MINOT, N.D. — For some time now the State of North Dakota has maintained an online database through which any member of the public can search for criminal and civil cases.
When you searched all you got, though, was as sort of docket for each file. Useful for detecting the existence of, say, a traffic ticket or a civil suit but not terribly informative in terms of details.
For those, you would have to go to the court clerks and request actual documents.
Starting this year, thanks to rule change promulgated by the North Dakota Supreme Court, that database now allows you to download those documents directly, and the information included is probably going to alarm a lot of you.
For instance, the grisly crime scene and medical examination photos from a recent high-profile criminal case (I won’t name it as I won’t encourage morbid lookie-loos) are just a few clicks of the mouse away, as are photos of a child involved in that same case.