Part of our job here at CourtReference – in addition to making sure that court contact information and links to court websites and other resources are up to date – is to provide a brief explanation of each state’s trial court system. When you select a state on CourtReference, the next page you see has a list of that state’s trial courts, an explanation of each, and a chart showing which types of cases are heard by each court.
Most state trial court systems are fairly simple, with one or two levels of general-jurisdiction courts in each county. We’ve … Read More
Last month we discussed judges (Justices of the Peace and Magistrates) who are not required to have law degrees, and whose courts have jurisdiction over areas larger than a city or town. Judges of city, town, village, and other municipal courts in many states are also not required to have law degrees or be practicing lawyers. These judges only have geographical jurisdiction over their own municipality, and in many states their subject-matter jurisdiction is limited to violations of the municipality’s ordinances.
We reviewed New York’s Town Courts and Village Courts in a 2010 post; with over 1200 such courts, … Read More
Court systems continue to develop new ways of streamlining their procedures to reduce their expenses and backlog, and to improve customer service. Last year we noted the rise of telephonic court appearances for self-represented parties in some types of hearings. But “phoning it in” isn’t the only way to avoid a trip to the courthouse. In some areas, it is now possible to contest your traffic ticket by mail.
While telephone hearings are limited to routine motions that don’t require presentation of evidence or sworn testimony, traffic ticket mail contests are the real thing: the determination of guilt or innocence. … Read More
Recognizing that the most influential people in a teenager’s life are often peers, Seattle is adding its first Youth Traffic Court, set to convene for the first time this month. The court will be staffed entirely by Garfield High School students, who will serve as judge, jury, attorneys, bailiffs and court clerks. The students have all received training in these positions from Seattle University law students.
Any Seattle driver younger than 18 who admits to the traffic violation he or she is accused of may appear in Seattle Youth Traffic Court. Following the philosophy of restorative justice, the teen … Read More
Most citizens’ encounters with the legal system take place at the local level, often as a result of a traffic ticket. If you don’t live in the area and don’t know where to find the courthouse or court clerk’s office, how do you find it? What if the information was on that traffic ticket that you misplaced?
CourtReference can help. We provide contact information for all levels of trial courts, from the county’s highest trial court that hears capital murder and complex commercial cases to the village municipal court that hears speeding and town ordinance violations.
Some states include municipal … Read More
In addition to federal laws and state laws, there are also laws created by a city or town, which are called municipal ordinances. A municipal ordinance is only applicable within the boundaries of the municipality. In many states, there are specific courts which deal only with cases involving violations of municipal ordinances, called Municipal Courts. If you have ever received a traffic ticket, and fought it in court, then you likely encountered a municipal court.
The types of cases heard in Municipal courts can include infractions and certain minor criminal offenses such as misdemeanors. An infraction can include a parking … Read More