Maine Court Records
How Does the Maine Superior Court Work?
Superior Courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction in Maine. These are the only courts where jury trials may hold. Maine Superior Courts hear nearly all types of civil and criminal cases that may be brought to trial except for family matters, civil violations, and juvenile cases. The court handles all:
- Murder cases,
- Class A, B, and C criminal cases,
- Class D and E cases, where the defendant asks for a jury trial.
Unsatisfied litigants may appeal the Superior Court’s decisions to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The Superior Court may hold special sessions or two or more simultaneous court sessions in the same county, whenever the Superior Court’s Chief Justice determines that public convenience is required.
Generally, the court handles cases such as:
- Post-conviction reviews;
- Appeals from rulings of state and local administrative agencies, including the Department of Human Services and municipal zoning boards
- Matters in which equitable relief is requested, such as an injunction;
- Jury and jury-waived trials in civil cases, such as car accident lawsuits; and
- Jury and jury-waived trials in adult criminal cases
Besides Aroostook County, which has two Superior Courts, there is one Superior Court in every Maine’s 16 counties. There are 17 justices in these courts, all with a statewide jurisdiction, which sometimes requires them to travel to different counties to hold court.
Maine Superior Court justices are nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate and are appointed to seven-year terms. Under Maine statutes, a Chief Justice is assigned to serve at the pleasure and under the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court’s supervision. The Chief Justice of the Superior Court is responsible for the operation of the court. The only qualification by law to serve on the Superior Court is to be “learned in the law.”
The Law Library of the University of Maine School of Law maintains an online database of the Superior Court’s decisions supplied by the Court Clerks from 2000 to present. To obtain a court record from Maine Superior Courts, complete a Request for Records Search form, and mail in a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Judicial Branch Service Center
PO Box 266
Lewiston, ME 0424
By FedEx or UPS to:
250 Goddard Road
Lewiston, ME 04240
Requests submitted using any other forms will be returned to the requestor. Requests are submitted in person or by mail to the Judicial Branch Service Center. Submissions by email or fax are not accepted. Note that there is a $20 fee attached per name, per box checked in the court location(s) section of the form, as a record search fee. Payment is required upon acceptance of the request; by a check, money order, or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover). Cash is accepted if the request is hand-delivered
The following categories of persons are exempted from paying the search fee:
- Individuals requesting a record search on themselves;
- In-State and Out-of-State Offices that perform a general governmental function, such as State District Attorney offices, Department of Health and Human Services, Executive Department Agencies, and Courts
Only non-confidential information is made available to requestors. If non-confidential records are found for the name(s) submitted, the docket number and status (pending or closed) are reported. Persons interested in additional details of a case may either purchase a copy of the docket record or other case documents or visit the court where the case was held to view the file. A docket record contains:
- The names of the parties;
- The type of case;
- The charges (for criminal or civil violation matters);
- Date of filing;
- Attorney information; and
- Judgment information;
There is a copy fee of $2 for the first page and $1 for each additional page. Attested (with the court seal) copies also cost $5 per document. A 2.39% convenience fee is charged on all credit card payments. A $5 postage and handling fee applies where necessary. Requestors are advised to include a credit or debit card number with requests to cover the copy fee and have the copies returned with the search results. Alternatively, requestors may request a quote for the copy fees, which will then be mailed to the specified address. Afterward, the quote is submitted along with the payment via email.
Typical processing time for the service center to provide the information requested are:
- Five working days - 1–5 names
- 30 working days - 6–10 names
- 45 working days - 11–15 names
- 60 working days - 16–20 names
The processing time for records, including 21 or more names, will be determined by the Clerk or the Senior Center Associate. Requests for records before 2000 also require additional processing time.
Requestors must provide the first and last names of the individuals for which a record is required. For criminal cases, the date of birth is required, and for searches on businesses, the company name is required. The Service Center conducts searches using the exact spelling of the information provided by the requestor. Note that aliases are considered a separate name and require an additional search fee. Due to the Service Center’s database not collecting a unique identifier (SSN, DOB, etc.) for each entry, the Judicial Branch cannot certify civil case search results. Therefore, the reported case information may not include a person different from the one being investigated, but for a person with the same name.
For more information on obtaining court records from Maine Superior Courts, call the Judicial Branch Service Center on (207) 753–2901 or send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The locations of Maine Superior Courts are listed below: