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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - MPA Courthouse

These frequently asked questions relate to MPA Courthouse Terminals and Government Access.

For more information on MPA Courthouse, please refer to the online Policies, Notices, and Instructions.


General FAQ:

Where can I find instructions on how to use MPA Courthouse to inquire about case records? 

User instructions and important policies and notices for MPA Courthouse are available through a Help link at the top of each screen of the MPA Courthouse inquiry tool. 

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Which web browsers work with MPA Courthouse?

Internet Explorer is recommended to use this service. Firefox and Safari will be supported at a later date.

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Is MPA Courthouse free of charge?

Yes. MPA Courthouse is made available to the general public, free of charge.

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What hours is this service available? 

Core hours of operation are from 7:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. The system is also available from 5:30 P.M. to 7:00 A.M. Monday through Friday, holidays, and weekends except during scheduled or emergency maintenance.

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What kinds of cases are available on MPA Courthouse?

Criminal, traffic, petty misdemeanor, civil, family, and probate case information is available on MPA Courthouse. 

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Who do I contact if I have questions about the content of online case records? 

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for understanding the meaning of the case record information that you view through MPA Courthouse and for the appropriate and lawful use of such information. If you have any questions regarding the meaning of case information on MPA Courthouse, please contact a court clerk in the corresponding district court. For example, if you have questions about a district court case record from Anoka County, please contact the Anoka County Court Administrator's Office. Contact information for all district courts can be found at this map of the Minnesota District Courts.

You are also responsible for determining whether any case record information previously obtained from MPA Courthouse is still accurate, current, and complete.

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Who do I contact to report ERRORS in online case records? 

Please contact a court clerk in the corresponding district court. For example, if you identify an error in a district court case record from Anoka County, please contact the Anoka County Court Administrator's Office. Contact information for all district courts can be found at this map of the Minnesota District Courts.

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What are the Minnesota Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch?

The Minnesota Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch are established by the Minnesota Supreme Court and govern public access to all types of records of the Minnesota Judicial Branch. Rule 4 is dedicated to "Accessibility to Case Records" and Rule 8 is dedicated to "Inspection, Copying, Bulk Distribution and Remote Access" to public records.

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Are case records on MPA Courthouse considered the official court record? 

No. The information available on MPA Courthouse is provided as a service and is not considered an official court record. The Minnesota Judicial Branch does not certify MPA Courthouse records or search results and is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the data found on MPA Courthouse. Certified civil judgment search results may be obtained from court administration.

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Can I view all district court case records on MPA Courthouse? 

No. Case records and calendars are displayed for all Minnesota District (Trial) Courts. The information available on MPA Courthouse is limited to case search results, registers of action, civil judgments, and court calendars for publicly accessible district court case records, as defined by Rule 4 of the Minnesota Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch. Electronic copies of public documents are currently available through MPA Courthouse for some cases. A criminal/traffic/petty search excludes all all Hennepin County and Ramsey County payable citations except: 1) those that result in a court appearance; and 2) Ramsey DNR payable citations. The excluded payable citations are processed through a separate system called VIBES. 

You WILL NOT be notified when public data is unavailable for any of these reasons as you are conducting searches in MPA Courthouse.

Please read the online Policies, Notices, and Instructions for important details.

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Can I view district court case records on the internet?

In addition to the electronic records provided through the MPA Courthouse service, Minnesota District (Trial) Courts case records are also available to the general public on the internet free of charge through the "MPA Remote View": http://www.mncourts.gov/caserecords. For privacy reasons, the information available on MPA Remote is also limited to remotely accessible information under Rule 8, subd. 2 of the Minnesota Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch. Under this rule, publicly accessible case records available on the MPA Courthouse service (on court public access computers) are not all remotely accessible through MPA Remote on the internet. For example, party street address and name searches on criminal, traffic, and petty misdemeanor pre-conviction case records are publicly accessible and available on the MPA Courthouse service, but not on MPA Remote. The federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) also prevents us from displaying harassment and domestic abuse case types on the internet, but these are available through the MPA Courthouse service. Comment fields for all case types also are not available on MPA Remote but are available through the MPA Courthouse service. Additionally, electronic copies of public documents are not available at this time through MPA Remote.

Please read the online Policies, Notices, and Instructions for important details.

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Should I use MPA Courthouse for background checks? 

No. Background checks should be conducted through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's (BCA) Computerized Criminal History (CCH) system, which you can access online at https://cch.state.mn.us/, at their office located at 1430 Maryland Avenue East in St. Paul, or by calling 651-793-2400 for information. The BCA's CCH system links prior criminal history through fingerprints to verify the identification of the individual. MPA Courthouse cannot provide this level of verification.

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Are name searches reliable? 

No. Please use caution in evaluating MPA Courthouse data, because the person for whom you have searched could have the same name, birth date, or other identifiers as another individual. Even if you believe your search has returned the correct match and the information appears to be about the person for whom you have searched, remember that:

  • two or more people can have the same name and birth date; and
  • criminal offenders frequently use aliases, including the names of others.

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How often are case records updated on MPA Courthouse?

The case data on MPA Courthouse is updated continually. As soon as the court administrator enters the data into the statewide case management system, it is available on MPA Courthouse. 

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What does "Level of Sentence" mean when displayed in the Register of Actions?

Effective June 1, 2009, Level of Sentence is a new automated feature that calculates and displays the level of sentence on a case based on the sentence imposed by the judge and entered into the case management system. The automation is calculated on the sentence elements and the provisions set forth in M.S. 609.13 and Minn. R. Crim. P. 23.02, and as further described in our Level of Sentence Fact Sheet. The Level of Sentence is displayed on cases sentenced on or after June 1, 2009. For cases sentenced prior to June 1, 2009, the Level of Sentence is not automatically calculated and displayed but should be manually interpreted based on M.S. 609.13 and Minn. R. Crim. P. 23.02, and as further explained in our Level of Sentence Fact Sheet.

For sample screen images and a complete discussion on how to read and interpret the Register of Actions and Level of Sentence on a case, see Register of Actions - Level of Sentence (available in the Understanding Search Results help topic) in MPA Courthouse Online Help.

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What does "converted pending activity" mean in the Register of Actions for a case?

When the Minnesota District Courts converted (moved) cases from TCIS (the former case management system) to MNCIS Odyssey (the new case management system), this "converted pending activity" label was used to identify pending case activities that were converted from TCIS to MNCIS Odyssey. Therefore, it is an indicator of the point in time when a case was converted; it has no meaning relative to the facts of the case. The conversion of cases from TCIS to MNCIS Odyssey did not happen at the same time for all district courts in Minnesota. Instead, the 87 district courts were phased in over the period of several years. 

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How do I perform a search?

See Selecting Location and Type of Search in MPA Courthouse Online Help.

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How do I perform a Criminal/Traffic/Petty Case Records search?

See Criminal/Traffic/Petty Case Records Searches in MPA Courthouse Online Help.

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How do I perform a Civil, Family & Probate Case Records search?

See Civil, Family & Probate Case Records Searches in MPA Courthouse Online Help.

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How do I perform a Judgment search?

See Judgments Searches in MPA Courthouse Online Help.

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How do I perform a Court Calendar search?

See Court Calendar Searches in MPA Courthouse Online Help.

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What do my search results mean?

See Understanding Search Results in MPA Courthouse Online Help.

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