Duncan Kuehn (also her site here) wrote a nice post earlier this week at FamilySearch.org's blog about using old newspapers to find court documents on our ancestors. She uses GenealogyBank for her examples. I've had great luck with Newspapers.com and NewspaperArchive as well--they all have slightly different holdings.
She notes some reasons for why a newspaper would have such information:
There are a number of reasons; three come immediately to mind. The first being that there was a legal requirement, in many cases, to publish the date of a hearing so that those who were affected could come and participate. Second, it has always been a part of the American justice system to have an open court, except in unusual circumstances. And lastly, before the advent of TV, this was actually a form of entertainment [emphasis mine].
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