the exception of few restrictions. Guidelines vary from agency to agency, however, departments generally have the burden of showing why a certain record is not available to the public. These claims are challenged by reporters, private entities and in some cases individuals looking to uncover information held by agencies.
Missourians request records for reasons other than government scrutiny. As state and local governments are the custodian of records held in many of its agencies, their information is available for residents to request, view and copy. Documents such as birth, death, marriage and divorce information can be ordered from the Missouri department of health and human services. Anyone can conduct a background check by requesting a report from the state highway patrol’s criminal justice information services division. Cases and court proceedings, including criminal filings, lawsuits, judgments and liens can be obtained from the Missouri courts. State issued licenses to professionals such as medical personnel, accountants and contractors are searched by residents regularly to verify validity and status of good standing. Access to county records are also essential to residents such as assessors offices records. Property addresses, valuations, ownerships as well as other details are available to the general public from county to county. Locals can see government employee salaries such as city manager’s and council members’ pay.
Criminal records can be obtained by the general public from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. Obtain records of convictions, information of arrests within 30 days, charges filed by prosecutor pending final disposition from the courts and suspended imposition of sentence during probation. Criminal past of an individual is vital to pre employment screening or anyone looking to conduct background checks. Employers may require a history search as a condition to employment of new incoming personnel. Individuals also order background checks of themselves to see the information that can be found by others prior to applying for employment.
Public record requests by individuals in Missouri looking to uncover background information often begin with a people finder address query. Addresses, names and aliases are essential in finding out where to locate information under a person’s different names or businesses. List of residences located outside Missouri can point your investigation to look for records in other states necessary for a more complete background history report.
Court Records Information
The Missouri municipal court has jurisdiction over municipal traffic and ordinance violations. The Missouri circuit court has exclusive civil jurisdiction (including civil appeals) ($0/no maximum; associate division $0/$25,000). The circuit court also hears small claims matters of up to $3,000. The Missouri circuit court has exclusive domestic relations jurisdiction, exclusive criminal jurisdiction, and exclusive juvenile jurisdiction. The circuit court also hears traffic/other violation. The circuit court handles preliminary hearings. The Missouri court of appeals has mandatory jurisdiction in civil, noncapital criminal, capital criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, original proceeding, and interlocutory decision cases. The court of appeals has no discretionary jurisdiction. The Missouri supreme court has mandatory jurisdiction in civil, capital criminal, criminal, and original proceeding cases. The Missouri supreme court has discretionary jurisdiction in civil, noncapital criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, and original proceeding cases.
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