Is it public information to find out why a person is in jail?

If yes, where do I find that information/charge?

Asked on March 22, 2011 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is public information indeed to know why a person is in jail but it is not always so simple as to get it from a directory that is something you simply log onto. You can check out your court house and see if you can order a copy of the court order that placed this person in custody after conviction. You can contact the prosecutor's office and ask for a copy of the public order. You can do some internet searches yourself and see if that information is available to you elsewhere. Now, if this person has only been arrested and charges are still pending, you may be able to order a copy of the arrest report (redacted possibly to not disclose private information) from the arresting officer's commanding officer. You do this by going to the police station and asking for a copy. Do some research on your state's version of the Freedom of Information Act (unless the jail is a federal one, then the Freedom of Information Act would automatically apply). That statute can help you determine what to ask for and how to ask for it and you can verify if it specific prohibits you from obtaining certain arrest records or police reports.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.