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Montgomery County Clerk of Courts
Public Record Statement
The Montgomery County Clerk of Courts is the keeper of the record for all legal documents filed in the Montgomery County Municipal Court, General Division Common Pleas Court, Domestic Relations Common Pleas Court, and Second District Court of Appeals. Court documents are public records. Therefore, records for all traffic, criminal, civil, domestic relations, and appellate cases are available in their entirety for public viewing during normal operating hours. Business hours for each of the Clerk’s offices are accessible through the Contact link on this website.
Several years ago, the Clerk’s office developed the PRO (Public Records Online) System, an internet-based product that documents the major events in the life of a case through an online viewable docket. In addition to the online docket, the PRO System enables customers to view imaged documents that accompany these major events in each case.
The PRO System was designed for our primary customer base; the legal community. Judges, lawyers, probation officers, paralegals, title company officials, court staff, and legal administrators are able to utilize PRO to view documents and follow case activity at the touch of a button. Prior to the PRO System, each interested party would have to come into the Clerk’s office, request a copy of the file, pay for copying charges if they wanted a copy, and return that file to our staff. (Original files must stay in the Clerk’s office except for those files signed out by judges.)
Besides the legal community, PRO has delivered value for other customers as well. For example, neighborhood groups have indicated that they use the PRO System to find out information that fall into the foreclosure process. These groups can also follow the progress of criminal cases involving issues of public safety that impact where they live. We are opening up the doors of the courthouse in a different, but meaningful way through our Public Records Online (PRO) System.
Debate about privacy issues has increased in recent years because technology has enabled this office and other government offices to display public information via the internet. So how do we balance privacy issues with what we believe is a meaningful information source for the citizens of this community? This balance is exactly what makes discussions about privacy issues difficult, because you have different opinions about where that proper balance lies. There are 88 county clerks of court in Ohio, and it is conceivable that you could have 88 different opinions about privacy issues with regards to placing court records on the internet.
Here are our practices regarding public records and the PRO System.
- Court records are public records, unless a court determines otherwise.
- This office will scan every document that is not filed electronically.
- There are some documents (images) that we have chosen to conceal from public viewing for PRO users. It is not in the public interest for certain documents to reside on an internet site for mass public viewing. Remember, every document is available for public view if someone wants to walk into the Clerk’s office. However, we have made the decision to suppress the documents from the internet site.
We have tried to be thoughtful about how we display information on the internet and believe we have found the balance that we should seek. We will continue to try to do more, not less, in the future with our efforts regarding case information and technology.Revised May 26, 2016