Charleston, S.C., is posting information on its Web site about the tens of thousands of cases that go through its municipal court every year, a move that will make it easier for people to do background checks and track court proceedings, reports the Charleston Post and Courier. The city’s action follows a Post and Courier investigation that found the three largest municipalities in the area — Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant — didn’t put their data online.
Before this week, people who wanted to find out the disposition of a Charleston municipal court case were required to fill out a Freedom of Information Act form. That form was then hand-carried to the city’s legal department, which had three weeks to respond under the state’s open records law. Municipal courts are sometimes referred to as the “people’s court,” because they handle most of the judiciary’s workload, as much as 90 percent of the nation’s criminal cases.