The California Court System
California is home to one of the largest court systems in the United States. Filing nearly nine million cases in its lifetime, the system has served over 37 million people (Darling). The California system can be separated into three branches. The first branch is known as the Supreme Court of California, and they are the state’s highest court. They review cases involving judgments of death and misconduct among attorneys. They also have the power to review cases that have been conducted in lower court systems. The second branch is known as the Courts of Appeal. This branch is California’s ‘intermediate’ court. Most of the cases that are submitted to this branch are decided by three judge panels, and the results are published. The jurisdiction of this branch covers the same amount of jurisdiction as its lower counterpart in the Superior branch. The third branch of the California Court System is the Superior Courts branch. This branch has jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases. This is the lowest court in the California system, and therefore it sees the greatest volume of cases. Within the California Court systems, there are also three different types of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction basically determines whether a court has power to determine the verdict in a particular case. The first type of jurisdiction is called exclusive jurisdiction and it means that only a certain type of court can decide a case. This can be family court or bankruptcy court. The second type of jurisdiction is general jurisdiction and this means that a court has the authority to oversee a wide variety of cases. California’s superior courts have general jurisdiction. The third type of jurisdiction is called limited jurisdiction, and it limits the authority of a court. A good example of limited jurisdiction is small claims court. While there are different branches and jurisdictions to California’s courts, the core of the judicial system...
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