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Wisconsin Court Records

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Milwaukee County Court Records

A Milwaukee County court record depicts the proceedings and events of a court case filed or heard within county limits. Courts in Milwaukee County create and preserve these records predominantly to ensure transparency and accountability within the justice system. Court records also serve other crucial purposes, such as:

  • Legal Precedent: By documenting adjudicative proceedings, courts effectively facilitate the preservation of final judgments and case outcomes. This practice lays the groundwork for legal precedents, which can inform or influence future legal decisions.
  • Historical Records: Court records are a precise and often permanent account of legal proceedings. Researchers, legal professionals, and historians may acquire the records to study past cases and the evolution of the law.
  • General Education: Court records reveal legal processes and interpretations within the justice system. For this reason, they are valuable tools for fostering civic engagement. Citizens can gain insights into the administration of justice and follow important or high-profile cases.
  • Policy Development: Data derived from court records can guide the creation of policies that improve judicial efficiency.

According to the Wisconsin legislature, Wisconsin court records, including those generated in Milwaukee, may be stored in any physical form. These formats encompass photographs, electronically compiled data, tapes, and handwritten or printed pages.

Data available in Milwaukee court records include case party information, progress dockets, motions, complaints, pleadings, judgments, affidavits, and subpoenas.

Are Court Records Public in Milwaukee County?

Yes. Under Wisconsin's open government laws, primarily codified at Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31-19.39, the public can freely inspect or replicate Milwaukee court records. General access is also permitted under Wis. Stat. § 59.20(3), which grants requesters the "absolute right of examination" of court records. However, certain limitations apply.

Firstly, records of juvenile courts (adoptions, juvenile delinquency, termination of parental rights), treatment records of persons criminally committed, wiretap records or interceptions, and other records statutorily considered confidential are restricted from broader access.

Moreover, the public's right of absolute access can be limited by sealing. A court may seal a record if authorized by statute, if disclosure infringes on a constitutional right, or if required to administer justice. (Bilder, 112 Wis. 2d at 554-56. See also OAG-02-10, paragraph 26.)

Specific court rules effected on July 1, 2016, protect five numbers found in court records. Wis. Stat. § 801.19 lists these numbers to include Social Security, passport, employer and tax ID, financial account, and driver's license and state identification numbers.

Milwaukee County Court Records Search

The public can view court records deemed part of the Milwaukee County public records as follows:

  • At the courthouse where a case was filed
  • Via online case management systems maintained by the courts
  • Via public records databases maintained by independent companies

Milwaukee County Court Records Search by Name

An individual typically must possess specific information to find Milwaukee County court records, such as the name of a party to a case (individual or business). Often referred to as a Milwaukee County court records name search, one may conduct this inquiry by visiting the courthouse where a case was filed.

At the courthouse, the inquirer can query the clerk's office or other designated records office for identifiable records. They can also request copies at a nominal fee. For instance, the Milwaukee Circuit Court charges $1.25 per page for regular copies and reports per Wis. Stat. 814.61(10)(a).

Alternatively, internet access is available to persons seeking a Milwaukee court records search by name. If searching for an open circuit court record, one can navigate to the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) portal featured on the State Judicial Branch's website. Some municipal courts in Milwaukee, like the City of Milwaukee Municipal Court, also offer name searches via an online case access portal.

Milwaukee County Courts

The Milwaukee County court system comprises a circuit court and several municipal courts. The Milwaukee County Circuit Court (First Judicial District) is the largest jurisdiction in Wisconsin, consisting of 47 judges and different court divisions, including civil, traffic, criminal, probate, and a children's court division. Milwaukee also has more municipal courts than any other county in Wisconsin, with three full-time judges. Below are the county's court addresses:

Milwaukee County Circuit Court

Milwaukee County Circuit Court - Civil, Probate Division

Milwaukee County Courthouse
901 North 9th Street
Room 104
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: (Civil): (414) 278-5362
Phone: (Probate): (414) 278-4444

Milwaukee County Circuit Court - Criminal, Traffic Division

Milwaukee County Safety Building
821 West State Street
Room 117
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: (414) 278-4538

Milwaukee County Circuit Court - Children's Division

Vel R. Phillips Youth and Family Justice Center
10201 West Watertown Plank Road
Room 1530
Milwaukee, WI 53226
Phone: (414) 257-7700

Municipal Courts - City

Cudahy Municipal Court

5050 South Lake Drive
Cudahy, WI 53110
Phone: (414) 769-2218
Fax: (414) 769-2259

Franklin Municipal Court

Franklin Law Enforcement Center
9455 West Loomis Road
Franklin, WI 53132
Phone: (414) 425-4768
Fax: (414) 858-2625

Greenfield Municipal Court

5300 West Layton Avenue
Greenfield, WI 53220
Phone: (414) 761-5366
Fax: (414) 761-5360

Milwaukee Municipal Court

951 North James Lovell Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: (414) 286-3800
Fax: (414) 286-3615

Oak Creek Municipal Court

301 West Ryan Road
Oak Creek, WI 53154
Phone: (414) 766-7621
Fax: (414) 766-6691

South Milwaukee Municipal Court

2424 15th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53172
Phone: (414) 762-2222 ext. 170

St. Francis Municipal Court

St. Francis Civic Center
3400 East Howard Avenue
St. Francis, WI 53235
Phone: (414) 481-2300

Wauwatosa Municipal Court

7725 West North Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
Phone: (414) 471-8488
Fax: (414) 479-8999

West Allis Municipal Court

11301 West Lincoln Avenue
West Allis, WI 53227
Phone: (414) 302-8181

North Shore Municipal Court

5909 North Milwaukee River Parkway
Glendale, WI 53209
Phone: (414) 228-1752

Municipal Courts - Village

Brown Deer Municipal Court

4800 West Green Brook Drive
Brown Deer, WI 53223
Phone: (414) 371-3005
Fax: (414) 371-3045

Fox Point Municipal Court

7300 North Santa Monica Boulevard
Fox Point, WI 53217
Phone: (414) 247-6637

Greendale Municipal Court

Greendale Safety Center
5911 West Grange Avenue
Greendale, WI 53129
Phone: (414) 423-2127
Fax: (414) 409-2559

Hales Corners Municipal Court

5635 South New Berlin Road
Hales Corners, WI 53130
Phone: (414) 529-6145
Fax: (414) 529-6142

River Hills Municipal Court

7650 North Pheasant Lane
River Hills, WI 53217
Phone: (414) 247-2311
Fax: (414) 352-8355

Shorewood Municipal Court

Village Hall
3930 North Murray Avenue
2nd Floor
Shorewood, WI 53211
Phone: (414) 847-2617
Fax: (414) 847-2606

West Milwaukee Municipal Court

West Milwaukee Community Center
1345 South 47th Street
West Milwaukee, WI 53214
Phone: (414) 645-5411
Fax: (414) 645-8162

Whitefish Bay Municipal Court

5300 North Marlborough Drive
Whitefish Bay, WI 53217
Phone: (414) 967-5125
Fax: (414) 755-6558

Milwaukee County Superior Court Case Search

The circuit court in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, performs adjudicative functions similar to a superior court in some U.S. jurisdictions. The Milwaukee County Circuit Court is a single-level trial court with original jurisdiction over all civil and criminal matters within the county. Individuals can search for cases heard by the court as follows:

Online

The Wisconsin Judicial Branch provides the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) website, which disseminates some public records maintained by circuit courts across the state. The WCCA site is accessible by name (and date of birth if known) or case number. Users can search statewide or constrain their inquiry to a particular county, say, Milwaukee. Overall, the system displays case summaries, such as the parties to a case, case number, caption, filing date, case status, and a listing of case actions.

In Person

Milwaukee residents or visitors can visit the circuit court clerk's office where a case was filed to view nonconfidential circuit court records. The Milwaukee County Circuit Clerk's office has three divisions:

  • The Criminal Division at the Milwaukee County Safety Building administers criminal and traffic cases and records.
  • The Civil Division at the Milwaukee County Courthouse administers civil and family cases and records.
  • The Children's Division at the Vel R. Phillips Youth and Family Justice Center administers cases and records concerning under-17 juveniles.

Contact information for the Milwaukee circuit clerk's divisions, including email addresses, phone numbers, and contact persons, is available on the clerk's website.

Email

Those who cannot visit the court can request a court record in writing. Typically, this entails completing a request form and emailing it to the appropriate court division to obtain information or copies of documents in a case file. One may find a request form on the clerk's website. However, copies of certain records, e.g., criminal and juvenile case records, are only available upon making an in-person inquiry. The clerk's office can be contacted to determine email request protocols and accessible records.

Milwaukee County District Court Records

In Milwaukee County and the rest of Wisconsin, there are no district courts or comparable tribunals.

Nonetheless, the county is home to Wisconsin's largest municipal court system. The municipal courts adjudicate parking, traffic, and ordinance violations. The courts also hear some juvenile cases, including underage drinking, truancy, curfew violations, and drug-related offenses.

To access municipal court records in Milwaukee, one should query the court that handled a case. Generally, these requests are made in writing or orally, but a few courts provide remote access.

Milwaukee County Criminal Records

The Public Records Division of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office maintains criminal history information (information about local arrests) for the county. To obtain Milwaukee County criminal records, one can send a public records request to the Public Records Division in person, via email, U.S. mail, or by fax. Below is the address for record inquiries:

821 West State Street
Room 102
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: (414) 226-7085
Fax: (414) 223-1267
Email: MCSOopenrecords@milwaukeecountywi.gov

Individuals can also complete and submit an Online Public Records Request for Milwaukee criminal records.

The sheriff's office only disseminates Milwaukee arrest records and other criminal reports pertaining to its jurisdiction. Where a person seeks information about an arrest made in another Wisconsin jurisdiction, they may contact the arresting law enforcement agency. Better yet, the party can obtain a comprehensive criminal history check from the Wisconsin Department of Justice's (DOJ) Crime Information Bureau.

The DOJ maintains a computerized criminal history database (the Wisconsin Online Record Check System or WORCS) that provides in-depth information about Wisconsin arrests, charges, prosecutions, court findings, sentences, and state correctional system admissions and releases. Each online background check costs $7. One may review the DOJ's Background Check & Criminal History Information and FAQ pages for applicable fees and guidelines for obtaining fingerprint-based criminal history checks (i.e., police certificates).

In Wisconsin, adult criminal history information is considered public and may be obtained by anyone who pays the record fee. However, federal and state laws restrict access to juvenile information.

Milwaukee County Criminal Court Case Lookup

The Criminal Court Division, Milwaukee County Circuit Court, hears all criminal cases within the county. Thus, anyone seeking records from this court can access the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) portal on the state judiciary's website.

Alternatively, one may stop by Room 117 of the Milwaukee County Safety Building during office hours to request copies of criminal court records. Copies cost $1.25 for each page, and certification costs $5 per document. Orders for older case files take longer to fulfill (often two to three days), as the files are maintained offsite.

Get Milwaukee County Civil Court Records

Milwaukee County Circuit Court's Civil Division hears civil and family cases in Milwaukee. These cases include actions for small claims (below $10,000), large claims (exceeding $10,000), divorce, restraining orders, and garnishments. Below are the court's case retrieval avenues:

  • Stop by the Civil Records Center in Room G-9 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse to view or obtain paper court records. One may call the Center at (414) 278-4135 to verify in-person request policies, confirm office hours, or check if a record is available.
  • Search the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) portal with a name or case number.
  • Fill out and save the clerk's Civil Record Request Form on a computer or phone and email it to cticivil-milwaukee@wicourts.gov. The form can also be mailed to:

Milwaukee County Courthouse
901 North 9th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233

No payment should be included with the application, as the court contacts each requester with the due amount (payable by credit/debit card) once the records are available.

Milwaukee County Family Court Records

Milwaukee County family court records include all records/information on family law cases processed by the Milwaukee County Circuit Court's Civil Division, including paternity, divorce, legal separation, and name changes.

One may visit the division's Civil Records Center, mail/email a Civil Record Request Form to the Milwaukee County Courthouse, or access the state judiciary's WCCA database to obtain Milwaukee County family court records.

Milwaukee Dissolution of Marriage Records

The term "Milwaukee dissolution of marriage records" encompasses records from a divorce case filed within the Milwaukee County civil court system. These records include the names of case parties and their attorneys, case number, grounds for divorce, divorce terms (such as legal custody, child support, spousal support, and property division), and the divorce date. A dissolution of marriage record can also mean a record of an annulment case heard by the civil courts.

These records are considered family court records in Milwaukee and can be obtained by the public (unless sealed), as explained in the previous sections.

Milwaukee County Marriage and Divorce Records

Members of the public can obtain divorce decrees and certificates in Milwaukee County. Both are legal documents that certify a marriage has been legally dissolved.

A divorce decree is a court document that represents the final judgment. The decree can be obtained from the Milwaukee County Circuit Court's Civil Division in person or by mail/email using the Civil Record Request Form. One can also visit the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) site to view case information. Most divorce court records are available to the public, except where confidentiality rules apply.

On the other hand, a divorce certificate is a formal document prepared by a local or state vital statistics department. Milwaukee County divorce certificates are issued by the Milwaukee County Register of Deeds, the local custodian for Milwaukee County vital records (birth, death, divorce, marriage, and domestic partnership records). However, the Register of Deeds only issues divorce certificates from January 1, 2016, to present. All other requests should be made to the court for a decree.

A copy of a Milwaukee County divorce certificate can be ordered as follows:

901 North 9th Street
Room G6
Milwaukee, WI 53233

(In-person orders bear an additional $3 service fee.)

  • Online via the Register's Official Records portal or an authorized third-party vendor

Individuals can use the above channels to order a Milwaukee County marriage certificate, but a separate application form is needed. It costs $20 for the first copy of a Milwaukee divorce or marriage certificate and $3 for each additional copy.

Generally, the Register of Deeds issues certified and uncertified copies of vital records. Certified copies have a raised seal, are printed on security paper, bear the signature of the State or Local Registrar, and can be used for identity or legal purposes. These copies are only available to persons with a "direct and tangible interest," as explained in Wis. Stat. § 69.20(1). An ID is required to obtain a certified copy.

Conversely, uncertified copies are printed on plain paper, have the word "Uncertified" stamped across, cannot be used for legal purposes, and can be issued to anyone.

The Milwaukee Register of Deeds also processes genealogy requests for Milwaukee County marriage records (1830s to present) and can issue statewide vital certificates.

Milwaukee Birth and Death Records

To order a copy of Milwaukee County birth or death records, one may submit the appropriate application form and fee to the local Register of Deeds office.

A request can be submitted in person, by mail, or online. It costs $20 to order the first copy and $3 for each additional copy requested simultaneously. In-person requesters must pay an extra $3 service fee, and those requesting certified copies must provide an ID with their application form. Acceptable forms of ID are listed on each application form and include a driver's license, passport, or military ID.

The Register of Deeds office can be reached at (414) 278-4027 for record retrieval inquiries, including scheduling an appointment to inspect vital records. A $7 fee applies to view vital records from 1931 to present at the Register of Deeds office; prior years are available free of charge. One may review the office's Vital Records page for more information.

Milwaukee County birth certificates filed after October 1, 1907, and death certificates filed after September 1, 2013, can also be ordered from the West Allis City Health OfficeMilwaukee City Health Office, or State Department of Health.

Milwaukee County Probate Court Records

The Probate Division of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court hears and maintains records of matters involving wills, trusts, decedent's estates, guardianships, civil commitments, and protective placements. Milwaukee's probate records go as far back as the 1830s and can be obtained as follows:

  • Records Created Before 1985: These records can be viewed at the Milwaukee County's Register in Probate office in the Milwaukee County Courthouse, Room 207.
  • Records Created From 1985 to June 1, 2003: These records can be viewed in person or online via the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) portal.
  • Records Created After June 1, 2003: These records are only available online on the WCCA website.

Requesters can stop by the Register in Probate's office during office hours to inspect Milwaukee probate court records. Searches are free if conducted by oneself. However, anyone sending a written request to the probate office via mail must pay a $4 search fee and include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Further, the Register in Probate charges $1 per page to make copies, and anyone wishing to view a closed or microfilmed record must schedule an appointment by calling the office at (414) 278-4452.

Milwaukee County Property Records

Local authorities in Milwaukee County provide various resources to retrieve Milwaukee County property records (also called land or real estate records).

The first department a person may query for Milwaukee County property records is the Register of Deeds office. This office is responsible for recording real estate documents for the County of Milwaukee, including deeds, mortgages, and liens.

Members of the public can research and obtain copies of real estate-related instruments from the Register of Deeds. Available request channels include in-person (walk-in or appointment), U.S. mail, or online. Request guidelines and fees are stated on the Register's Real Estate Records page. Usually, a requester requires a party name, document number, or document type to search records at the Register of Deeds office.

Another place to find Milwaukee County property records is the Property Information Search website offered by the Milwaukee County Land Information Office (MCLIO). The database is searchable with an address or taxkey and returns detailed information about properties in Milwaukee, including survey, assessment, ownership, zoning, school district, and tax information.

Moreover, individuals can research Milwaukee property records through city assessor's offices. These offices may provide online access to property information on their official websites.

For example, the City of Milwaukee Assessor's Office maintains several online tools for researching properties in the city (more resources can be found on the city clerk's website). Also, the City of Glendale Assessor's Office provides citywide property searches through an approved vendor.

Milwaukee County Court Records Online

Courts are the primary sources of court records in Milwaukee County. However, with court records being public in Milwaukee, members of the public can also conduct searches on third-party aggregator websites.

Several reliable third-party sites like courtrecords.us offer users access to Milwaukee County public records, including Milwaukee County arrest records, court case records, and property information. These websites also furnish public records beyond the county's jurisdiction. As a result, they are convenient resources for persons who cannot visit a courthouse or other government location, do not reside in Milwaukee County, or want a broader range of open records.

Typically, a user must have a first and last name to search for a court record on a third-party site. During the search, it may be necessary to provide other information, like the search subject's age or previous residence, if known. Although searches are free of charge on most third-party websites, users must often pay for comprehensive search results. The cost varies by site, with some offering free trial packages to users.

Users are advised to cross-check records they obtain from independent sources against the official court record to guarantee the accuracy and reliability of information.

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  • Criminal Records
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  • And More!