The Supreme Court has declined to address whether the constitutional presumption of access applies to civil or criminal court dockets. However, federal appellate courts have recognized that the right does attach, with one ruling that “the press and public possess a qualified First Amendment right of access to docket sheets” in part because “the ability of the public and press to attend civil and criminal cases would be merely theoretical if the information provided by docket sheets were inaccessible.” The Hartford Courant Co. v. Pellegrino, 380 F.3d 83, 86, 93 (2nd Cir. 2004). Likewise, in U.S. v. Valenti, 987 F.2d 708, 715 (11th Cir. 1993), the court found that the district court’s “maintenance of a dual-docketing system is an unconstitutional infringement on the public and press’s qualified right of access to criminal proceedings.”
Some, but not all, Mississippi trial courts maintain their own websites or provide Web access through a private vendor. Some of these sites include docket information. For cases on appeal, the docket of the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals is available online at http://www.mssc.state.ms.us/appellate_courts/generaldocket.html. The siteprovides a docket entry noting each filing, order and opinion in each case. The docket is searchable by partyname, attorney name, and case number.
Records not available online can be viewed or copied in the office of the Clerk of the Mississippi Supreme Court, which maintains Supreme Court and Court ofAppeals case files. Records may be viewed in the clerk’s office or copied. The clerk’s office may require advance notice of a request to view or copy a file. The telephone number is 601-359-3694.Because of limited space, older files are transferred to the state Department of Archives and History. Those records should be obtained directly from Archives and History.