Details of a case?
January 10, 2008 1:53 PM   Subscribe

LawFilter: So I have a name, birthday, and dates of conviction -- How can I find the details of the case(s)? I assume I know the state. This information was presented on a state's sex offenders list and I would like more details as to the case.
posted by SirStan to Law & Government (11 answers total)
I don't know about the state you're thinking of, but in Maryland we have the Maryland Judiciary Case Search you can check. I would look for something similar in your target state.
posted by EmptyK at 2:04 PM on January 10, 2008

Response by poster: The state would be Vermont. A search for fname.lname at google has no matches.
posted by SirStan at 2:04 PM on January 10, 2008

I don't think that there is even a website At any rate, check here.
posted by amro at 2:18 PM on January 10, 2008

There is a site "," but it doesn't appear at a quick glance that Vermont state courts have their court dockets or documents on line.

You could pay for access to WestLaw or Lexis (legal databases), but they can be expensive. And I'm not sure whether they'd be able to provide all that you're looking for. Alternatively, you'll probably have to go to the courthouse to pull the file.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:27 PM on January 10, 2008

Check to see if your library has access to WestLaw or Lexis. Some offer limited/single-use for patrons.
posted by unixrat at 2:36 PM on January 10, 2008

The registry should list the county, in which case you call the court clerk for the county. They can tell you how to find out more. Lexis doesn't really cover state district courts. Some of that stuff is on databases, but usually you have to buy access. For a one shot deal like this the court clerk is your best bet. If you don't know the county, how many can there be in Vermont? Call them all.
posted by caddis at 3:19 PM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Stan: can't a nameless close lawyer friend of yours advise you?
posted by terrapin at 3:37 PM on January 10, 2008

A call to the Vermont Department of Corrections couldn't hurt. I'd probably start with Victim Services and go from there. I'd be surprised if they have much detailed information online.

Too, perhaps the prosecuting attorney's office may be of assistance. I'm not certain how Vermont prosecutes cases nor the case you're interested in specifically - by municipal, county, or state offices. They have a file somewhere - and more than likely it exists mostly on paper. Find the local jurisdiction the case came from and you'll know which doors to start knocking on - literally. As caddis suggests, that might not be very many.
posted by GPF at 8:17 PM on January 10, 2008

I have the ability through my school to get into LexisNexis, if that is what everyone is saying may help. If you want to give me the information I could check for you. Just email me if you want me to check, it should show up in my profile.
posted by slc228 at 8:26 PM on January 10, 2008

Wow. Vermont's public access plan is apparently to provide some cases online, and then to create a viper's nest of useless information about how to get there. Here's what you're interested in, though: " At this time, no opinions from Vermont’s criminal and family courts are included." Vermont hates you, it seems.

But for future reference, here are some of the public access pages for Vermont: That's all the VT-specific information I could find. For everyone else, there are a couple of good places to check out your state's electronic records access. has an state-by-state index of electronic access policies and links. has a state index of electronic access, too. also has federal information, too. Which, by the way, if anybody's eager to get federal trial documents (complaints, answers, motions, orders), check out PACER, which will let you view and print all that stuff for nominal fees. Access to federal opinions is improving, too, with some new players moving in to provide case law for free. Besides, which is great, there's It's got a lot of data, but it's messy as hell.

Probably in response to the burgeoning amount of free information out there, LexisNexis has come out with a free case law service that goes back 5 years for state and federal cases. There are a few gaps, but they are surprisingly small. The lexisONE services also allows you to get one document at a time. You can search a bunch of sources for free, although you have to pay to access a particular result - like, $9 for a case, $3 for a news article. I'd cruise for citations and then hit the library, honestly, but sometimes maybe a case is worth 9 bucks. They have daily/weekly pricing, too, the high-end of which is $80 or $130, respectively. But if you've got the money and you really want to know something, it's not a bad option.
posted by averyoldworld at 6:26 AM on January 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

Crazy post brought to you by Too Much Coffee (tm).
posted by averyoldworld at 6:27 AM on January 11, 2008

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