Massachusetts State Court Administrator
Chief Justice for Administration & Management
Massachusetts’ unified trial court system organized seven departments under the supreme and appellate courts, and the Massachusetts State Court Administrator maintains state court records. The superior courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases but generally handle those cases beyond the jurisdiction of the other trial courts. By law, clerk magistrates and assistant clerks must facilitate the public’s access to court records. For both civil and criminal records, this includes an alphabetical index, dockets and case files.
Access to Massachusetts Court Records
Court records are maintained by the Massachusetts State Court Administrator and are available for free online. The information available includes case number, parties, dates, case type, parties attorneys, docket entries. Criminal records from any court can be obtained by mail from the CHSB (Criminal History Systems Board) for $30 with a CORI form. Other records are obtained through the clerk of the appropriate court. Court records prior to 1860 are available at the Massachusetts State Archives.
The supreme and appellate courts have a free online search, but the district courts do not. However, several independent agencies will search Massachusetts vital records for a fee.
Civil and criminal records are retained by the state for 5-20 years, with only a 2%-5% sample of records retained permanently. Independent agencies may retain older records.
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