California’s Court System is made up of three divisions: The Supreme Court, The Court of Appeals (both of which are appellate courts) and then the Superior Courts which are state-level, trial courts. Most cases begin in one of the 58 Superior Courts in the state. There is one in each of the 58 counties. Superior Courts hear not only civil and criminal cases but also cases pertaining to probate, mental health, family issues, traffic violations, and juvenile delinquency problems.
The Court of Appeals reviews cases that originate in the Superior Court. There are six appellate districts each with a court that reviews decisions made at the trial level. Then if there is still an issue, the case moves up to the Supreme Court which is the highest court in the state. The Supreme Court automatically reviews any case where the death penalty is an option.
Superior Courts have 1,743 judges presiding. They average 5,837,625 filings in one year and 4,768,103 dispositions. The Court of Appeals has 106 justices presiding. These courts record 18,717 filings per year and average 20,824 dispositions. The Supreme Court has only 1 Chief Justice and then six associate justices. This court sees 7,317 filings every year with 92 written opinions.
California honors the Freedom of Information Act through its California Rules of Court, rule 2.400(a) law. Therefore, almost all court documents are available to the public upon request. The only types of court records that are not available to the public are sealed or confidential records. These might include trade secrets from a high-level corporate case. Additionally, according to federal law, certain private information must be removed from court records that are publicly available. Things like bank account numbers, children’s names, juror information, home address, and other sensitive data must be redacted from court documents before making them public.
California’s Judicial website is detailed and provides first-time users of the system a lot of helpful information to navigate through the court system. They provide all forms needed to file documentation manually, and they also offer an e-filing option as well. They have a list of all courthouses so that users know where to file their forms once they are filled out. The first packet of information required is called Judicial Council Forms. The state’s website also has step-by-step instructions on how to fill these forms out online. Additionally, they have links to videos to help with the process. They even address the process for filing a “non-form pleading.”
Use Infotracer to search for California court records quickly and easily! Access hundreds of court cases in CA, including Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, and Riverside County. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act through California’s Rules of Court, code 2.400(a), Infotracer’s extensive database includes criminal court records, civil cases, family court issues such as divorce, bankruptcies, and more.
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In 2012, the California courts received 8,375,563 filings. In 2016, the number of filings decreased by 22.6% and counted 6,486,398 filings and had 5,770,212 outgoing cases
|Court Type||Incoming Caseloads|
Domestic relations caseload of California at year end of 2016 has decreased by 1.0% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 392,873 but are higher than in 2015.
|Year||Domestic Relations Caseload||Total Statewide Caseload|
The number of criminal cases in California courts counts to 1,361,390, with 266,124 felony cases and 1,095,266 misdemeanors accordingly.
|Year||Criminal Caseload||Misdemeanor Caseload||Felony Caseload|
California’s Superior Courts are the trial courts for the state. Prior to June of 1998, the state had both Municipal Courts and Superior Courts, but voters amended the system with Proposition 220, and they merged Superior and Municipal Courts into one unified system. There are 58 trial courts in the state, one in each county with 1,743 judges presiding. Superior Courts resolve both criminal and civil cases along with juvenile, family, probate, mental health cases, and traffic violations. These courts average about 5,837,625 filings per year and 4,768,103 dispositions. The Superior Courts resolve the majority of all cases in California.