Divisions of Superior Court
Special Sessions of Superior Court
The Superior Court hears civil,
and juvenile matters.
Civil Division hears cases in which someone is being sued to protect
civil, personal or property rights. Typical cases include automobile or
personal accidents, landlord-tenant disputes, product or professional
liability disputes, and disputed contracts.
In most civil cases, the accusing party (the plaintiff) wants money damages (judgment or award) from
the other party (the defendant). Cases may be decided by a judge, a jury or
by a non-judicial officer, depending on the nature of the claim and the
preference of the parties. Landlord-tenant cases and small claims cases are
usually heard in geographical area courts. Administrative appeals and civil
jury and non-jury cases are usually heard in judicial district courthouses.
Tax cases are heard in a special tax session.
Information on Special Sessions.
The Civil Division is divided into five parts or types:
- Administrative Appeals;
- Civil Jury;
- Civil Non-Jury;
- Landlord-Tenant, including evictions (called summary process);
- Small Claims
Criminal Division hears cases where the state is
prosecuting a person (the defendant) who is accused of breaking the law. The
state is represented by a state's attorney.
There are three kinds of criminal cases, depending on the severity of the offense:
- Crimes which include felonies - punishable by prison sentences more than one year - and misdemeanors - punishable by prison sentences of one year or less;
- violations which include motor vehicle cases punishable by a fine only; and,
- Infractions where a fine may be paid by mail without requiring a court appearance (for example, traffic tickets).
All criminal cases but the most serious ones are heard in geographical area courts around the state.
Family Division hears cases involving juveniles and
family relationships. Typical cases include divorce, child custody, child
support, relief from abuse (temporary restraining orders), juvenile
delinquency, child abuse and neglect, and termination of parental
rights. Most family cases are heard in judicial district courthouses.
Cases involving juveniles are heard in juvenile court facilities described below.
Juvenile Matters is a special subdivision of Superior
Court designed to protect the rights of children, family relationships and
confidentiality. There are twelve Juvenile Courts state-wide. All records of
juvenile matters are confidential.
All juvenile matters cases either involve care of the
minor child or the child's behavior.
Cases in juvenile court include: termination of parental rights;
emancipation of a minor; delinquency; neglected or uncared for children and youth; families with service