In Pennsylvania, two cities use Municipal Courts, and they are Pittsburg and Philadelphia. There are 36 total Municipal Court judges in Pennsylvania. They serve six-year terms and are elected into office in odd-numbered year elections. They can be re-elected an unlimited number of times. However, they must retire at age 75. All Pennsylvania judges are held to a strict code of ethical and legal conduct.
The types of cases resolved in Municipal Courts revolve around local city ordinance laws. Some examples would be real property cases of up to $15,000, small clams up to $12,000, landlord/tenant disputes, civil actions and lawsuits, preliminary hearings for felonies, misdemeanor crimes, ordinance violations and a lot of traffic infractions and parking violations. In Philadelphia, Municipal Courts process more misdemeanor cases than any other court in the state. These courts also process bail hearings.
The Unified Justice System of Pennsylvania’s website has a listing of each Municipal Court judge in both cities. The details include name, address/courthouse location, and phone numbers for contact. Since many of the cases tried in Municipal Courts are self-represented, the website also has a lot of resources to help patrons navigate the legal system. They offer a section of forms broken down into categories for specific types of litigants or cases; they offer online payments for things like fees, fines, bail and traffic tickets and also an e-filing option for most types of courts and cases. Additionally, they offer a brochure for the general public to instruct them on the normal flow of a criminal or civil case as it proceeds through the legal system. The site also includes the history of the courts, public records search, ADA accommodations, latest news, statistics and a list of helpful FAQs.