Question – “Part of the application process I’m in the process of filling out requires the disclosure of past criminal incidents. I would just call my old attorney, but they passed away a couple of years after representing me in this case. How can I obtain the court documents/case details for a case that has been closed for the past seven years considering I have no living contact for case information?”
Answer: General District Court and Circuit Court Cases are public files. Unless the court has destroyed the file within its guidelines, you can contact the court and get a copy of the entire case file for a fee plus the cost of copies. If it’s a Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court case, the file is not public, but you should still be able to obtain a copy of the case if you are the subject of the case. If the court does not have a copy of the case file, you should find out what the court’s destruction policy is, then answer the application with as many details as you remember, and cite the court’s destruction policy and your efforts to obtain the copies. You may also wish to contact your attorney’s law firm to see if they still have your file. If she was a solo practitioner, you can contact the Virginia State Bar to determine if any attorneys are maintaining her files. The ethical rules only require attorneys to maintain files for 5 years, so if it’s more than 5 years old, this is less likely to work.