Online background checks will check court files for you but if you wish to try yourself here are some of the things you will need to know and what you will have to do.
Things have gotten a little easier in this respect since 1999 when court files began to be held electronically. They are now available through what is known as PACER this is the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER.) This will allow anyone who has an account the facility to search any district, and bankruptcy court case, and find details of it.
There are still many paper files however and these can be located from the clerk’s office relating to the place where the case was actually filed. These will be the cases that predate 1999 and will be found at the administration center where the court case was filed or at one of the Federal Records Centers (FRCs). You should Contact the court where the case was filed to find out the current whereabouts of the information you are searching for.
There is also a telephone system available to you this is called the voice case information system, and this is free to use and is open twenty-four hours a day. It is a free service and uses a touchphone questioning system so make sure you have as much information as possible to hand when you call.
If you need to go back even further in time then you may need to contact the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
The records that are held on electronic and paper format can be viewed at the relevant courthouse for free with a charge of ten cents per page for anything that you want to print for later use. At the Federal records center the charge will be 64 dollars and that is just to view the documents. For further copies and so on there will be a varying fee and more information can be found on the website. Pacer also charges 10 cents per page for anything that needs to be copied but there is a maximum fee. When copying a whole document, they will not charge you more than three dollars for the whole file.
Researchers that can show that they are working on a project for scholarly or research purposes can complete an application form to request that PACER wave the fees for copies so that they can do their work in many or in fact any of the courts of the US. They must sign a disclaimer to confirm that they will not reuse the work, distribute it on the internet or use it for business purposes or commercial gain.
If you wish to access opinions or any case related documents from the Supreme Court of the United States, you should thoroughly read their website and confirm that you follow the criteria. You must then complete the online application form in order to gain access to these files.