It can be difficult for voters to find information regarding judicial elections - this page is designed to help you understand the subject a little bit better. The League of Women Voters Guide to Judicial Elections, prepared in collaboration with the U.C. Davis Political Science Department, CVF and other organizations, features an explanation of the California court system and a helpful chart showing the heirarchy of the courts.
California's judicial system consists of trial courts and appellate courts. Voters are responsible for electing judges to fill vacancies in both types of courts.
Trial courts are divided into superior and municipal courts. Each of California's 58 counties has one superior court, which handles felony cases and civil cases over $25,000. The municipal courts handle lesser crimes and civil cases under $25,000.
If a trial court decision is appealed, it moves on to either a court of appeal, or in some cases, directly to California's Supreme Court. Voters will elect Supreme Court justices in the November general election.
The official California Courts homepage describes in detail the history and purpose of the various types of courts in the state, and provides information on a wide range of topics relating to our judicial system.
Two of the measures on the June 2nd ballot relate to California's judicial system. Visit CVF's ballot measure page to learn more about Prop 220, which addresses superior and municipal court consolidation, and Prop 221, regarding the performance of judicial officers.
The California Voter Foundation plans to provide more information on this topic in the future. In the meantime, we suggest you look to your local newspaper for further coverage of local judicial elections, and visit some of the sites linked below.
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