Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records
Are Idaho Court Records Public?
Court records in Idaho are considered public records and may be inspected and copied by the public. Idaho court records contain information about civil and criminal trials held in the local, county, and state courts. While most details in the state's court records are public, the agencies keeping them have the right to expunge or seal certain information if they are exempted from public disclosure. The Idaho Public Records Act stipulates that any individual can access public records without a statement of purpose unless categorized as exempt from public disclosure.
All Idaho public agencies and government branches, except the state militia, are subject to the Idaho Public Records Act. Public record custodians must grant records requests in not more than ten days after application if available and not exempt from disclosure. An individual whose public record request gets denied has 180 days to appeal the rejection and another 42 days if refused at the first appeal. Court records that may constitute an invasion of privacy, such as financial and medical records, are usually not available for public disclosure. Also, court records that would reveal information on law enforcement investigations, current and previous public employees, juvenile records, prisoner records, and trade secrets are typical exceptions to the law. Idaho joined the league of public record states in 1990 when the Idaho Public Records Act was established.
How Do I Find Court Records in Idaho?
The first step to take when trying to obtain court records in Idaho is to fetch the needed information to facilitate the search. Members of the public can find their court records of interest by checking the Idaho iCourt Portal, an online records site for Idaho courts. The Portal provides public access to court records for all 44 counties from 1995 to date. Some information for older cases may also be obtainable on the site. The Portal is updated at least hourly to register changes made to court records during the working day.
Court records are available based on the Idaho Court Administrative Rule (ICAR) 32. Information such as addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, and identification numbers are not public on the iCourt Portal. The Idaho Supreme Court may, however, allow access to confidential court records for local, state, and federal agents in the course of their official duties. Such access is called extended access.
Interested persons can search and filter the iCourt Portal for court records in Idaho on the Smart Search tab. To find a court record using the smart search, a requestor should enter the record number or name in the search field and hit the submit button. The name arrangement should be in Last, First Middle Suffix format. The advanced filtering options on the site helps to narrow a record search. The various search options include:
This tab provides filtering by location (counties) and search type. Select the drop-down menu buttons for appropriate filtering options.
Party Search Criteria
Here, requestors can search by party name, nickname, business name, and parameters that sound like the record they want. They may filter by FBI number, SO number, and booking number.
Case Search Criteria
The case search criteria allow record filtering by case type, case status, file date start, file date end, and judicial officer. They are all drop-down menus with various options.
Protection Order Filters
The filter options (all drop-down menus) in protection order include order type, order status, order issued from (date), and order issued to (date).
Members of the general public or media do not need to register on the Portal to find court records. Registration is mandated only for persons who request extended access. The iCourt Portal provides public access to the following if they exist in electronic form:
- The chronological case summary of events
- Listing of new filings
- Court proceedings calendars or dockets, including case numbers, locations of hearings, and the date and time of hearings.
- Litigant/Party indexes to cases filed with courts.
Court records in Idaho are also available at the county courthouses. Interested persons may obtain them in person or contact the clerks of the courthouses for inquiries on other retrieval options.
Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:
- The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
- The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.
While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government-sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.
How Do Idaho Courts work?
The State of Idaho Judicial Branch consists of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, District Court, and the Magistrate Court. There are seven judicial districts in Idaho. The Supreme Court has five justices who are elected on a non-partisan ballot for a 6-year term. Their terms are staggered to maintain continuity of the court. A Chief Justice is selected by a majority from among the five to serve for four years. The Idaho Supreme Court is the state's court of last resort with jurisdiction over appeals from the District Court. It also has the authority to hear appeals of orders from the Public Utilities Commission, Idaho Industrial Commission, and the Industrial Accident Commission. The Supreme Court's original jurisdiction is to hear cases against the state and to issue writs of review, mandamus, prohibition, and habeas corpus, and all orders necessary to practice its appellate duties. It may equally choose to review decisions of the Court of Appeals.
The Idaho Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in the state. It hears cases assigned to it by the Idaho Supreme Court. However, appeals from the Industrial Commission, Public Utilities Commission, and capital murder convictions must be heard by the Supreme Court and are never assigned to the Court of Appeals. Four judges, who are elected in non-partisan elections, sit on the Idaho Court of Appeals for a renewable six-year office term. One of these four serve as the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. A dissatisfied person may petition the Idaho Supreme Court to review a Court of Appeals ruling, but the Supreme Court is not required to grant such a request. The Court of Appeals judges sit in a panel of three to hear cases.
There are 42 Judges of the Idaho District Court, who are elected by voters in the district to four-year terms. The court is a trial court of general jurisdiction and hears felony criminal cases and civil actions with claims of more than $10,000. The District Court may also hear appeals of decisions in the Magistrate Court. Additionally, they sit on domestic relation cases and decide on situations where inmates question their convictions. The Idaho Magistrate Court, a division of the District Court, hears civil cases when the amount in dispute is $10,000 or less. It also hears divorce proceedings, probate matters, criminal misdemeanors, juvenile proceedings, and infractions cases. The Idaho Magistrate Court has seven divisions, each serving different counties.
What are Civil Court and Small Claims in Idaho?
The Idaho District Court hears civil actions with a disputed amount above $10,000, while its Magistrate Division hears small claims cases. In Idaho small claims cases, plaintiffs cannot seek more than $5,000. Small Claims Court is an inexpensive way to recover one's money or asset in another person's possession. The processes are informal, and attorneys are not allowed in small claims proceedings. Small claims cases are not as intimidating as those decided by a jury. Most of the suits are decided by judges. Any individual or business in Idaho may file a small claims suit even if the claim is slightly higher than $5,000. They may limit it to take advantage of the streamlined procedure of the Small Claims Court.
In Idaho, the filing fee for a small claims case seeking up to $1,500 is $30. A plaintiff will pay $50 to file a claim for a suit asking for over $1,500 and up to $5000. The State of Idaho Judicial Branch provides the Idaho Rules on Small claims Actions (IRSCA) and small claims guides and forms. Entities and persons who can file small claims cases in Idaho include:
- Business partners
- Bill collection agencies
- Government agencies
- Married couples in Coeur D Alene Court
- Parties in a motor vehicle accident
- Businesses and corporations
What are Appeals and Court Limits in Idaho?
An appeal requests a higher court to review a trial court's decision and determine whether the trial court was right in its procedure. Citizens of Idaho and other persons in the state may appeal the decision of a trial court if unsatisfied with such a decision in an attempt to get a favorable ruling. Anyone who loses at trial can file an appeal without the help of a legal representative. However, the court will not give special considerations to such appellants, and frankly, the appeal process is rigorous. An appellant should hire the service of an attorney to help with the appeal process.
The State of Idaho has two appellate courts. These are the Idaho Supreme Court and the Idaho Court of appeals. Each of these courts has different suits assigned to them from the state's trial courts. The two trial courts in Idaho are the Idaho District Court and the Magistrate Court. Procedures of the appellate courts are different from those of the District and Magistrate Courts.
The Idaho Supreme Court hears appeals from the final rulings of the Idaho District Court and orders of the Industrial Commission and the Public Utilities Commission. It may also examine decisions of the Court of Appeals upon petition of parties involved in a case. The losing party in a trial court attempts to convince the Supreme Court justices that the decision at a lower court is inaccurate. In contrast, the defendant (winning party from the trial court) will argue in favor of the lower court rulings. An appellant may petition the Idaho Supreme Court to examine a Court of Appeals decision, but the Supreme Court has the sole discretion to grant or reject such a petition. Most cases heard at the Idaho Court of Appeals are assigned to it by the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court does not allocate capital murder convictions and suits from the Public Utilities Commission or Industrial Commission to the Court of Appeals. These cases are under the original purview of the Supreme Court.
To file a notice of appeal in Idaho, the trial court must have finished with a case and issued a final decision. An appeal notice should be filed with the trial court, stating the issues to be argued at the appellate court. Although the filing fee for a notice of appeal may be waived for some cases, the usual amount is $86, and there is no appellate filing fee for criminal cases. Other costs like transcript fees and those payable to the clerk for preparing records of trial court documents also apply. In Idaho, a notice of appeal should be filed within 42 days from the day a lower court issued and entered its judgment.
What are Idaho bankruptcy records?
Idaho Bankruptcy records are compiled, maintained and handled by the federal courts. Bankruptcy allows debtors who are unable to repay their creditors to start over financially. In the state of Idaho, debtors file petitions under the Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy procedures. Chapter 7 liquidates your assets to pay creditors, but Chapter 13 allows debtors to put up a repayment plan while keeping their assets.
How Do I Find My Case Number in Idaho?
When filing a case at the courthouse, a unique reference known as a case number is assigned to differentiate it from other lawsuits. It facilitates easy documentation of both criminal and civil cases and assists in the proper movement of documents within the court. A case number identifies the year a suit was filed in court, the office in which it was filed, and the judicial officer to whom it was assigned. Members of the public may contact the clerks of courthouses to find case numbers but must have the required information to ease the search. Alternatively, the iCourt Portal keeps records of court cases in Idaho. Interested persons can search the Portal for a court case using the correct names in the Last, First Middle Suffix format and then click the search button. The page displayed after completing the search will contain the case number, among other information.
Can You Look Up Court Cases in Idaho?
Yes, anyone can look up court cases in the State of Idaho. Most court cases are public records, and as such, interested persons can engage the clerk of the courthouses in which the court cases of interest were filed. However, to facilitate a proper look up at the courthouses, certain information such as party names, case numbers, and case types about such suits is required. The information on court cases may differ, but in the State of Idaho, most case files will have the following information:
- Court orders
- Details of proceedings
- Evidence and witness testimony/documents
- Public personal and criminal details
The members of the general public may also look up court cases in Idaho online. The Idaho Judiciary Branch developed the iCourt Portal for ease of public access to Idaho court records and ongoing proceedings as entered by the clerks of courts. Interested persons should provide a case number or name in the smart search field of the Portal, filter by the criteria that may limit search results, and then execute the search. The search result will display public details about the case of interest.
Does Idaho Hold Remote Trials?
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Idaho suspended all jury trials and moved most court trials to electronic-based hearings. Many courtrooms in the state are now equipped with audio and Zoom video conferencing technology to facilitate remote court trials. An order issued by the Idaho Supreme Court to all Idaho courts prohibits most in-court activities except for emergency matters. Court hearings and motions can hold remotely, electronically, during the COVID-19 pandemic if a judge approves of it. The Supreme Court order mandates that any hearing held remotely be recorded to serve as a court record. Although there are complaints about the constitutional right to a speedy trial, court judges are dealing with them on a case-by-case basis. The Supreme Court released a rule to clarify that the inability to call a jury is due to health concerns.
What is the Idaho Supreme Court?
The Idaho Supreme Court is the state's court of last resort and an appellate court. It is responsible for supervising and managing the Court of Appeals and the trial courts. The Supreme Court is also in charge of the operations of the Administrative Office of the Courts and the State Law Library. Appeals from the final decisions of the Idaho District Court are heard in the Supreme Court. It also hears appeals from the order of the Industrial Commission and the Public Utilities Commission.
The foremost judicial duty of the Idaho Supreme Court includes hearing appeals and motion. Its original jurisdiction is to sit on cases against the state and initiate writs of review, mandamus, prohibition, and habeas corpus. The Supreme Court assigns cases to the Court of Appeals and may choose to examine the court's decision. There are currently five justices sitting on the Idaho Supreme Court, who are selected via a nonpartisan election to serve renewable six-year terms. Their terms are spaced out to ensure the continuity of the court. One of the five justices serves a four-year term as the Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court. The court does not hear witnesses at the Supreme Court regular session, and there is no jury. The attorneys representing the parties of a case have a definite time to present their arguments before the five justices. A majority of the members of the Idaho Supreme Court is required to pronounce a decision. The Supreme Court was established in 1890.
Idaho Court of Appeals
Established in 1980, the Idaho Court of Appeals is the state's intermediate appellate court. All four judges in the Court of Appeals are elected to six-tear tenures in nonpartisan elections. They sit in a panel of three members to hear cases. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appoints one of them to serve as the Chief Judge for a two-year term. The court relieves the Idaho Supreme Court and hears cases assigned to it by the state's highest court. The Court of Appeals, however, does not sit on appeals from the Industrial Commission and the Public Utilities Commission nor hear capital murder convictions. A dissatisfied party may petition the Supreme Court to review the decision of the Court of Appeals. It, however, does not imply the Supreme Court will grant such a petition. The office terms of the four Court of Appeals judges are staggered to ensure the court's continuity.
Idaho District Court
The Idaho District Court is a trial court and also one with general jurisdiction. It hears civil cases whose amount involved exceeds $10,000 and felony criminal cases. Most appeals of the District Court go to the Idaho Court of Appeals. However, cases involving capital murder convictions are appealed directly to the Idaho Supreme Court. The District Court hears jury trials. There are 42 District Court judges, each elected to a four-year term in a nonpartisan election within the judicial district. The Idaho District Court has appellate jurisdiction over appeals from the Magistrate Court, state agencies and boards, and Small Claims Department. There are seven judicial districts in Idaho, and each serves different counties in the state as noted below:
- The First Judicial District serves Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai, and Shoshone.
- The Second Judicial District covers Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis, and Nez Perce.
- The Third Judicial District serves Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington.
- The Fourth Judicial District serves Ada, Boise, Elmore, and Valley.
- The Fifth Judicial District covers Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, and Twin Falls.
- The Sixth Judicial District covers Bannock, Bear Lake, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida, and Power.
- The Seventh Judicial District includes Bingham, Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, and Teton.
Idaho Magistrate Court
The Magistrate Court of Idaho is a division of the state's District Court. Decisions of the Magistrate Court may be appealed to the Idaho District Court. In Idaho, there are 87 Magistrate judges, who are appointed by the District Magistrate Commission to serve an initial 18 months. They may then work in that capacity for another four years by county retention election. The Idaho Magistrate Court has jurisdiction over the following cases:
- Civil actions such as personal injury, property disputes, and contracts of $10,000 or less
- Arrest warrants, searches, and seizures
- Misdemeanor criminal matters
- Re-trial of small claims cases
- Domestic relations
- Traffic cases
- Probate of deceased persons' estates
- Child protective proceedings
- Preliminary hearings for probable cause on felony criminal complaints
- Juvenile correction proceedings
Magistrate judges also hear small claims cases. These cases are civil actions of up to $5,000 in Idaho, where the case parties present their arguments before the judge without attorneys.