the rural juror
October 11, 2007 8:40 PM   Subscribe

How can I find, online, a decision rendered recently by my county court.

I was called to jury duty recently and while I was not, in the end, selected as a juror, I did find myself intrigued by the case. I would like to know its outcome. I have reviewed court calendar [pdf] online and it appears the case is over. But I cannot find any documentation online as to the final judgement. Are such things made commonly available as public record online? I've looked here, and here... but I'm not sure what, if anything, they're telling me about the final rendition of the case. Am I missing something, or should I be looking elsewhere?

For the record, the case is Warren v. Walgreens and was tried during the first and second weeks of October 2007 in Coconino County Superior Court, Division II.
posted by RockyChrysler to Law & Government (11 answers total)
Call the registry and ask when the decision will be made. Sometimes it takes months. Within a few days of it being made, it should be published somewhere. They can give you an idea if it'll be published and sort of where you should look for that.
posted by Listener at 9:05 PM on October 11, 2007

Correction: with a jury, it should not be months, but still call the registry. It's their job to have this information for you.
posted by Listener at 9:06 PM on October 11, 2007

Not clear if it is over. The Court Calendar notes that it is a Jury Trial, day 5. Call the court clerk tomorrow morning to find out. You should be able to watch on Monday if it isn't over yet. The clerk can let you know what the result was. It is a public record. Since it was a jury trial, usually there will be no judicial opinion associated with it.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:09 PM on October 11, 2007

The court will likely have a paper file available - though few jurisdictions make them available electronically without a special subscription, if at all. Trial courts seldom publish detailed outcomes in any official or widely available fashion - as opposed to appellate courts. Court cases and documents filed are public information (consider e.g., I don't know about AZ or Coconino specifically, but most courts you simply go to the court clerk and ask to see the file for case number "xyz." As Listener suggests, calling the court (court clerk, registry, many jurisdictions have different names) will be your best bet.

It does appear that you've found the county's court docketing system and case detail docket. Although those systems don't provide much detail, they at least alert the public to that fact that hearings are coming up (the court calendar) and that an action has occurred in a case (case detail, sometimes called a "clerk's record") and that new information is available. You're not missing anything, it would just be seemingly too costly to electronically provide all documents.
posted by GPF at 9:13 PM on October 11, 2007

Seconding Ironmouth.
posted by sondrialiac at 9:37 PM on October 11, 2007

The second "here" link you gave is probably the case you want. You can sign up to get an email when there's a verdict. From the "New Search" page, click on the "Case Notification Sign In" link at the top of the page and make an account to follow this case. You want to sign up for "Disposition" news. There are more details about this service in their FAQ.
posted by stopgap at 9:41 PM on October 11, 2007

From the second link, it appears there's been no verdict yet.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that the case may settle, even at this late time. Sometimes a jury will ask a question of the court during deliberations which will indicate which direction the decision will go and the obviously losing party will settle there and then (a friend was a plaintiff in a case and the jury asked the court if they could award more than the requested amount--idiots didn't settle!). If that happens you aren't going to see much. The complaint will show up as being withdrawn at that point.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:59 PM on October 11, 2007

First Ironmouth is right--jury verdicts do not result in an opinion. Just a verdict sheet. Second, GPF is right--trial court opinions are almost never published. Third, trial level decisions are not binding upon anyone but the parties involved; other courts need pay them no attention.

Trial level decisions in the county where I practice, for instance, are not "published" ever. Parties get copies and the original (signed by the judge) goes into the court file. Anyone may go request the file, look at it and copy it, but it won't be scanned (or retyped) into a searchable online database because it's too much time and expense for a piece of paper which means nothing to anyone but the parties involved. You can call the judge's chambers, as well as the County clerk, or the office of one of the attorneys involved. In my experience, people are more than happy to fax you a copy of something that's been filed in any given case (like a decision).

I have only once been in a jurisdiction with a County reporter that published trial level opinions. Even with hundreds of cases pending at any given time (it was a small county), and coming to verdict regularly, the County reporter published only 2-3 opinions quarterly. The odds of a trial court opinion being circulated like that are very small.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:24 AM on October 12, 2007

The docket sheet will identify the lawyers in the case. Call one of them and ask. If the case was settled, she may not tell you how much was paid, but she may tell you that that was the result.

If the jury reached a verdict, it would be recorded as a judgment soon thereafter, unless the parties decided to settle after the verdict.
posted by yclipse at 5:12 AM on October 12, 2007

The ruhr jerr?
posted by YoungAmerican at 8:53 AM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

If all else fails, get the names of the lawyers on each side from the docket sheet and call up one of them.
posted by KRS at 11:49 AM on October 12, 2007

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