Pennsylvania Supreme Court
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is the highest court in the state and also the oldest appellate court in the entire nation. It reviews direct appeals from lower courts, including those about death sentences issued and the delivery of bodies from illegal holdings. Also, it reviews requests to intervene in decisions of lower courts, including discretionary appeals that are brought forth in the Superior and Commonwealth courts. To contact the Supreme Court prothonotary, call 717-787-6181 or visit the Pennsylvania court website by clicking here.
In the state of Pennsylvania, the Superior Court is in charge of two main aspects of the judiciary. They handle appeals on any matter regarding children and families, and they are also responsible for overseeing appeals in criminal and certain civil cases from the Courts of Common Pleas.
The Commonwealth Courts in Pennsylvania are equal in height to the Superior Court and just beneath the state Supreme Court in power. As for what the Commonwealth Courts are responsible for, this portion of the judiciary oversees original civil actions that are brought by and against the Pennsylvania Commonwealth and is an appellate court for those decisions made the Courts of Common Pleas and various Pennsylvania agencies.
Courts of Common Pleas
The Courts of Common Pleas deal with exactly the kinds of issues you expect. Specifically, these courts oversee cases that involve families and children. They are responsible for appeals that are not specifically assigned to other Pennsylvania courts. And finally, the Courts of Common Pleas also handle appeals from the lowest tier of the court system, the minor courts.
The lowest tier of the court system in Pennsylvania is made up of minor courts. These courts oversee preliminary hearings and arrangements. They set and accept bail, unless the case in question involves murder or voluntary manslaughter. Finally, these courts also determine whether or not serious criminal cases make their way to the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas.
How to Find a Court in Pennsylvania
In the event you would like to find a court in the state of Pennsylvania, the first thing you have to do is decide what court you are looking for. As mentioned above, the Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Courts, Courts of Common Pleas and Minor Courts all have different jurisdictions. Once you have decided which court you need, go online and search for courts in your area.
Residents of the state of Pennsylvania may be required to attend jury duty. If you ever receive a notice in the mail that you have been selected to sit in on a given case, then it is your responsibility as a citizen of the United States to respond to your summons and go to the applicable court. No matter what state you live in, jury duty is not optional.
If you are worried that you are going to miss too much time at work or at school, depending on your situation, it is important to keep one thing in mind: Just because you are asked to come in for jury duty does not mean you will be selected for the case. Click here to learn more.