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San Francisco County Court Records

San Francisco County court records are legal documents generated in the course of a judicial proceeding held by the county's courts. These documents encompass documents and information pertaining to an indictment in a criminal case or a complaint in a civil action. They also include various pleadings, motions, orders, trial transcripts, jury verdicts, and official documents generated per the California Public Records Act.

In San Francisco County, California, court records are relevant to the judicial system because they provide an official account of the events during a court case, consequently supporting the impartial and fair conduct of legal processes. They may also be cited as proof in future lawsuits. For instance, the Court of Appeals of California usually reviews the lower court records to reach a well-informed conclusion in the event of an appeal.

Are Court Records Public in San Francisco County?

Yes, court records in San Francisco are considered a part of public records per the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance and the California Public Records Act. However, while most San Francisco court case records are open to public inspection, some may not be accessible to the general public; certain case records are confidential under specific laws, court regulations, and per court orders. An example of one such record is the juvenile delinquency record, which is exempt from public disclosure.

Similarly, probate courts in San Francisco do not allow members of the public to access court case files unless they are parties in the case. Members of the public seeking access to San Francisco probate court records will need to be pre-approved by the probate department.

San Francisco County Court Records Search

To perform a San Francisco county court records search, inquirers may opt for any of the following options:

  • The records viewing room at the San Francisco Superior Court
  • Online using the court case information system
  • The county court clerk's office
  • Third-party public records website

San Francisco County Court Records Search by Name

The self-service terminals in the records viewing room, located at the Superior Court building, allow users to search San Francisco court records by name. The terminals host a San Francisco civil court records database that can be queried using the names of persons involved in a civil case. Office staff at the records viewing room can also provide instructions on how to perform a search and locate specific public record information.

Online access to San Francisco County court records is also possible through the superior court's civil case query portal. Anyone can do a name search on this portal by entering the name of a company or an individual: the name of the corporation, last name, or first name.

County court staff can only perform a search by name for criminal records. Hence, inquirers must provide staff with the full name of a person involved in a criminal case to access these records.

San Francisco County Courts

The San Francisco court system comprises a superior court and a district court. Each of the superior court's four locations handles a distinct set of issues, including traffic, family law, civil, probate, certain criminal proceedings, and juvenile trials. The district court, which has a single location, handles almost all types of federal civil and criminal matters.

San Francisco County Superior Court Locations
Civic Center Courthouse
400 McAllister St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

 

Hall of Justice
850 Bryant St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

 

Juvenile Justice Center
375 Woodside Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94127

 

Polk Street Annex
575 Polk St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

 

San Francisco County District Court location
United States District Court
450 Golden Gate Avenue, Box 36060
San Francisco, CA 94102-3489

 

Immigration court
Address 1
100 Montgomery Street, Suite 800
San Francisco, CA 94104

 

Address 2
630 Sansome Street, 4th Floor,
Room 475
San Francisco, CA 94111

San Francisco County Superior Court Case Search

The Superior Court in San Francisco is the principal judicial authority within the county. It comprises six divisions/departments, each dealing with civil and criminal matters. These divisions include:

  • Civil court
  • Criminal court
  • Small claims court
  • Probate court
  • Family court
  • Traffic court

In keeping with the state's public records laws, the San Francisco County Superior Court provides online and in-person access to civil, criminal, and family court records. Interested persons can visit the courthouse to request a paper case record or an electronic one. These records are also available at record viewing rooms where inquirers can search public records. Electronic records are accessible through remote computers within the court building. At the courthouse, there is no fee to view electronic court documents or paper documents in the records viewing rooms; however, individuals will have to pay a small fee to make copies of certified and uncertified records.

Records Viewing Room Locations
Civic Center Courthouse (CCC)
400 McAllister St., Room 103
San Francisco, CA 94102
Hall of Justice (HOJ)
850 Bryant Street, Room 101
San Francisco, CA 94103

San Francisco Superior Court case records are also accessible to persons seeking court case information and case summaries through the court online portal. The portal can be searched by case number, name, party, attorney, judge, docket entry, filing date, courthouse, case type, party representation, and more.

Inquirers may schedule an appointment to view case records in person. To make this request by telephone, the requester must complete the criminal /civil records request form and mark "view only". The form should be sent to the court records department at:

Records Dept.
850 Bryant St,
Room #101
SF CA 94103
Tel:(415) 551-0651

Court records can be viewed without an appointment from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM on a first-come, first-served basis. Appointments can be made for the afternoons between 1:00 and 3:00.

San Francisco County District Court Records

The San Francisco District Court is an extension of the federal district court system and is located within the Northern District Court of California. The court is qualified to hear the majority of federal cases, both civil and criminal. Individuals can examine electronic case summaries and docket information through the court's Electronic Case Filing (ECF) system, also known as PACER. The case number or the full name of one of the parties must be known in order to read or retrieve court records in any format.

Public terminals are made available to inquirers seeking to read and print case documents and look up case information in the San Francisco Clerk's Office. Visitors can also utilize the coin-operated copy machines found in the viewing rooms of the clerks' offices to make copies at the Clerk's office. Each page costs $.25.

San Francisco County Criminal Court Case Lookup

The San Francisco County Criminal Court is a San Francisco Superior Court branch. Under the California Penal Code, the court can hear cases involving various crimes, from minor infractions to serious felonies. The San Francisco Criminal Court handles and stores records of trials, motions, arraignments, preliminary hearings, probation hearings, and other criminal actions. It also has authority over misdemeanor and felony matters.

San Francisco Criminal court case records are not available online; hence, interested persons must visit the records room at the county courthouse to look up these records in the court docket. An interested party must supply a case number to request criminal court records; if the case number is unknown, the requester must get a RAP sheet (encompassing arrest records and criminal history information) first. To obtain information on a local RAP sheet, visit the San Francisco Police Department's Identification Bureau in Room 475 (4th Floor), Hall of Justice.

Additionally, individuals may complete and mail a criminal records request form to the Hall of Justice's window 7 or 8 in room 101. The county courthouse staff will then search for the required records and, for a modest fee, supply the necessary information.

Get San Francisco County Civil Court Records

The San Francisco Superior Court's Civil Division manages civil litigation involving persons and/or companies that are filed to defend, or enforce private rights. The Civil Division, which is the biggest branch of the San Francisco Superior Court, handles civil trials, filings, records, small claims cases, appeals, probate matters, defaults, unlawful detainers, dispute resolution, and civil restraining orders.

Inquirers may access civil court documents through the San Francisco County Clerk's Office. Inquirers are advised to request the records in person. They may query the Clerk's office or visit the Public Viewing Room where civil court records are kept. The county clerk can obtain records from the courthouse where court records are stored if they are unavailable on-site at:

Civil Records Division
The Civic Center Clerk's Office
400 McAllister St., Room 103
San Francisco, CA 94102-4514

Alternatively, interested members of the public may use the San Francisco Court Case Query Tool to request online or remote access to civil court records. This database includes imaged documents from 2001 to the present and a Register of Actions for Civil cases. Using this tool, individuals can perform a name search by entering the name of a business or a person involved in a civil case to reveal the needed court documents.

San Francisco County Family Court Records

The San Francisco Unified Family Court is responsible for managing issues about domestic relations, such as annulments, separations, nullity, prevention of domestic violence, paternity proceedings, child support, custody, visitation schedules, spousal support, family support, and adoptions.

Interested persons can visit the records viewing room (room 103) at the Civic Center courthouse to obtain family court records in San Francisco. Anyone trying to locate family court records in San Francisco County must provide a working case number. If the case number is unknown, it can be found via the Civil Case Calendar.

Unified Family Court Services
Civic Center Courthouse
General Information: (415) 551-3900

San Francisco Dissolution of Marriage Records

In San Francisco County, a divorce is also known as "dissolution of marriage" or "dissolution of domestic partnership". It is a legal process that dissolves a marriage and domestic partnership. Consequently, San Francisco dissolution of marriage records can be obtained by contacting the county clerk of the court where the divorce was filed and the divorce proceedings took place.

San Francisco County Marriage and Divorce Records

In San Francisco County, marriage records refer to either marriage licenses or certificates and are categorized as vital records. In any case, both marriage records and divorce records are maintained by the county clerk and county assessor offices. The county clerk's office can be contacted in person, by mail, or online through a third-party vendor for confidential marriage records, while the assessor-recorder's office can provide public marriage records.

To get San Francisco County marriage records, inquirers may use any of the following options:

In-person

Interested persons can visit the county recorder's office to request public marriage records. To make a request, citizens can visit the office from 8:00 AM to 4:45 PM with a valid photo ID. Payment for copies is $17, and the options for payment are cash, money order payable to SF Assessor-Recorder, credit/debit card (Visa, Mastercard, and Discover), or personal check.

Similarly, requests for confidential marriage certificates can be made in person at the county clerk's office. Applicants must complete the certificate request form and have a valid photo ID to submit their request at the office. Orders placed in person take about 20 minutes to process.

Online

The county clerk's and county assessor's websites use a third-party record management service that allows users to order public or confidential marriage records online.

Mail

Inquirers may request for confidential marriage certificates by filling out and finishing the application for a confidential marriage certificate form. The form needs to be signed in front of the public notary, along with a sworn statement. The notary public will then offer proof of acknowledgment. Requestors must then send the application, acknowledgment certificate, and payment to the county clerk.

For non-confidential (public) copies, interested persons must download the marriage records request form, complete it, and have it notarized. Requesters then need to submit the notarized application together with a $17.00 personal check, money order, or cashier's check payable to the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder for each certificate they want, in a stamped envelope that is self-addressed and stamped:

Assessor-Recorder's Main Office
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place,
City Hall, Room 190
San Francisco, CA 94102-4698

 

Office of the County Clerk
City Hall, Room 160
1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

San Francisco County Birth and Death Records

Interested members of the public may query the San Francisco County Clerk's office to order San Francisco County birth and death certificates. Anyone can request informational copies of the certificates, but certified copies can only be provided to close relatives (children, spouse, parent, grandparents, grandchildren) or a surviving next of kin. Certificates are available in person and by mail. The county clerk's office provides only the following types of birth and death records:

  • Birth certificates for those older than three years
  • Death certificate for a person who passed away in San Francisco after 1906 and more than three years ago

San Francisco County Probate Court Records

The San Francisco Probate Court is a division under the Superior Court system. The court handles probate matters such as adoption, guardianship, trusts, wills, estate conservatorships, guardianship, and other civil matters per the California Probate Code.

Files related to a probate case can only be viewed by the parties involved in the court case. Non-parties (members of the public not involved in the probate case) must have prior permission to access confidential records from the Probate Department. Interested persons may obtain permission to view and obtain San Francisco County probate court records by visiting the San Francisco Superior Court probate department to make a request. The probate department can also be contacted via phone:

The probate department
Room 202, Civic Center Courthouse,
400 McAllister St.,
Tel: (415) 551-3650

San Francisco County Property Records

The county assessor-recorder's office in San Francisco is responsible for maintaining and recording property records. The assessor keeps property records, such as general property data, plats, maps, deeds, and other pertinent information about properties within the county.

To access these records, interested individuals can query the office in person, by mail, or through the Office dropbox. The first step to accessing these records is to look them up through the online records manager access tool. This tool allows anyone to look up recorded documents using the Assessor's Parcel Number (APN), also known as the Assessor's Block and Lot Number, or by entering the document type, number, or name. A person can access the requested record using any of the following methods after it has been identified.

  • In-Person: Members of the public can view and make orders for property records at the self-service kiosks in the county assessor's office. Documents older than 1990 must be searched in person at the office.
  • Online: Official property records can be ordered and downloaded using the department's online property records portal. Certified copies of records can also be ordered online and received via mail.
  • Dropbox: Individuals can download and complete the records request form and submit it using Dropbox, which is located outside the county recorder's office building. Along with the request, a payment must also be made to the "San Francisco Assessor-Recorder" by money order or cashier's check.
  • By mail: Requesters must complete the Recorded Document Request Form, mail it to the primary office address, and include payment. Mail-in requests will only be approved if they include a specific document number. The number of pages in a document determines the copy fees.
  • Fees: The cost of copying pages 1 through 3 of recorded documents is $3.00 each. Beyond page 3, each additional page costs $0.50. Each document has a $1 certification cost.

San Francisco County Court Records Online

Several third-party websites provide access to San Francisco court records online; these are either court record aggregators or private databases like Californiacourtrecords.us. Some of these sites are niche to court records, while others provide court records along with other types of public records.

Third-party websites allow users to search and locate court records for various cases, including Civil Rights, Contract, Labor, Personal Injury, Probate, and Property, all in one location. These websites also allow other services like viewing case summaries, checking case statuses, downloading court documents, opinions, and tentative rulings, and tracking lawsuits. These websites collect, organize, standardize, and normalize court data from state courts and the federal court system's Public Access to Court Electronic Records.

However, customers must pay to receive comprehensive data from these sites. The cost varies according to the provider and can be a one-time fee paid per search or a subscription fee, often once a month. Moreover, information on a third-party website might not be accurate or complete. Because of this, every user needs to confirm information obtained from a third-party provider with official sources.

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