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Maine Court Records

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Registered Licenses is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). You understand and acknowledge that these reports are NOT “consumer reports” as defined by the FCRA. Your access and use of a report is subject to our Terms of Service and you expressly acknowledge that you are prohibited from using this service and this report to determine an individual’s eligibility for credit, insurance, employment or any other purpose regulated by the FCRA.

Are Maine Court Records Public?

Yes. According to the Maine Freedom of Access Act (FOAA), court records are considered public records and are, hence, open to members of the public for inspection or copying. The Maine FOAA applies broadly to government bodies, granting the right of access to public records while protecting legitimate government interests and the privacy rights of citizens. Transparency is at the heart of the Maine FOAA, with the Act ensuring accountability of the government to Maine citizens by providing public access to the records of public bodies.

The legislative arm of the Maine government adopted the FOAA in 1959 as public law, and it has undergone several amendments. Certain court records are exempted from disclosure if they have been designated as confidential by state or federal statutes. Juvenile records in Maine are also exempted from public disclosure.

The status of a court record requester is not relevant to the individual's right to inspect or copy such records; however, the status of the requester may allow or limit access to certain types of documents that are otherwise exempt from public disclosure, such as the right of the subject of a criminal proceeding to access otherwise confidential criminal records or employees. Typically, the purpose of a request is to copy or inspect public court records. However, certain categories of records may be released only for qualified research purposes.

What Shows Up on a Maine Court Records Search

A Maine court record search can provide a vast array of valuable information, including details about the people involved, information about court judgments and orders, charges and claims, and business dealings or financial history that may include bankruptcies or liens that may have been filed.

Public access to court records fosters judicial accountability and transparency in the administration of justice. A court record refers to any documentation of court proceedings, information, or court actions related to a court case. These records comprise any case file, motion, order, judgment, and transcript generated during a court hearing. Per the Maine Freedom of Access Act (FOAA), court records are classified as public records, making them accessible to the general public, except where they are exempted by law or court order.

How Do I Find Court Records in Maine?

The first step to take when trying to obtain court records in Maine is to ascertain the court where the case was filed. Maine courts provide remote access to electronic case records via its eCourts Odyssey Portal. Access to these records is governed by Maine Rules of Electronic Court Systems (RECS). RECS rules are intended to facilitate public access to the courts in the electronic environment while maximizing public access to court records and minimizing the risk of harm to individuals and entities involved in court proceedings.

Maine Court Records Public Access

Although some court records and case types are publicly accessible via the Odyssey Portal, others require the requesters to register an account on the portal and request elevated access before accessing court records. Upon the approval of a request, parties and attorneys can search for and access their nonpublic case information and documents. To register for a user account on the Odyssey Portal, follow these steps:

Visit the Odyssey Portal. Select "Register" from the Register/Sign In option on the upper right of the screen.

  • Complete the Registration Form
  • Click on the verification link sent to the email address provided
  • Select the Sign In option on the Odyssey portal
  • Select "Party" access on the screen specifying the type of access requested.
  • Submit an Odyssey Portal Elevated Access Request Form. This must be done in person at any clerk's office with one form of positive ID or submitted after notarization before the request can be processed. If notarized, the form may be submitted by mail

Activation of an elevated account usually takes 3-5 business days. Requesters will receive an email notification informing them that elevated access has been granted. Public court records can be accessed on Public Access Computer (PAC) at designated courthouses where eFiling has been implemented in Maine.

To use the Odyssey Portal for publicly accessible electronic case records, requesters must enter a case number or a party name. With the advanced filtering options, requesters can narrow search results by providing the case type, status, and filing date.

In-person requests are also welcome in Maine courts for persons interested in obtaining court records. Requesters can use the Find a Court page to view the locations of Maine courts. Note that obtaining actual court documents from the court record custodian attracts a nominal fee.

Court transcripts are not available on the Odyssey portal. To obtain a written record of every word spoken in a court proceeding for a civil or criminal case, parties or their attorneys may submit a Transcript and Audio Order Form (CV/CR/JV-165) to the clerk's office where the proceeding was held. The form must be submitted when the notice of appeal is filed. Where a transcript is needed for purposes other than an appeal, an order may be made by submitting the CV/CR/JV-165 form by mail or in person to the clerk's office or online.

Note that transcripts or audio recordings of any recorded proceeding of nonpublic proceedings, such as juvenile, child protection, and bar discipline, are restricted from public access. Information required to order a transcript include:

  • The name of the case and docket number assigned by the clerk's office
  • The date of the hearing
  • The start time of the case
  • The requester's contact information

Requesters who do not know the docket number, start time, or any other necessary information may contact the clerk's office in the court where the processing was held. The cost of a court transcript is determined by the total number of pages and the turnaround time required by the requester. Requests for transcripts requiring 1-day, 3-day, 7-day, and 30-day turnaround times cost $5.75, $4.65, $4.35, and $3.30 per page, respectively. Additional copies of a previously produced transcript are charged at $0.95 per page. An audio CD of the transcript may be ordered for $25 for the first copy and $10 for each additional copy. The typical turnaround time for an audio transcript from Maine courts is seven business days. For further inquiries about the transcripts or audio recordings, contact the Office of Transcript Operations (OTO) at:

Penobscot Judicial Center
78 Exchange Street, Suite 200, Bangor, ME 04401
Phone: (207) 991-6322

Maine Court Structure

How to Conduct a Maine Court Record Search by Name

To conduct a court record search by name in Maine, there are two options available: electronic access eCourts Odyssey Portal or In-person access to case records at courthouses where the filing was made.

Interested persons can search for court records by entering a party name through the "Smart Search" button on the Portal start page of the electronic access portal. If the party name(s) entered matches any electronic records, the system will display a list of case records to choose from. Once a record is selected, the Registry of Actions or docket sheet for the case will be displayed by the system. Interested individuals can view records without registering for a Portal account, and there are no charges for registering an account.

To access records in person, submit a record research request letter at the court where the case was filed or adjudicated. The letter must contain the name or names of the parties involved, the case number, or other information to facilitate the search. A search fee of $20.00 per name is typically charged, with additional fees for copies. Litigants and in-state and out-of-state agencies that perform general government functions are exempted from the search fee.

How to Get Court Records Online for Free

Depending on the state and type of record, court records can be accessed for free online through state judicial portals or case management systems. State judicial portals and case management systems provide searchable databases of court cases and allow users to look for, view, and download case records. However, some may require payment to access certain types of records.

There are several low-cost options for accessing court records online, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For instance, PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), provides online access to federal court records. PACER charges a small fee per page viewed or downloaded. In addition to PACER, there are also third-party aggregate sites that provide access to court records. These sites offer a convenient way to search for and access court records from multiple jurisdictions in one place, saving users time and effort. However, these sites may not be as comprehensive as PACER and may not include all the information available in court records.

While accessing court records online may be less expensive than requesting physical copies or visiting courthouses, there may be additional costs involved. These costs can vary depending on the platform used, and the amount of information accessed, so always review the fees and policies of any chosen platform before using it.

Considered open to citizens of the United States, court 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.

What Shows Up on Maine Judgment Records?

Judgment records in Maine contain information about a court's decision on a criminal or civil case filed in a court of competent jurisdiction. Courts typically issue judgments after considering case facts, after the jury enters a verdict, or at the litigants' request. In any way, these judgments become binding when the court clerk creates the judgment record.

Persons who wish to obtain these records must visit the clerk's office and provide case information to facilitate a search. Furthermore, the individual must pay court administrative fees to cover the labor cost of retrieving the documents and making copies of the judgment record. These fees are payable by cash, money order, certified check, and credit card. Besides visiting the clerk's office in person, requesters can submit online requests for Maine judgment records. The same case information will be required to identify and retrieve the record of interest, including the case number and the litigants' names.

Maine judgment records contain varying information, depending on the case type. In any way, persons who obtain Maine judgment records can expect to see the litigants' names, the judge's name, and the judgment date. In addition, judgment records will contain the specific claims of the parties involved, as in civil cases, or the charges against the defendant, as in criminal cases, as well as the issued judgment.

Are Maine Bankruptcy Records Public?

Maine Bankruptcy records are deemed public information according to Maine state law. These records, along with Maine liens, contracts, writs, and judgments, can be accessed through the office of the county clerk or clerk of courts in the jurisdiction or courthouse where the case was filed. However, requestors will be required to provide information regarding the record of interest and pay a nominal fee to copy or duplicate the record. Bankruptcy records are important because they contain financial information about people and help lenders, financial institutions, and prospective employers understand your financial history.

Maine bankruptcy records contain the financial information of people and companies who have filed for bankruptcy within the state. The laws under which bankruptcy operates are federal. To begin court proceedings for a bankruptcy case in Maine, the individual or entity has to file a case at the federal court in Maine. Some of the information that can be found in Maine bankruptcy records include

  • Details of income sources
  • Identification documents
  • List of creditors, their addresses, and other details
  • List of debts

How to Find Bankruptcy Records in Maine

Under the Freedom of Information Act, bankruptcy cases are considered public records. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine is the federal bankruptcy court serving Maine. Individuals seeking bankruptcy records may visit the appropriate bankruptcy courthouse location in Maine to request records or submit written requests to the US Bankruptcy Clerk's office.

Alternatively, bankruptcy record seekers may utilize the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system. To gain access to the records through this system, interested parties must register for a free PACER account. However, a fee of $0.10 per page is required to view the documents. Individuals who have registered can search for bankruptcy cases by the debtor's name or case number and view bankruptcy records electronically.

Can You Look Up Court Cases in Maine?

Yes. Non-confidential court cases are accessible on the eCourts Odyssey Portal. Interested persons can perform a Maine court case lookup remotely using the portal. Note that Odyssey provides access to some records and case types for free while viewing others require requesters to obtain elevated access.

Maine Court Case Lookup Exemptions

Per the Freedom of Access Statutory Exceptions, certain court case information is exempt from public disclosure. Specifically, such records are records that contain confidential information, and they include:

  • Personal identifying information, such as social security numbers, dates of birth, and financial account numbers.
  • Certain types of juvenile court records, including those that relate to child protective proceedings, are required to be maintained in accordance with Maine Revised Statutes Title 22, Section 4008.
  • Adoption records.
  • Mental health records, including those related to involuntary hospitalization or treatment, must be kept.
  • Records relating to criminal investigations and intelligence information.
  • Domestic violence records, including those containing identifying information about victims or witnesses.

It's worth noting that while the freedom of access statutory exception outlines various types of information that are not available for public disclosure, it is not an exhaustive list. There may be other circumstances where different types of information are also exempt from public disclosure due to a court order.

How to Find a Court Docket in Maine

A Maine docket is a written record of events and orders in a case. It contains information such as the names of the parties, case type, charges, filing date, attorney information, and judgment information. Court dockets in Maine provide an overview of court cases scheduled in a given court and are useful for tracking court hearings, monitoring case progress, and researching past cases. In Maine, court dockets can be searched online through the Maine Judicial Branch's eCourts portal, which also provides access to electronic case records, including documents filed and court orders.

Types of Courts in Maine

The judicial system in Maine includes one federal district court, one state supreme court, and several trial courts with both general and limited jurisdiction.

  • The Federal District Court in Maine is called the US District Court for the District of Maine. It has jurisdiction over cases that involve federal law, disputes between citizens of different states, and cases that involve the United States government as a party.
  • The Maine Supreme Court is the highest court in Maine. It hears appeals from lower courts and decides questions of law that are of statewide importance. The Supreme Court also has administrative authority over the state's judicial system.
  • The trial courts in Maine are divided into several categories, including district courts, superior courts, probate courts, and small claims courts. District courts have limited jurisdiction and hear cases involving minor criminal offenses as well as civil cases involving minor amounts of controversy. Superior courts have general jurisdiction and hear more serious criminal and civil cases. Probate courts handle matters related to wills, trusts, and estates. Small claims courts provide a forum for resolving disputes involving small amounts of money.

Civil vs Small Claims Courts in Maine: Understanding the Difference

Maine small claims courts are special sessions of the District Courts aimed at helping citizens sue for amounts that are too small to justify the hiring of an attorney. Small claims court proceedings are simple, informal, and inexpensive hearings in which the judges listen to both plaintiffs and defendants and then determine who is right. Typically, both parties to a small claims case will meet with a Court Mediator who attempts to settle the case. The defendant and the plaintiff will only appear before a judge if a Mediator fails to resolve the dispute. The amount of money in controversy must not exceed $6,000 in Maine small claims courts.

Anyone aged 18 and above can sue in Maine small claims courts. A city or town cannot be sued in a small claims court. The $6,000 limit in small claims cases does not include any interest charges or court costs claimed by the plaintiff. Small claims courts may award monetary damages or equitable relief. Equitable relief is limited to orders to return, reform, refund, repair or rescind. A plaintiff may also receive post-judgment interest on a money judgment. Small claim cases in Maine do not include an action involving the title to real estate.

Small claims cases are commonly filed in instances where:

  • A former tenant refuses to pay for damage to a rental property for which they are responsible
  • A former landlord refuses, with no legal reason, to return a security deposit
  • A purchase of unsatisfactory goods from an individual or business where the person will not refund money, give credit, or provide an acceptable exchange, or repair the goods
  • An individual loans personal property to another person who refuses to return it or returned it in a damaged condition
  • An individual is collecting a debt for goods or services owed by another individual or business

In instances where an appeal is desired, the plaintiff can appeal to the Superior Court on questions of law only, while the defendant is permitted to appeal to the Superior Court on questions of law or fact and can request a jury trial. The joint standing committee of the Maine Legislature reviews the monetary limit on small claim actions every four years.

Civil cases are different from small claims cases in that Maine sets no limit on money damages. Although self-representing parties are accepted, a party who is a corporation or legal entity is mandated to be represented by an attorney. Civil cases are heard in the Superior Courts or District Courts under formal rules and procedures. Unlike in small claims courts, jury trials are available for cases filed in or removed to the Superior Courts.