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The Washington Superior Court Database
How to Access the Database at the King County Superior Court Clerk's Office
|From a Name:
Use SCOMIS to find
a case & its case number.
A. The Washington Superior Court Database & SCOMIS Computers
The Courts in Washington are administered by the Washington Administrative Office of the Courts ("AOC"). The AOC is responsible, among other things, for maintaining the Judicial Information System ("JIS"), which provides case management automation for the Washington Courts. JIS includes a number of Court-specific databases. The database covering Washington Superior Courts, where all probates in Washington are filed, is the Superior Court Management Information System ("SCOMIS," pronounced "sko-miss"). SCOMIS data are accessed through computers ("SCOMIS Computers") located at the various Courthouses for their staff and at the various Superior Court Clerks' Offices for the public.
The earliest data in SCOMIS was entered in 1977 by Yakima County, data from King County began to be entered in 1979, and the last of Washington's 39 counties to enter data into SCOMIS was Garfield County, in 1993. The majority of Washington Superior Courts to enter data into SCOMIS began to do so in 1984 or earlier. So, for example, if you enter a person's name and one of the 39 Washington counties into a SCOMIS Computer, you can find:
Whether that person was a party to any lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of that county back:
At least to 1993 and, depending on the county,
Perhaps as far as 1977. And if so:
The case number,
The type of case,
The names of all filings,
The judgment, and
The final disposition.
Unfortunately, while it contains all Superior Court records for Washington back to 1993, SCOMIS lacks the ability to perform a statewide search --- the scope of a SCOMIS search is limited to the county level. See 2nd Paragraph of Page 3. Consequently, performing a statewide search entails making 39 searches, one for each county in Washington. (Query: What were the programmers thinking? The state's JIS-Link Coordinator, Susanne Hellman, says that a statewide SCOMIS database should be available by 2007.)
B. How to Access the Database at the King County Superior Court Clerk's Office & ECR Computers ñ
All Superior Court case records for King County are kept and managed by the King County Superior Court Clerk's Office (the "Clerk's Office").
Problem #1: Two Courthouses. King County has two Superior Court judicial districts, each with its own Courthouse. The Courthouse for the central and northern areas of King County is the main Courthouse, in downtown Seattle:
King County Courthouse
The Courthouse for the southern area of King County is the Regional Justice Center, in Kent, about halfway between Seattle and Tacoma:
Regional Justice Center
Kent, WA 98032
Cases filed at the King County Courthouse have a case number ending in SEA; those filed at the Regional Justice Center have a case number ending in KNT. The Clerk's Office has an office at each facility.
|From a Case Number:
Use ECR to find and
read the documents filed.
Problem #2: Electronic or Hardcopy Files. Several years ago, the King County Clerk's Office determined it needed to reduce the physical volume of information it is required to store and instituted a program of:
Scanning all documents
filed in all cases filed after December 31, 1999,
electronically the scanned
Disposing of the scanned documents.
Note that the criterion for scanning is not when a document is filed but the year in which its case was first filed. That year is easily determined on any filing from the document's case number, as its first two digits are the last two digits of its year of filing. So, for example, Case Number 03-1-23456-7 SEA was filed in 2003 at the King County Courthouse.
The Clerk's Office also "archives" case files, by:
Scanning "archived cases" --- those filed in the period 1996 through 1999 that have been either:
for at least two years, and then
Disposing of their hardcopy, paper files.
All documents for cases filed:
Since 2000 or
From 1996 through 1999 that have been archived ---
available only electronically --- on the Electronic Court Record ("ECR")
system, through the ECR Computers.
All documents for cases filed:
Before 1996 or
From 1996 through 1999 that have not been archived (ie, that remain active) ---
are available only in their "hardcopy," paper file --- by requesting the file from the Clerk's file room.
Furthermore, hardcopy, paper files for cases having:
SEA designations are stored in the Clerk's Office at the King County Courthouse, in downtown Seattle.
KNT designations are stored in the Clerk's Office at the Regional Justice Center, in Kent.