General Information About Montana Court Records and Laws
The judicial powers in the state of Montana are vested in a court system that features diverse venues and serves the unique interests and issues of the state. Unlike many other states in this country, Montana does not have an immediate appellate court. On the other hand, the court system does feature a water court, which hears matters associated with the vital resource.
In addition to the water court, the Montana court system also includes justice courts, district courts, city courts, workers' compensation court and municipal courts. The highest trial courts in the state are the district courts, which have general authority over all criminal and civil cases. District courts typically her cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of the lower courts in the state. Primarily, the district courts handle criminal cases, such as misdemeanors and felonies, as well as civil case for claims and probates. When it comes to cases that involve monetary damages against the state, the district courts of Montana have exclusive jurisdiction.
The justice courts in Montana hear both criminal and civil cases. Generally, the justice courts hear civil cases involving claims that are under $7,000. Additionally, the courts have a separate section for handling small claims. However, the justice courts do not hear probate cases.
The city courts have jurisdiction over cases that involve city ordinance violations. In addition, the city courts also share jurisdiction with the municipal courts of Montana.
Accessing Montana Court Records
Searching for Montana court records can be a huge task to take on that requires a great deal of time and energy, especially if you do not know how to get started. Fortunately, public access to Montana court records is governed by fundamental rights that are guaranteed by the Montana Constitution: The Public's Right To Know under Article II, Section 9; as well as the Right Of Individual Privacy under Article II, Section 10.
The Supreme Court in Montana began the process in 2005 to develop the rules and policies associated with electronic access to Montana court records. In fact, a task force was established in order to propose rules and examine the issue.
Public comment was accepted by the Supreme Court on the proposed rules, and court order AF 06-0377 adopted the Rules Relating to the Privacy and Public Access to Court Records in Montana. Such rules are often referred to as the Privacy Rules.
If you are looking for Montana court records, it is important that you understand the rules surrounding access to those records.
The Montana Court Administrator's Office is in charge of maintaining court records and providing a central database for information associated with the court system in the state of Montana. Some of the information that you can get from Montana court records obtained through the Court Administrator's Office include, court opinions, briefs, laws, rules, orders and public forms. The Court Administrator serves as the primary administrative person for the Montana judiciary.
If you are interested in finding Montana court records, you can use the search engine provided online one the state's official website in the section titled "Courts and Judicial Branch".
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