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COURT RECORDS FAQs
- How do I get an apostille on a document?
You may submit your request online using the Request and Payment Form for Copies and Name Searches. The clerk may only prepare apostilles for documents generated within the court, such as case documents, local rules, administrative orders, court plans, attorney admission certificates, etc. Copy and certification fees apply. (When an apostille is needed for a bankruptcy court document, contact their office first, to arrange for them to provide a certified copy of the document to the district clerk.)
To obtain an apostille on a document issued by another federal agency, see the website for the United States Department of State, Office of Authentications at http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/ or http://travel.state.gov/law/judicial/judicial_2545.html or contact them at (800) 333-4636.
To obtain an apostille on a document not issued by a federal agency, contact the appropriate authority designated within each state. In Texas, apostilles are obtained from the Texas Secretary of State. See their website: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/authfaqs.shtml or contact them at (512) 463-5705.
- What case records are available in your office?
Public Records that have been scanned in any case are available to be reviewed at any of our seven divisional offices.
To locate a case number or party name for cases filed since 1990 in the Northern District of Texas, you may search on a public terminal in any divisional office. For cases opened between 1981-1990, you may search the party microfiche in any division. For cases opened between 1957-1981, you will need to search the party microfiche records in the division where the case was filed.
If you need to view or copy a case that has been archived, the Clerk’s Office will give you necessary information to contact the Federal Records Center (FRC) in Fort Worth (817/831-5620). Please see Federal Records Center information. You may make an appointment with the FRC to view a file or ask to have a pleading faxed or mailed to you. You may also have the Clerk's Office request the file for viewing for a fee. Please see Fee Schedule for applicable fee.
- How do I get a docket sheet, pleading, etc. from an archived case?
Imaged docket sheets are available through either microfiche or on a public terminal for cases from 1957-1990. You can view all docket entries from 1990 to present through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service or on the public terminals in each divisional office. To subscribe to PACER, please call 1-800-676-6856. If you need to see an original docket sheet, please contact the Clerk's Office to obtain the accession and location number, then contact the Federal Records Center to view the docket sheet.
- How far back do the case and party microfiche records go?
Information on party names for cases opened between 1957-1981 are only available on microfiche in the division where the case was opened. Party microfiche for cases opened from 1981-1990 are available in all divisions. Computer records begin in 1990. The public terminals in each division have a database for civil cases filed after 1989 and criminal cases filed after 1992.
- How far back does a certificate of search go?
A Certificate of Name Search may be provided for a search of this court's civil and criminal records dating back to 1/1/1957. Specifying a type of record (i.e., civil or criminal) or a shortened length of search (e.g., a 10 year search, a 15 year search, etc.) will reduce the time it takes to complete your search. For a criminal search, you may wish to provide the person's date of birth and/or last four digits of the social security number for comparison purposes, in case we find a conviction for another person who has the same last name. Any information about the case number, year or division where the case was filed will be helpful.
You may submit your request online using the Request and Payment Form for Copies and Name Searches. Or, you may mail your request to any divisional office. If mailing your request, please send the request in writing with a check in the amount of $30.00 (made payable to “Clerk, U.S. District Court”).
If you need to view or copy a case file that has been archived, the Clerk’s Office will give you necessary information to contact the Federal Records Center (FRC) in Fort Worth (817/831-5620). Please see Federal Records Center information. You may make an appointment with the FRC to view a file or ask to have a pleading faxed or mailed to you. You may also have the Clerk's Office request the file for viewing for a fee. Please see Fee Schedule for the applicable fee.
- Can I look up cases for the whole Northern District of Texas in your division?
Our computer records cover the entire district. Microfiche records for parties in cases opened between 1981-1990 are available in each division for the entire district. These microfiche are divided into divisions, so a complete search will entail checking each division for civil, criminal, and miscellaneous cases. The microfiche of party information for cases opened between 1957-1981 are available only in the division where the case was opened. The court can conduct your search for a processing fee. Please see Fee Schedule for the applicable fee.
- How do I get a transcript?
See Procedures for Requesting Transcripts. If a transcript is on file in the Clerk’s Office, you may view it in our office if the transcript is within the 90 day period following electronic filing or purchase a copy from the court reporter, or access it via PACER 90 days after it was electronically filed, unless a redacted version was filed (in which case, the same instructions apply for a redacted version).
- May I retrieve a copy of a sealed document?
A sealed document is only accessible to the attorney who filed it. An attorney who filed a sealed document must present a picture identification and state bar card to the Clerk's Office before the document will be made accessible to him/her. If the sealed document was electronically noticed to an attorney or party who can no longer access that document, the clerk can regenerate electronic notice of the document to any recipient authorized to receive a copy. Call the ECF Help Desk for assistance.
- How do I obtain a nationwide criminal check?
An FBI Identification Record, often referred to as a Criminal History Record, is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI. If the fingerprints are related to an arrest, the Identification Record includes the name of the agency that submitted the information, the date of arrest charge, and the disposition of the arrest, if known to the FBI. This includes state and federal charges.
To find out how to obtain this record, contact the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Service at 304-625-5590. For more information, visit the CJIS website at http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm