Do you want to dig up dirt on your new boyfriend, local politician or the business begging for your money and time?
If you live in Maricopa County or elsewhere in Arizona, we've got a few awesome and mostly free online resources for you:
An incredible resource for information on Arizona businesses.
Find out who owns a business, look up corporate records. Also find links here to Arizona Corporation Commission records, like investigations and business-license discipline records. The site's a repository for reams of documents related to the ACC's role as energy-industry regulator. There's just more stuff here than you can imagine about local businesses.
If the company you are looking up is a public company, you can find another entire universe of filings on it through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Edgar lookup site. This contains SEC filings that detail everything from the CEO's salary to accounting records.
For nonprofits nationwide, check out GuideStar.
Navigate to "jail information" and then "mugshots" to see mugshots of people arrested by various police agencies who were booked into the county jail. Only includes last three days of arrested people.
Find active and inactive prison records here. Includes court-case references, discipline actions, release dates, photo, etc. The main DOC site, azcorrections.gov, also has fun stats on the prison population and Death Row.
Search for federal criminal, civil, appellate and bankruptcy cases. Find complete, scanned-in cases files here, but they're not cheap. Price is ten cents a page. Sign up for an account which requires a credit card for the inevitable payments.
5.) Elections and political campaigns
If you're interested in information on state elections and want to make searches for campaign-finance records or campaign contributors, check out these handy sites:
* Maricopa County campaign-finance search:
* Arizona Secretary of State campaign-finance search:
* U.S. Presidential race campaign contributor lookup.
An easy-to-use and well-maintained site. Important to initial investigations for several reasons.
Look to links on the left:
* "Case History" — Use this to look up criminal, civil, probate and family court cases in Maricopa county.
You'll find the basic information about the court procedures for the cases here. To see copies of actual court records, though, you still have to visit the Clerk of Superior Court's office at 601 West Jackson in Phoenix.
* "Recorded Docs" — Very useful lookup. See federal tax liens, property ownership records and a lot more.
* "Tax Information" — This takes you to the county treasurer's and assessor's sites, where you'll find tax-bill records. When used in conjunction with "recorded docs," you can learn quite a lot about a piece of property.
If you're researching a county court case, it's always a good idea to check the Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court for court minutes on a particular case. On occasion, you can find what need there and skip the trip to downtown Phoenix.
Like the clerk's site, this is another online court resource with a separate website. Mostly minor flaps like evictions, "Judge Judy"-type small-claims disputes, and traffic offenses.
Another excellent site. This one carries most of the municipal-court stuff. Good for looking up traffic tickets, minor court cases, and basic info on minor and major cases from various city and county courts from around the state.
Information is power — use your power responsibly.