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Sullivan County Court Records

Sullivan County has several courts that provide legal recourse to the region's residents. Under Tennessee law and court rules, these courts are entrusted with safeguarding records pertaining to their adjudicative duties. These "court records," as so aptly named, are maintained in diverse formats, including paper, electronic, and microfilm. They serve as evidence in appeals, establish precedents that can be applied in future cases, and are important for monitoring legal proceedings. Court records in Sullivan County, Tennessee, also ensure that the judicial system remains transparent and answerable to the public it serves.

Tennessee court records, including those from Sullivan County, encompass various documents filed or generated in court proceedings. They include motions, petitions, transcripts, dockets, judgments, orders, summonses, and exhibits. The clerks of courts are responsible for the safekeeping and dissemination of these records.

Are Court Records Public in Sullivan County?

Yes, court records are releasable to the public in Sullivan County. Tennessee's Public Records Act ("TPRA"), codified in Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-501, et seq., and Supreme Court Rule 34 assert the public's right to inspect and duplicate public records maintained by government agencies, including the courts. (T.C.A. § 10-7-503(a)(1)(A) defines a "public record" as any documentary material made or received by a governmental entity while conducting its official functions.)

However, the public's statutory right to view or obtain Sullivan County court records is not absolute. Some documents are confidential by court rule, court order, the TPRA, or another federal or state statute. Examples include:

  • Copies of briefs, petitions, motions, and other similar records furnished to a judge for their individual use, except if intentionally filed as part of the case record.
  • Unpublished drafts of judicial opinions or orders.
  • Written or electronic conference records, memoranda, notes, reports, and similar documents prepared by a judge or other court personnel for the court's use.
  • Adoption records
  • Medical records
  • Documents from order of protection cases
  • Juvenile information
  • Jury lists

The Tennessee Comptroller's office publishes an extensive report on Tennessee public record exemptions, including exceptions for the judiciary.

Sullivan County Court Records Search

Any person who wants to perform a Sullivan County court records search has the following options:

  • Visit the courthouse where a case was filed or heard.
  • Write to or contact the respective clerk of the court's office.
  • Access the remote case management system maintained by the county courts.
  • Search a third-party public records database.

Sullivan County Court Records Search by Name

An individual must have certain details about a court case to find related court records. Often, this information is the name of someone involved in the case or a case number.

Persons seeking a name search in Sullivan must have at least a defendant or plaintiff's last or business name. Bearing these details, they can stop by the presiding courthouse during regular business hours to demand record inspection or duplication from the clerk's office.

An alternative is to send a written request by mail, including case party details, to the appropriate court clerk's office, which may be the Circuit Clerk, Clerk and Master, or a city/municipal court clerk's office.

Finally, the public can access the Sullivan County Online Court Records System to look up cases brought to the local judicial system by name. Admittedly, the system does not dispense case information from the municipal/city court system.

Sullivan County Courts

Multiple courts are located in Sullivan County (also known as Tennessee's 2nd Judicial District), each having jurisdiction to hear particular civil and criminal case types. They include the circuit, criminal, chancery, general sessions, juvenile, and municipal courts. Below are the courts' addresses and contact details.

Sullivan County Circuit Courts

Blountville Law Court
Sullivan County Justice Center
140 Blountville Bypass
Blountville, TN 37617
Phone: (423) 279-2752
Fax: (423) 323-3741

Kingsport Law Court
City Hall Building
225 West Center Street
Kingsport, TN 37660
Phone: (423) 224-1724
Fax: (423) 246-1924

Bristol Law Court
Ralph P. Harr Justice Center
801 Anderson Street
Bristol, TN 37620
Phone: (423) 652-1030
Fax: (423) 968-1138

Sullivan County Criminal Courts

Sullivan County Justice Center
140 Blountville Bypass
P.O. Box 585
Blountville, TN 37617
Phone: (423) 279-2752
Fax: (423) 323-3741

Sullivan County Chancery Courts

Blountville
Sullivan County Justice Center
140 Blountville Bypass
Room 201
P.O. Box 327
Blountville, TN 37617
Phone: (423) 323-6483

Kingsport
City Hall Building
225 West Center Street
Room 104
Kingsport, TN 37660
Phone: (423) 224-1726
Fax: (423) 224-1736

Bristol
Ralph P. Harr Justice Center
801 Anderson Street
Room 239
Bristol, TN 37620
Phone: (423) 989-4363
Fax: (423) 989-4362

Sullivan County General Sessions

Kingsport
Kingsport Justice Center
200 Shelby Street
Kingsport, TN 37660
Phone: (423) 224-1711
Fax: (423) 224-1766

Bristol
Ralph P. Harr Justice Center
801 Anderson Street
Bristol, TN 37620
Phone: (423) 989-4352
Fax: (423) 968-1138

Sullivan County Juvenile Courts

Kingsport
Kingsport Justice Center
200 Shelby Street
Kingsport, TN 37660
Phone: (423) 224-1730
Fax: (423) 224-1766

Bristol
Ralph P. Harr Justice Center
801 Anderson Street
Bristol, TN 37620
Phone: (423) 764-2163
Fax: (423) 968-1138

Municipal (or City) Courts in Sullivan County

Bluff City City Court
4391 Bluff City Highway
P.O. Box 70
Bluff City, TN 37618
Phone: (423) 538-7144
Fax: (423) 538-7138

Bristol Juvenile Court
Municipal Annex
104 8th Street
Bristol, TN 37620
Phone: (423) 989-5553

Bristol Municipal Court
801 Anderson Street
Room 203
Bristol, TN 37620
Phone: (423) 989-5500

Johnson City Juvenile Court
607 East Myrtle Avenue
Johnson City, TN 37601
Phone: (423) 434-6200

Johnson City Municipal Court
601 East Main Street
Johnson City, TN 37601
Phone: (423) 434-6160

Kingsport City Court
Kingsport Justice Center
200 Shelby Street
Kingsport, TN 37660
Phone: (423) 229-9428

Sullivan County Superior Court Case Search

In several parts of the United States, a "superior court" is a trial court of general jurisdiction with the authority to hear a wide array of legal actions. The court may also conduct jury trials and possess some appellate jurisdiction. However, there are no "superior courts" in Sullivan County, Tennessee. Instead, the circuit court, one of the state trial courts, exercises general trial jurisdiction.

The Sullivan County Circuit Court presides over criminal and civil cases and hears appeals from the juvenile, general sessions, and municipal courts. The court often shares concurrent jurisdiction with the chancery court.

The Sullivan County Circuit Court Clerk maintains records created or filed in the circuit court. Members of the public can search for the courts' case records as follows:

  • Go to https://tncrtinfo.com/ and choose "Sullivan County".
  • Select "Search" from the top menu bar.
  • Enter a party name or case year and number.
  • Under court type, select "Circuit Court" and choose whether to limit the search results to civil or criminal cases, or both.
  • Check the CAPTCHA box and select "Find Now".

The system will produce a list of cases that match the user's query. The user can then click the relevant case party's name to view more information at no cost.

Note that while it is possible to see a list of documents filed in or generated in the Sullivan Circuit Court, no option is provided to view or download/print them. To obtain copies of circuit court records, the interested person should visit or write to the Circuit Court Clerk's office at:

Circuit Court Clerk
P.O. Box 585
Blountville, TN 37617

Each oral or written request should contain sufficient details to enable the Circuit Clerk's office to locate the desired record, such as a case participant's name, case number, or filing date.

Individuals can also look up dockets filed in the BristolKingsport, and Blountville circuit court locations on the Circuit Clerk's website.

A request for record inspection typically attracts no charges. However, fees apply to reproduce a court file. Per T.C.A. § 8-21-401, the standard copy fee per page is 50 cents. Meanwhile, certification costs $5 per document.

Sullivan County District Court Records

A county district court is often a court of limited jurisdiction that handles only cases assigned to it by statute. Sullivan County has no "district courts" by that name, but the county is home to three limited jurisdiction courts that execute similar functions. These courts are the municipal (city), juvenile, and general sessions courts, each having its area of responsibility within the county's judicial system.

The municipal courts exercise citywide jurisdiction over ordinance violations. The juvenile court has exclusive authority over juvenile proceedings, including neglect, abuse, delinquency, and dependency. The court also handles paternity, child support, custody, and other matters involving children with unmarried parents. Meanwhile, the general sessions court has both civil and criminal jurisdiction. Its civil jurisdiction covers specific case types and monetary limits. In criminal matters, the court conducts preliminary hearings in felony cases and misdemeanor trials where the defendant waived the right to a grand jury investigation and jury trial in the circuit court.

The Sullivan County Circuit Court Clerk's office maintains juvenile and general sessions court records. These records can be obtained via the Sullivan County Online Court Records System. If the inquirer requires copies, they can hand-deliver or mail their request to the Circuit Clerk, as explained previously.

Conversely, municipal court records are maintained by city court clerk offices. The applicable office should be contacted or visited for records.

Sullivan County Criminal Records

A person may query the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) for Sullivan County criminal records. The TBI is the state's central criminal history repository and offers misdemeanor and felony arrest information collated from arresting agencies to the general public and eligible organizations.

Anyone can request a name-based criminal history check from the TBI for $29. The fee is nonrefundable. An application can be submitted online or in writing (Spanish form) to the TBI's TORIS (Tennessee Open Records Information Services) Unit. However, the TBI releases only adult criminal records and records of juveniles prosecuted as adults to the public, as juvenile information is confidential in Tennessee.

Any background check result from TORIS is sent to the requester's email address. The Unit can be contacted at (615) 744-4057 for further inquiries. One can also review the TBI's Background Checks page for guidelines on ordering fingerprint checks.

Moreover, members of the public can contact the local sheriff's office for Sullivan arrest records and other criminal data.

Sullivan County Criminal Court Case Lookup

One way to look up a criminal court case in Sullivan County is to access the county's Online Court Records System. There, the user can search for criminal cases by selecting "Criminal" under case type and the court that handled the proceeding. The user must also provide a party name or case number and year to search the system.

Another option to locate a criminal court case record, especially when the record is unavailable online, is to contact the clerk of the court that held the proceeding. Clerks implement different record retrieval procedures. However, a person can generally stop by a clerk's office during regular business hours or send a mail request explaining the record(s) they seek. Charges apply for copy orders.

Get Sullivan County Civil Court Records

Civil proceedings are handled by different courts in Sullivan County, such as the chancery, circuit, and general sessions courts. These cases include auto accidents, medical malpractice, personal injury, name change, and worker's compensation.

A request must be made to the court in which a case was filed or heard to obtain civil court records. The civil court clerk's offices, including the Circuit Clerk and Clerk and Master, process these requests and can be queried in person during office hours or by mail.

Alternatively, one can access the Sullivan County Online Court Records System to find civil court case information. A party name or case number is required to access the system.

Sullivan County Family Court Records

The circuit, chancery, and juvenile courts in Sullivan County share family law jurisdiction. The courts hear cases like divorce, adoption, child custody, child support, alimony, and paternity.

A person seeking a family court record in Sullivan must query the court that heard the case. For instance, if searching for family cases heard by the juvenile or circuit courts, one should talk to the Circuit Court Clerk's office. Meanwhile, the Clerk and Master should be contacted for family proceedings in the chancery court.

It should be noted that not all family court records are disclosed to the public. Given that family cases frequently involve sensitive matters, the judiciary and legislature impose access restrictions on several cases to protect the rights and privacy of the persons implicated. In such instances, the sealed or confidential record may be released only to the case parties and their legal representatives or for a legal purpose.

Sullivan Dissolution of Marriage Records

Sullivan County's circuit and chancery courts both hear dissolution of marriage (divorce and annulment) cases. Per the Tennessee Public Records Act, all papers filed in a dissolution of marriage proceeding in Sullivan are part of the Sullivan County public records. As such, anybody can see or replicate documents or information in a court file, except if barred by statute or court order. For example, the Spouses’ Personal Information (Form 2) document filed in a divorce case is not disclosed publicly.

Members of the public seeking Sullivan dissolution of marriage records can contact the Circuit Clerk or Clerk and Master's office, depending on the court that heard the case.

The Circuit Clerk can be visited or written to at the Sullivan County Justice Center, 140 Blountville Bypass, for dissolution of marriage records from the circuit court. One may also call during working hours at (423) 279-2752. The Clerk and Master can also be reached at the same address for dissolution of marriage records from the chancery court, but the number to call is (423) 323-6483.

Applicants should note that details like a party name, dissolution of marriage date, and case number may be required for the search. Also, a clerk's office will charge for duplicating any court paper (50 cents per page for non-certified copies and $5 plus 50 cents per page for certified copies). The office may also assess labor costs if processing exceeds five hours (Rule 11, Local Practice in the Circuit And Chancery Courts for Sullivan County). Older records may attract additional fees.

Sullivan County Marriage and Divorce Records

Copies of Sullivan County divorce documents, including decrees, can be obtained from the Circuit Clerk and Clerk and Master's offices, as outlined above. Individuals can also order certified copies of divorce certificates or verification letters (50 years prior to the current year) from the Tennessee Department of Health for $15. A divorce record application can be submitted to the DOH by mail or online (through the department's official vendor). A valid ID is required. Moreover, the Tennessee Library and Archives provides access to some older divorce records.

On the other hand, Sullivan County marriage records can be sourced from the Sullivan County Clerk's office. The office provides an online Marriage Lookup tool that can be searched by spousal name to review marriage licenses (names and marriage dates) and order certified copies.

Per T.C.A. § 8-21-701, the County Clerk charges a $5 document fee, $2 mailing fee, and $2.20 processing fee for credit card payments, totaling $9.20. Meanwhile, persons who pay via check are liable for a $5 document fee, $2 mailing fee, and $1.50 processing fee, totaling $8.50 per order.

The County Clerk's office can also be queried at the following addresses for a Sullivan County marriage certificate:

3258 Highway 126
Suite 101
Blountville, TN 37617
Phone: (423) 323-6428
Fax: (423) 279-2725

 

801 Anderson Street
Bristol, TN 37621
Phone: (423) 989-4366
Fax: (423) 968-2080

 

408 Clay Street
Kingsport, TN 37660
Phone: ( 423 )224-1790
Fax: (423) 224-1791

Marriage certificates (50 years ago from the present year) can also be ordered from the Tennessee Department of Health for $15. Older marriage records are available through the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Sullivan County Birth and Death Records

Birth and death records are categorized as Sullivan County vital records. These documents hold immense legal value.

Birth records are instrumental in verifying a person's identity, age, or citizenship for purposes like obtaining a driver's license, gaining school admission, getting a passport, and opening a bank account, among others. Meanwhile, death records are often used for estate administration and to claim insurance or pension benefits. Both documents reveal population demographics and trends and are crucial for developing practical health policies and palliatives. Further, the records help establish ancestral connections.

Eligible individuals (registrants or their parents/legal guardians, children, or spouses) can obtain a certified copy of a Sullivan County birth certificate from the Tennessee Department of Health via mail for $15. The department has records from 100 years to the current year. A completed and notarized birth certificate application, valid ID, and fee are required. Requests can also be made to the DOH's approved online vendor.

Similar requirements apply to obtain a death certificate from the Tennessee Department of Health. However, the request should be made using the agency's death certificate form, and the agency only maintains death records 50 years before the present year.

Sullivan County residents can also request birth and death records from the Regional Health Department's Blountville Office.

154 Blountville Bypass
P.O. Box 630
Blountville, TN 37617

Each certificate costs $15; each applicant must provide a valid ID. The county health department issues statewide birth records for the last 100 years and death records for the last 50 years. The office can be reached at (423) 279-2780 for inquiries.

Earlier birth and death records can be requested from the State Library and Archives.

Sullivan County Probate Court Records

In Sullivan County, cases involving wills and estate administration (probate) are handled in the chancery court. Those seeking to view or copy probate court records can visit the Clerk and Master's office within office hours. Individuals not based in Sullivan County can access the Sullivan County Online Court Records System to search with a case number or party name. Alternatively, they can send a written request (listing relevant case details) to the Clerk and Master at:

Probate Court
P.O. Box 327
Blountville, TN 37617

Sullivan County Property Records

Sullivan County property records encompass all real estate instruments filed into the county's official records. These include deeds, surveys, liens, mortgages, releases, judgments, easements, and assignments. The Register of Deeds serves as the official record custodian of these legal documents and provides public access online through an approved vendor. Members of the public can also contact the office at the address below to request copies of property records:

3411 Highway 126
Room 101
Blountville, TN 37617
Phone: (423) 323-6420
Fax: (423) 279-2771
Email: office@sullivandeeds.com

The Sullivan County Register of Deeds charges 25 cents per page for copies made at the office and $1 per page for certification.

Additionally, individuals can look up Sullivan property records kept by the Property Assessor's office through the Tennessee Property Assessment Data website. Searches can be conducted with a parcel ID, owner name, or property address.

Sullivan County Court Records Online

Individuals can retrieve Sullivan County court records from both third-party and official government websites. Private companies operate third-party sites like Tennesseecourtrecords.us that compile vast public records databases for general use.

Like official government repositories, third-party sites accept name-based queries for court records, i.e., where a user inputs a person's first and last name into the system to find a match. However, these websites are not constrained to records from a particular court. Users can search court records beyond Sullivan County and even access other public records, such as Sullivan criminal records.

It is crucial to be aware of the limitations of third-party websites, which include the requirement to pay for in-depth information and the potential for outdated or incomplete records. Thus, users are advised against relying solely on privately sourced data for legal action and are encouraged to apply due diligence.

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