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What are Oregon Criminal Court Records?
Oregon criminal court records refer to all records and related documents generated and maintained by the state judiciary containing information regarding criminal court proceedings. These records are created to provide an objective account of legal processes and typically feature details of the criminal offense in prosecution, court motions and actions, motion arguments, filed evidence and court appearances. Pursuant to Oregon public record laws, criminal court records may be accessed by interested members of the public upon request. However, where the record of interest is sealed or has been deemed confidential, interested requestors may be required to meet specific eligibility requirements in order to access the record.
Understanding Oregon’s Criminal Court System
The Oregon Judicial Department operates as an independent arm of the state government and is tasked with overseeing the operations of the state courts. Oregon’s court system consists:
- The Oregon Supreme Court
Most criminal cases in the state of Oregon are initiated in the state circuit courts which are the state’s court of general jurisdiction. Within Oregon’s 36 counties, there are 27 circuit court districts. The courts have jurisdiction over most criminal cases except those pertaining to juveniles. Where the circuit court's final verdict regarding a criminal case is unsatisfactory to the plaintiff or defendant, the Oregon Court of Appeals hears appellate petitions except for death penalty cases which are exclusively heard by the Oregon Supreme Court. Decisions made by the intermediate appellate courts may be subject to review by the Oregon Supreme Court where dissatisfied parties appeal the decision. In matters of Oregon state law, the Supreme Court’s decision is final and binding although appeals may sometimes be sought at the Federal level.
What’s Included in an Oregon Criminal Court Record?
Oregon criminal court records primarily contain court case information as well as details of the court's litigation processes and revisions made by appellate courts. While the information contained in criminal court records generally varies depending on the case and the judicial district where the case was heard, most court records are relatively similar. As such, records will contain details of the crime, relevant information of the plaintiff and defendant and court trial transcripts detailing the court hearing. Criminal court records mostly indicate:
- The personal information of the plaintiff and defendant which includes their contact information and addresses
- Documents pertaining to the physical or psychological evaluation of the defendant.
- All warrants issued for the search or arrest of persons involved in the case and any related information
- Details of the crime being prosecuted -- including the legal severity of the offense (felony or misdemeanor)
- Documents demonstrating the relevance of related professionals, witnesses and proof of their competence and filed evidence presented by either plaintiff or defendant
- Information regarding the indictment, court summons and the plea of the offender.
- Court trial transcripts and court dockets featuring court motions and motion arguments, court actions, appearances as well as other miscellaneous documents
- Information regarding the court's final judgment including any penalties such as jail terms, probation, fines, community service sentences, etc.
Obtaining Oregon Criminal Court Records
Oregon state residents may obtain and view copies of criminal court records according to the provisions of Oregon public record laws. However, given that legal processes are sometimes unique to the various judicial districts, the requirements for accessing these records may vary from court to court. Notwithstanding, most records can be accessed using three primary channels
- Using state-managed, locally-operated or privately owned online resources
- By making in-person requests to the record custodian
- By sending written mail-in requests to the courthouse where the case was heard.
How Do I Find Oregon Criminal Court Records Online?
The Oregon Judicial Department website serves as a statewide resource for tools, indexes and online repositories offered by the Oregon state judiciary for public use. The OJD website features a variety of options for accessing criminal court records online. While various judicial districts maintain online resources for obtaining records relevant to their individual resources, the options available on the OJD allows users to conduct state-wide searches for records. However, given the public accessibility of these resources, the records available online typically exclude confidential or sealed information. Oregon’s online resources include:
The Oregon Judicial Case Information Network (OJCIN) serves as the official website and register of court information (including actions and verdicts) for the Oregon Judicial Department. As such the OJCIN OnLine encompasses both the Oregon eCourt Case Information Network and the Appellate Case Management System (OECI and ACMS) which are subscription-based resources for accessing criminal court case information from the state circuit and appellate courts. To use either of the resources, interested persons are required to open an OJCIN subscription account. Subscribed users will be issued unique login information with which they can access the OECI or ACMS.
OJCIN OnLine Sign Up
1163 State Street
Generally, the monthly subscription fee applicable to a registered user varies, depending on the subscriber. Details of the applicable fees can be obtained using the Fee Schedule. The indicated fees may be subject to revisions.
Upon completing the OJCIN sign-up process, registered users may proceed to use the OECI or ACMS portal to access court case information. To access either portal, users are required to provide their unique login information. While the OECI can be used to access records managed by Oregon circuit courts, the ACMS provides records access for Oregon Appellate Courts and the state Supreme Court.
These resources can be used for electronically filing, distributing and serving criminal court case documents filed in Oregon circuit and appellate courts. Access to these portals are restricted persons licensed by the Oregon State Bar and authorized to practice law within the jurisdiction of the state. Interested and eligible persons are required to register and obtain the login information needed to access either portal.
Obtaining Oregon Criminal Court Records For Free
The Oregon Judicial Department provides free online access to criminal case information via the Online Records Search feature also provided on the OJD website. While the records available on this repository are not authenticated, the displayed records are public information and may be used for a variety of purposes, excluding official functions. The register may be accessed remotely or using public terminals available at Oregon state courthouses. Intending users are advised to study the Online Record Search User Guide for information regarding the use of the register.
Record searches can be conducted using the Smart Search Tool which requires that the requestor furnish the engine with some search criteria. Users may provide the number of the desired record or the full name of the subjects. Searches may be conducted at no cost and without any sign-in or pre-registration. The results available through the register includes basic case information, limited information regarding the parties involved, relevant event entries, and dispositions. Full court case information may only be available at the court kiosk in most circuit courts or by subscribing to OJCIN Online.
In addition to the above, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
- Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels
How Do I Access Oregon Criminal Court Records in Person?
Interested persons may view or obtain copies of Oregon criminal court records by making in-person queries to the designated record custodian. All Oregon in-person record requests may proceed thus:
Locate the Record Custodian
Following the provisions of the Oregon state judicial system, criminal court records are generated and disseminated by various court clerks of trial and appellate courts. To make an in-person record request, the requestor must proceed by locating the judicial district and the court in which the trial or appellate review was heard.
Records are best found by determining the most current status of the hearing. Where the trial has been held and a judgment issued, the record will most likely be in the custody of the circuit court clerk of the judicial district in which the crime was recorded. Circuit court clerks can be located using the OJB Find A Court Tool. This can also be used to obtain address and contact information of other courts within the state except those excluded from Oregon’s judicial system.
If a review is ongoing or has been issued by an appellate court, the requesting party might locate the record in the Oregon Court of Appeals or the State Supreme Court. However, the severity of the crime may also impact the records custodian, since selected courts do not have jurisdiction to hear some felonies or federal offenses.
Gather The Required Information
Upon verifying the location of the record or retrieving the contact information of the record custodian, requestors are advised to contact the office of the court clerk for details of the record retrieval process of the judicial district.
While most jurisdiction utilize independent operational procedures and as such, have distinct record retrieval requirements, requestors are usually required to provide all information required to facilitate record searches. The required information typically includes the full name of the offender and complainer as well as the case file number, docket number or appellate file number of the record. Additionally, requestors may be required to present information regarding the offense, the place and day of its occurrence, and the names of the legal representatives of one or both parties involved in the case.
Request the Record
All in-person requests can be made to the office of the court clerk of the appropriate court during official working hours. In some cases, requestors may be allowed to self-serve using public access terminals available in these courthouses. Otherwise, the requesting party may be provided with a request form on which they will be required to indicate the desired record along with other relevant information. Requestors are generally advised to schedule their visit to the courthouse and confirm their appointment beforehand.
Meet Identification & Fee Requirements
Upon requesting a record, requesters may be required to present a government-issued photo ID in order to confirm their eligibility to access a record. In addition, persons who are requesting a record that has been deemed confidential or sealed by court order may also require a court order/subpoena authorizing their access to the record of interest. Where a government-issued ID is not available, other forms of identification may be accessible. However, this should be confirmed while scheduling the courthouse visit.
Requestors may also be charged a standard search or copy fee depending on the record requested and copies required.
How Do I Access Oregon Criminal Court Records via Mail?
The Oregon state judiciary allows for interested parties to make mail-in requests for criminal court records and court case information from various court clerks. Requests can be made via U.S. mail provided the record (or information) of interest is non-confidential. The requirements for obtaining criminal court records may vary depending on the record custodian, the case type or severity and the judicial district in which the case was heard. However, requestors are generally required to prepare a written request which should contain the following:
- General court case information
- The bio-data and contact information of the requesting party
- The full name of one or both of the parties involved (plaintiff or defendant)
- The case file number, docket number or appellate number of the desired record
- The names and/or state bar number of any of the legal representatives involved.
- The type of record required including the place and date it was filed
Most record custodians have additional requirements, excluding the aforementioned details. As such, requesters are advised to contact the court clerk's office for information before preparing the request. In most cases, the requesting party may be required to send a written request along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope as well as a cheque or money order payment to cover any applicable fees, and photocopy of the requestor's government-issued ID. Where these are required, the requests may not be processed until all requirements are met.
Are all Oregon Criminal Court Records Public?
While the state of Oregon supports the right of the public to view court records or court case information, there are exemptions to this rule provided by ORS 192.345 and 192.355. Following the statutes, the right to public access of Oregon criminal court records is not absolute and while records are deemed ‘open’ may be accessed by interested members of the public, others records which are sealed by court order, confidential or restricted may be either inaccessible or available to selected persons.
Most court records and court case information accessible electronically are public records and are usually maintained in dockets. The electronically accessible records include details of the offense in prosecution and general court case information as well as court actions, motions, orders, motion arguments, court appearances, dispositions as well as the court's final verdict including penalties. Also publicly available are court schedules, calendars and minutes. However, the subject(s) of a court record may petition to seal a public record or public information.
What Records are Automatically Sealed by Oregon State Statutes?
According to the exemptions indicated in ORS 192.345 and 192.355 of Oregon’s public record laws, disclosure of selected records is prohibited. These restricted or confidential records are listed in the catalog of public record exemptions featured on the Oregon Department of Justice website. While some records are sealed following a petition by the subject(s) of the record, the following are confidential court record information and may be automatically sealed according to the provisions of the aforementioned statutes:
- The personal identifying information of selected persons
- Jury source lists as well as identifying and contact information or juror
- The identity of a minor victim of sexual abuse (usually ordered by a court)
- Identifying and contact information of recipients of restitution in criminal actions
- Child support records, information establishing paternity
- Selected reports from the division of child support
- Relevant records regarding name changes, sex changes and specific information pertaining to vunerable adults.
Can I Access Oregon Sealed Criminal Court Records?
Yes. However, access to sealed criminal court records in Oregon depends primarily on the authority of the requesting party. Given the provisions of Oregon’s public records laws, some sealed information may not be accessed. However, in selected cases, interested persons may challenge the court's restriction. Generally, access to sealed or confidential records requires that the requestor present a court-issued order or subpoena authorizing the request. These are issued by Oregon licensed judges, usually in cases where the requested record(s) have been proven to be legally or financially relevant. In some cases, the requesting party will also be required to obtain written authorization from the subject(s) of the record. All requests for sealed or confidential records must be made in-person to the office of the record custodian as these records are generally not accessible via the state’s online databases.
Are Oregon Juvenile Criminal Records Open to the Public?
Oregon juvenile court records are automatically deemed confidential by state statutes and are only released in the event the court consents to its dissemination. However, selected information regarding the record is generally not confidential. This includes the basis for the adjudication, information regarding the court and court schedules, details of the severity of the offense and the information of the juvenile's parents. The following persons may view or obtain copies of juvenile court records:
- The juvenile as well as their parent(s) or legal guardian
- Legal representative of the child and juvenile court personnel
- Child protective services and social services providers
- Relevant and authorized persons in the educational system
- The plaintiff, their parents and legal representative(s)
While some juvenile court records may be set aside under specific circumstances, automatically eliminating any legal impact of the adjudication, some offenses are excluded from being set aside or expunged. This includes records pertaining to offenses that may be categorized as Class A and B felonies.
How to Find Oregon Criminal History Records
Criminal court records may not be substituted for criminal history records or background check information. This is because, while court records are a condensed summary of litigation processes of the state judiciary, criminal history records are the lifelong history of criminal offenses committed by persons within the jurisdiction of the state. Criminal history records are maintained by the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division and are available to eligible members of the public through the state’s Open Record Program.
While interested persons can obtain full personal criminal history information, persons requesting the criminal history information of someone else will only receive limited information. According to the provisions of Oregon state laws, requesters (of criminal history on someone else) will be provided with a record of convictions and arrests which are less than a year old with no consequent dismissal or acquittal. The information available to the public includes details of arrests, including the dates, places, and types of offenses committed, the arresting agency and disposition.
To request a record, interested persons are required to download and complete the Request Own Records form or Request Another Person's Record form. Completed applications must be delivered along with any indicated fees to:
Oregon State Police – CJIS Division
P O Box 4395
Portland, OR 97208-4395
Phone (503) 378-3070