Retention of Paper and Electronic Court Records to be Consistent Under New Guidelines

HARRISBURG—The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania is taking steps to ensure that the retention of electronic magisterial district court case records be consistent with the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s Record Retention and Disposition Schedule with Guidelines, beginning April 1. The Supreme Court’s schedule standardized the retention of official court records and generally requires:

  • summary case records be retained for three years after final disposition or final payment of all court assessments;
  • criminal case records be retained for seven years after final disposition or after the date they were held or waived for Common Pleas court;
  • civil and landlord tenant case records be retained for seven years after entry of satisfaction of judgment; final disposition, or if appealed, seven years from the result of the appeal;
  • miscellaneous case records be retained three years after the case was filed in the magisterial district court.

For example, magisterial district court records concerning a conviction for a minor traffic offense will no longer be available in paper or electronic record form three years following final payment of all court assessments.

“To be consistent, when the retention period for magisterial district court paper records is up, the electronic records will no longer be available to the public according to the long-standing retention schedule,” said Court Administrator of Pennsylvania Zygmont Pines. “This will ensure that the magisterial district court web docket sheets do not continue to be Internet-accessible after the official paper case record has been destroyed.”

Docket sheets for Pennsylvania’s appellate, Common Pleas (criminal) and magisterial district courts can be found on the Unified Judicial System’s Web portal. The docket sheet information should not be used in place of a criminal history background check, which can only be provided by the Pennsylvania State Police.

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