Pennsylvania has restricted access to millions of court records involving minor crimes, traffic offenses, landlord-tenant disputes and small suits. Those records have been removed from the state's website and now require a formal request — and a fee — to access, reports the Harrisburg Patriot-News. A court spokesman said the change was made for the sake of consistency between paper and electronic records.
He said it made no sense for the court to keep electronic versions of records on the web after their paper copies had been destroyed. But lawyers worry about the public's ability to easily access the records of the state's magisterial courts. Edward Spreha, a Harrisburg-based defense attorney who frequently deals with traffic cases, said that the change will make it harder to find the criminal and civil court records of his clients, potential clients and witnesses. The public can submit requests for archived cases, but each request costs at least $80.