Dorothea Lange Show At OMCA – Public Defender Images

Anyone interested in Alameda County legal history may want to consider a visit to the Oakland Museum of California’s show – “Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing.

The show (extended through August 27) includes some of the images Lange took in the Alameda County courts in the 1950’s for an assignment from Life magazine.  The series purpose was to document the actions of the Alameda County Public Defender’s office.    Life never published the photos.

Image – Dorothea Lange, Defender, Mother with Baby, 1957, OMCA, Gift of Paul S. Taylor


Court Records – Alameda County Superior Court

The Alameda County Superior Court has a page on its website that does a great job summarizing what Alameda County court records are available to the public and how to access the records – either online or in-person.

Restrictions apply for public access to family court and juvenile court matters.  Probate court records are only available by going to the Berkeley Courthouse in person.

The link to the page is  HERE.

Here is a link to a Word document including links with the information current as of 3/30/2017 – How to Access Case Information Alameda County Superior Court

Here is the currently available information:

How to Access Case Information
Online The public may access many case records (information and documents) online through DomainWeb or Odyssey Portal.
In Person Individuals may research court records in person at no cost.  Public access terminals and indexes are available for public use.  To find out where a case record can be viewed, please call one of the Records Units at the telephone numbers listed below.  Please note that files may only be viewed on the premises.  Files may not be taken or removed from designated areas at any time.

Click here for hours of service.

Research Assistance You may request a records search in person or by mail; the Court does not provide research services over the telephone.

Please indicate in your search request which years you would like searched.  There is a fee for each name searched. (Searching records or files, for each search longer than 10 minutes – $15

For Help If you would like to speak with someone about accessing records, please call the Records Units at the telephone numbers listed below. You may request a records search in person or by mail; the Court does not provide research services over the telephone.


Fees & Payment This link to the Fees provides the current cost of research and copying services available.

You may pay for records searches and copying charges in person with cash, credit card, or money order.  You have the option of submitting Criminal Record Requests online and may pay for them using a MasterCard or Visa.

Please do not submit cash or credit card information by mail.



  Online In Person
Civil Records Many non-confidential civil case records are available online through DomainWeb.  


Civil case records can be accessed in person at the following locations:

Rene C. Davidson Courthouse: 510-891-6005
Hayward Hall of Justice: 510-690-2705

George E. McDonald Hall of Justice:


Criminal Records The public may now view criminal case information via the Odyssey Portal.  Public access does not include access to documents. Case information is available only for cases that have had any activity since 2005. This service is free and members of the public are not required to register.


Copies of non-confidential criminal case documents may be ordered online through the Criminal Record Requests portal. The copies will be mailed or emailed to you.


If you require a letter with an actual signature and court seal as documentation for immigration purposes, do not use the online Criminal Records Request portal. Instead, the request must be mailed to Gale Schenone Hall of Justice, 5672 Stoneridge Dr., Pleasanton, CA. 94588, Attn: Criminal Division.

Enclose a check or money order for .96 (per letter drawn on a US bank) payable to Superior Court, County of Alameda. Please do not send cash. Include the Requestor Name, Requestor Complete Address (mailing address), Requestor Phone Number, Defendant Name, Defendant Docket Number and Date of Birth.

Information is available for many criminal cases opened since 1974.

*NEW* The public may now view criminal case information via Odyssey Kiosk, available on public terminals at select court locations. Public access includes access to public documents. Case information is available only for cases that have had any activity since 2005.

If you know the court location where the case was heard, please contact that location. If you do not know the court location please call one of the following Criminal Divisions:

-Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, Oakland:

(510) 891-6009

-Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse, Oakland:

(510) 627-4700

-Hayward Hall of Justice: (510) 690-2703

-Fremont Hall of Justice: (510) 818-7501

-Gale-Schenone Hall of Justice, Pleasanton:

(925) 227-6700


For viewing felony cases prior to 1974, use the public microfiche in Room 107, 1225 Fallon Street, Oakland or contact the California Department of Justice.

Family Law Records Limited information about family law cases is available on DomainWeb.  Family law case documents are not available online. Family Law court records can be accessed in person at the following locations:
George E. McDonald Courthouse, Alameda:(510) 263-4304Hayward Hall of Justice, Hayward: (510) 690-2702Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, Oakland:(510) 891-6005
Juvenile Records Persons who wish to have access to juvenile court records must petition the juvenile court pursuant to California Welfare & Institutions Code Section 827.  The petition must be submitted on Judicial Council form JV-570.

Juvenile Court records include the records maintained in the Juvenile Dependency Court legal file and records maintained by the social worker and the Social Services Agency (except any communications between the social worker and his/her attorney).  Juvenile Court records do not normally include police reports.

For more information about submitting JV-570, please call the Juvenile Clerk’s Office at


Probate Records Images are available for documents filed after January 31, 2006, except for conservatorships, guardianships and confidential documents. Probate court records can be accessed in person at the following locations:

Berkeley Courthouse: (510) 647-4439
Rene C. Davidson Courthouse
(510) 891-6005


Traffic Records You may look up your citation here. Traffic Division’s database is now paperless.  You may request a document from your case (e.g., citation, minutes, etc.) and staff at any Traffic Court location can print it for you.


Adoption Records Adoption records are confidential and access to adoption records may be obtained by court order only. For more information regarding adoption records, please call (510) 891-6003.
Administrative Records Click here for more information about accessing judicial administrative records.
Vital Records Vital records (e.g., birth, death, and marriage records) are maintained by the County. Click here for more information.

On The Steps Of The Rene C. Davidson Courthouse – Recordings Of Foreclosure Auctions – US v. Marr

Alameda County courthouse recordings are the target of defense attorneys’ motion to suppress filed recently in a federal criminal matter involving real estate professionals facing antitrust charges for allegedly conspiring to manipulate public auctions of foreclosures.

Recording devices were placed by government personnel outside a number of Bay Area courthouses including the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse.  Foreclosure auctions are held outside that courthouse_rene_c_davidson_image_frontcourthouse on the terraced steps of the original formal entrance to the courthouse.  The area, overlooking Lake Merritt, is not only used for public auctions but as a lunch and meeting area for workers in the area.

The defense argues that the defendants had a reasonable expectation of privacy for their conversations outside the courthouses.

A copy of the motion to suppress (“DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO SUPPRESS VIDEO AND AUDIO RECORDINGS MADE IN VIOLATION OF THE FOURTH AMENDMENT AND ALL EVIDENCE DERIVED THEREFROM, AND REQUEST FOR EVIDENTIARY HEARING TO DETERMINE TAINT”) filed on March 23, 2016 in US v. Marr, 14-00580, by defense attorneys can be read here – us_v_marr motiontosuppress03232016

The Recorder article by Ross Todd from March 24, 2016 issue entitled “Defense: Feds Bugged Alameda, Contra Costa Courthouses” is available at the Alameda County Law Library in the paper version and on-line by subscription.

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Times They Are A Changin – For The Alameda County Superior Court

Alameda County Superior Court changes and consolidations for 2016 and beyond

In an interview published in a recent edition of ACBA News, Alameda County Superior Court Presiding Judge Morris Jacobson discussed with Tiela Chalmers, the Alameda County Bar Associations’s CEO, the changes planned in the coming years for the court.

The overview is:

  • Family Law is consolidating in Hayward
  • Criminal Law matters are being divided into felony courthouses (Dublin and Rene C. Davidson) and misdemeanor courthouses (Wiley Manuel and Fremont)
  • Probate and unlawful detainers and stand-alone domestic violence restraining orders are being consolidated into a General Civil court with five judges in Hayward.

The exact timetable has not yet been announced.

Here is an infographic showing the changes –


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Warriors’ Arena Litigation – Mission Bay Alliance v. Hawgood – Petition For Writ of Mandate – Alameda County Superior Court

Mission Bay Arena Lawsuit

A suit was filed on December 17, 2015 in Alameda County Superior Court concerning the proposed San Francisco arena complex for the professional basketball team, Golden State Warriors, currently an East BayFeatured Image -- 2901 team, as well as, the NBA champions.

You can view, using the following link, a copy of the Petition for Writ of Mandate filed in Mission Bay Alliance, Jennifer Wade, and Bruce Spaulding v. Sam Hawgood, in his capacity as Chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, Super Ct. Alameda County, Dec. 17, 2015,  No. RG15797095. Mission_Bay_Alliance_writofmandate_121715_acsuperior_warriors_cn_rg15797095