In California, the court system is divided into two systems, trial courts and appellate courts. Trial courts consist are the Superior Courts and appellate courts consist of 6 Courts of Appeal and 1 Supreme Court. Trial Courts The state of California has 58 counties, each with its own Superior (trial) court(s). For these 58 counties, there are about 450 facilities that are utilized to hear cases, such as small claims court for example. These courts also have jurisdiction over criminal cases to include felonies, misdemeanors and traffic violations.
Superior Court also has jurisdiction over civil cases such as, probate, family, juvenile and other general civil laws. Court of Appeals The next level of the court system in California is the Court of Appeals. California has 6 districts divided into it for the each Court of Appeal. This court has a panel of three Justices that review cases that come from Superior (trial) court and decide whether or not the Superior Court mishandled the case or committed any legal errors.
However, in the event that the case in question is about a death sentence ruled by a Superior Court, the case will bypass the Court of Appeals and automatically get routed to the Supreme Court for review. In the event that the case is a limited civil case, meaning the case is an issue of less than 25,000 dollars, or a misdemeanor case, the Superior Court’s own appellate division will review such matters. Supreme Court The Supreme Court is the highest level any case can go in the state and there is only one.
The Supreme Court will review cases that have been ruled by the Court of Appeals and other cases that don’t necessarily even end up in the Court of Appeals such as, death penalty cases and cases that involve judges and attorneys. In the Supreme Court, there are 7 Justices on the panel that must review and determine their own judgment and at least four of the seven justices must agree on the case for there to be a ruling. It is mandatory that all other state courts honor the Supreme Court’s ruling.
References Judicial Council of California / Administrative Office of the Courts. (2012). Judicial Branch Home: About California Courts. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from California Courts Website: http://www. courts. ca. gov/2113. htm Superior Court of California, County of Glenn. (2012). Structure of California Court System. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from Superior Court of California, County of Glenn: http://www. glenncourt. ca. gov/general_info/teachers/structure. html.