Missouri Court Records Lookup

The following is for information purposes only

Missouri Court Records

What types of courts are in Missouri?

The courts in Missouri cover crimes committed at the state, federal, and county levels. They have a three-tier system, which includes trial courts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the governing body with the most power, overseeing cases and the judges that hear them.

The Missouri trial courts include circuit courts and municipal courts, both of which are responsible for small claims, civil and criminal crimes, and issues dealing with family. All of the appeals that come from these courts are heard by the Court of Appeals, which has the power to overturn verdicts. In some cases, appeals go on to the Supreme Court, though this doesn't happen often.

How are court cases in Missouri managed?

The Supreme Court has the highest governing power in the state, overseeing the United States Statute in the state and ensuring that all courts abide by it. They also oversee the state's revenue laws and even oversee cases that are impending the death penalty are handled correctly. They do not hear too many cases but are often working at overseeing operations across other courts.

They have the power to overhear, overturn, and appeal decisions made in all of the lower courts, including municipal and circuit courts too. Additionally, they are the court responsible for ensuring that judges and attorneys are acting lawfully and can take actions to revoke powers if there is a reason to do so. When there is an issue with a judge, it is the Supreme Court Justices that decide whether or not they continue to serve or not.

Which trial courts are in Missouri?

Circuit courts

Missouri has a total of 46 judicial courts, all of which have general jurisdiction. Most of the civil and criminal cases in the states are heard in circuit courts, which makes them one of the most active courts in the state. They deal with matters including:

  • Small claims up to $5,000 and associate cases that go up to $25,000
  • Domestic relations, criminal cases, juvenile cases
  • Traffic cases and other violations that take place within the state

Municipal courts

In the majority of cases, municipal courts have more governing power over the circuit courts. While the circuit courts here are mostly jury trials, the municipal courts generally deal with small issues that do not require a jury including traffic violations and other violations. The majority of cases heard by the municipal courts do not involve a jury and involve the judge that's overseeing the hearing to make the final decision.

Family court

Though Family court is considered a circuit court, they preside over circuit courts when the cases involve particular hearings dealing with family matters. Counties with family courts provide jurisdiction to hear cases involving juveniles, divorce, legal separations, abuse of adults or children, and alimony. Most of these cases do not involve an official trial and do not involve a jury. Instead, they involve negotiations and a presiding judge will make the final decision.

Juvenile Court

In addition to family court, some counties in Missouri have juvenile court. The juvenile court does not only deal with hearings that involve minors convicted of crimes but also includes cases that deal with childcare and treatment. Juvenile matters are not presented in front of a jury and are usually heard by a judge who rules after preceding. Cases involve negotiations between attorneys and the judge makes the final decision based on what's best for the child.

What are the federal district courts in Missouri?

There are two federal district courts in Missouri, including:

  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri – These branches are found in St. Louis, Hannibal, and Cape Girardeau. There are currently nine Supreme Court justices serving, all of which were appointed by the president of the United States. The Eastern District has jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases that involve federal crimes in the eastern part of the state, which includes counties like Franklin, Gasconade, and Dent.
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri – In the Western District, there are seven active judges, all of which were appointed by the president of the United States. Their jurisdiction covers the Western part of the state, including counties like Bates, Carroll, and Jackson. They deal with all criminal and civil cases that involve federal crimes.

Both courts are on the federal level and therefore must process appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. All of the judges that serve on the federal court serve life terms and can assign tasks to magistrate judges that reside in other courts.

How to find electronic court records in Missouri

When it comes to court records, all of those that deal with any governing body within the state are made available for access to the general public. As far as those that involve individuals, many are open to the public as well, though there are a few cases where they are not.

In some cases, the court that hears and rules the case has the right to seal records, especially if it deals with the sensitive subject matter. Courts are not allowed to release information about minors and are not allowed to share information that is sensitive to a company's or individual's wellbeing.

For records that are accessible to the general public, those interested can go to Missouri Courts Online Directory, entering the case number, the names of the parties involved, or the attorneys that negotiated the cases. Additionally, information can be requested by visiting the court where the case was heard, providing the clerk with the document and the information requested so that they can look it up for you.