Courts in California

Federal Courts: California’s federal court system consists of four district courts, namely the United States District Court for the Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California. Appeals from these districts are directed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

State Courts: The state court system in California comprises the following:

State Supreme Court: The California Supreme Court, founded in 1849, serves as the state’s court of last resort, with seven judgeships.

State Court of Appeals: California’s intermediate appellate courts are divided into six judicial districts, known as the California Courts of Appeal. These courts handle cases challenging decisions made in superior courts.

Trial Courts (Superior Courts): The California Superior Courts serve as the trial courts for the state’s court system, present in all 58 counties. They hear a wide range of cases, including civil, criminal, family, probate, and juvenile matters.

Judicial Selection: California employs various methods for judicial selection:

Federal Judges: Federal district court judges are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, serving life terms.

State Appellate Judges: Appellate judges in California are chosen through gubernatorial appointment followed by commission confirmation.

Trial Judges: Trial judges in California are elected by popular nonpartisan vote.

Bankruptcy Courts: California has federal bankruptcy courts aligned with each federal district court, serving the same boundaries. These courts have subject-matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases.

  • Alameda
  • Amador
  • Alpine
  • Butte
  • Calaveras
  • Colusa
  • Contra Costa
  • Del Norte
  • El Dorado
  • Fresno
  • Glenn
  • Humboldt
  • Imperial
  • Inyo
  • Kern
  • Kings
  • Lake
  • Lassen
  • Los Angeles
  • Madera
  • Marin
  • Mariposa
  • Mendocino
  • Merced
  • Modoc
  • Mono
  • Monterey
  • Napa
  • Nevada
  • Orange
  • Placer
  • Plumas
  • Riverside
  • Sacramento
  • San Benito
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Joaquin
  • San Luis Obispo
  • San Mateo
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Clara
  • Santa Cruz
  • Sonoma
  • Shasta
  • Sierra
  • Siskiyou
  • Solano
  • Stanislaus
  • Sutter
  • Tehama
  • Trinity
  • Tulare
  • Tuolumne
  • Ventura
  • Yolo
  • Yuba