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Eastern District of Texas

Honorable Rodney Gilstrap, Chief Judge
David A. O'Toole, Clerk of Court

Records and Archives

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General Reminders

  • Access to sealed cases or sealed documents in public cases is restricted to court personnel only.
  • Access to most public documents filed on or after 12/1/2007 is available via the Public Access to Courts Electronic Records ([]PACER) program. (Some earlier documents may also be available.) Due to federal privacy rules, public documents filed in Social Security cases and immigration-related cases that are non-orders are viewable at the public terminals in our clerk’s offices or can be purchased from the clerk (see the Records Request section below). Public orders in those cases are still available via PACER.
  • If a scanned copy of a public document is not available via PACER, it might be viewable at one of our office’s public terminals or available in the Federal Records Center (FRC) in Fort Worth, Texas. (Many records filed since 1991 have been scanned and can be viewed in our offices or purchased from us but are not available via PACER since they were filed prior to federal redaction rules that allowed for them to be remotely electronically available. If a scanned document is not accessible via PACER, you will receive a message telling you that you are not authorized to view. You may visit our offices and print a copy for purchase or see the Records Request section below if you wish to order a copy of a public record from us that is not accessible via PACER.)
  • Records that are transferred to an FRC are typically eligible for destruction 20 years after transfer unless the record was required to be retained permanently. Permanent records are then transferred from the FRC to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). While a record is in the custody of the FRC, a customer can work with the FRC or the local clerk’s office to obtain copies. After a permanent record has been transferred to NARA, a customer must work with NARA. (The court is no longer the “owner” of the record after transfer to NARA.) Should you elect to work with FRC in Fort Worth, Texas on your records request, you will still need to review the docket sheet (if you have PACER access) to identify the archival information – the box’s accession, location, and box number – or contact a divisional office for that information. Once you have the information, contact them at Federal Records Center, 1400 John Burgess Dr., Ft Worth, Texas 76140; Phone Number: 817-551-2000;

Records Requests  - Carefully review the information below. Once you are ready to purchase a record, use our Online Records Request form to pay for up to $1000 in documents and/or services at a time.

Note: If you are not able to purchase using the online form, or if your copy request is subject to the provisions of General Order 15-13, please contact the clerk’s office for assistance or instructions to remit payment by check or credit card.


Document or Case File Retrieval, Copies, and Certifications

To request a document or case file retrieval, photocopy, or certification, you must be able to provide enough specificity to enable the clerk’s office to fulfill your request. For example, to request a particular document out of a case file, you should provide the case number, style of the case (e.g., Smith v. Jones), the document number, and the total number of pages that you want to have copied. In old cases that are not in electronic form, the document(s) or the entire case file may have to be retrieved from the FRC in order to fulfill a copy request. If you do not know the information required, contact the clerk's office for assistance.

SmartScan service

If you believe the total number of copies needed from a case that has already been transferred to the FRC may not exceed 100 pages, the clerk may be able to obtain these via the National Archives and Records Administration’s SmartScan service. Contact the clerk's office so we may submit the request without advance cost to you. If the copies are located and do not exceed 100 pages, the FRC will scan and email the copies to the clerk. You may then use the online record request form to submit payment ($20.90 in retrieval fees plus $0.65/page copy fee). The copies will be provided electronically and may be certified as a true copy for additional fee.

Box retrieval service

If the total number of copies needed from a case that has already been transferred to the FRC exceeds 100 pages, you must prepay the cost to order the box(es) to be returned to the clerk’s office ($70 for the first box and $43 for each additional box). Once the file has been received in the clerk’s office, the clerk can advise you of the cost to order the copies you seek ($0.50/page, or, if the clerk elects to scan the document(s) or case file and you are willing to accept the copies electronically without document certification, $33 – this option may not be available for all requests and is subject to workload and other factors; the clerk is not required to provide electronic copies). Therefore, such requests must be paid for in two stages (box retrieval, then copies). The copies may be provided electronically if you prefer or may be provided in paper at the clerk’s discretion. They may also be certified as a true copy for additional fee.

Copy service

  • Copies of scanned court records, including those available via PACER at a less expensive rate than the clerk’s office copy fee may be provided in paper or electronic form, except where electronic delivery is not an option due to a certification method that is only available for paper records is added to the request ($0.50/page).
  • Copies of recordings of magistrate judge proceedings ($34/recording). (These cannot be certified as true copies. If certification is needed, the requester must first pay to have the hearing transcribed. See the link to the Transcript page below.)
  • Copies of electronic records stored outside of the court’s CM/ECF system ($33/disk). Copies will be provided in electronic form unless certified copies are requested. If certified copies are needed, the per page cost for copies will apply in addition to certification costs.

True Copy Certifications, Exemplifications, and Apostilles

  • The fees for certification and exemplification are per certification and in addition to the cost for copies, which the clerk must make. (The clerk cannot certify a copy you provide.)
  • If multiple documents from the same case file need to be certified as a true copy, you may choose to have them certified individually or bound together under a single certification form.
  • To issue an apostille, the clerk must first certify the document, so one document certification fee plus the apostille fee both apply for each apostille requested.

Multi-document certifications, exemplifications, and apostilles may only be applied to physical copies. These certifications are not available for electronic delivery or for application to records that are maintained only in electronic format.

Cost: $12/doc for true copy; $24/doc for exemplification; $50/apostille + the $12/doc true copy certification that must first be applied for each apostille.

Name Searches or Other Records Certifications or Searches

The clerk will assist in performing quick searches to identify a case number, provide public information regarding a recent hearing, etc. Searches that cannot be completed within a brief period, name search certifications, or records certifications that exceed the scope of a “true copy” type certification require advance payment of a search fee ($34).

A Certificate of Name Search may be provided for a search of civil and criminal records in the Eastern District of Texas dating back to 1/1/1991. You may narrow the scope of search (e.g., a 10-year search, a 15-year search, a criminal case search), but the same search fee applies. Since many names are the same, you may wish to provide a person’s date of birth and/or last four digits of their social security number for a criminal defendant search to ensure correct identification.


To see rates for or order a transcript, please visit the Transcripts page.