California Judiciary

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The California Judiciary refers to the judicial organs of the State of California. The Judiciary, like other state court systems, is a multilevel system. This judiciary is one of the largest in the United States, with several thousand judges and many support personnel. The first instance part is the Superior Court of California, since the separate municipal (inferior) courts were merged into the Superior Court beginning in 1998.[1] All matters start here. The first appellate courts are known as Courts of Appeal, where all appeals are first heard. Above the Courts of Appeal, there is the California Supreme Court, which has final input in all cases regarding state laws, save for those alleging unconstitutionality. Fewer cases are heard at each level, as both of the appellate bodies have the ability to reject an appeal.

California law includes an automatic direct appeal to the California Supreme Court for capital (death penalty) convictions, leading to backlogs.


  1. History and Functions, from the Superior Court of California, County of Shasta