Sacramento Superior Court Receives Innovation Award
The Court received the Court Information Technology Officers Consortium (CITOC) 2013 Innovation in Technology Award for the development and implementation of the Public Case Access System and the Public Case Kiosk System in the Traffic Division.
The Court's Public Case Access System enables customers to review all activity and related documents in their case, dispose of their case through their web browser, pay their tickets online and review their red light traffic videos.
The Court's Public Case Kiosk System allows customers to check-in and access information on their case by simply swiping their driver's license. The kiosk also allows payment of their ticket and automates the hearing process if they choose to go to court. The case is then called in the order it was received from the kiosk enabling cases to be heard by a judge in a shorter period of time and reducing the time a person spends at the courthouse.
Please read the news release for more information.
Assistant Presiding Judge Election
Judge Kevin R. Culhane was elected by the Sacramento Superior Court bench to the position of Assistant Presiding Judge. Judge Culhane's term will commence on January 1, 2014 and will continue through December 31, 2015. Judge Culhane will also serve as the Acting Presiding Judge in the Presiding Judge's absence.
Read the news release for more information.
Presiding Judge Election
On September 19, 2013, the judges of the Sacramento Superior Court elected Judge Robert Hight as their next Presiding Judge.
Judge Hight's term will run from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2015. He will replace current Presiding Judge Laurie M. Earl.
Please read the news release for more information.
Presiding Judge Laurie Earl to Receive the Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence
Presiding Judge Laurie Earl has been named as one of the 2013 Distinguished Service Award winners by the Judicial Council. Judge Earl will receive the Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence. The Service Award is the highest honor given by the council to recognize those who have made significant contributions to access to justice and the administration of justice.
The award will be presented later this year in San Francisco.
For more information, read the Judicial Council's press release - external link.
Presiding Judge Laurie Earl Named 2013 Judge of the Year
The Sacramento County Bar Association has named Presiding Judge Laurie Earl as the 2013 Judge of the Year.
Criteria for the award include: commitment to principles of the SCBA Mission Statement (To enhance the system of justice, the lawyers who serve it and the community served by it); commitment to fair and equitable administration of the courts; Respected for legal abilities by fellow judges and attorneys who appear before him/her; Known for appropriate judicial demeanor and lack of bias; Demonstrated service to the Sacramento community at large.
The Judge of the Year award will be presented to Judge Earl on September 12, 2013 at the SCBA's annual Bench-Bar Reception.
Judge James Mize is Named Judicial Officer of the Year
Judge James Mize has been named Judicial Officer of the Year by the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California. He will be honored on October 11, 2013 at the Family Law Section Reception at the State Bar Conference in San Jose, CA.
For more information, read the news release.
One Day Divorce
Sacramento Superior Court announces a new program to help cooperating couples, or single parties whose spouses have defaulted, to complete a simple divorce in one day. After the initial filing and serving of the petition, unrepresented litigants can attain a fast, affordable and most important--a fair resolution of their simple divorce.
In a time when budget cuts are forcing courts all over California to limit services to the public, judges and court professionals from the Sacramento Superior Court are leading efforts to innovate improvements to the administration of justice in Family Law.
Judge James Mize of the Sacramento Superior Court has created the first "One Day Divorce" program in the state. Family Law attorneys and law students volunteer to help litigants through the one-day process. The first step is for litigants to sit down with one or more pro tem judges who discuss the terms of the couple's proposed agreement. The next step is accomplished with help from law students and your attorney volunteers. Finally, if all the formal documents are completed and if the pro tem judges have approved the case for One Day Divorce treatment, the parties appear in the courtroom of Judge James Mize who will grant the appropriate relief. In 95% of all cases, the parties leave the courtroom with the final and formal documents in their hands and nothing else left to be done to obtain their judgment of dissolution or legal separation.
In California, 72% of family law litigants do not have lawyers. Simple divorces are complicated for self-represented litigants and, as a result, many cases languish in and congest the court system for months and even years. One of the biggest complaints about courts, and family courts in particular, is that the process takes too long to complete. The "One Day Divorce" program was created to help solve these problems.
To date, this program has only been offered as a pilot project for a limited number of litigants from court-based referrals. Since the pilot program began in December 2012, 25 cases have been successfully resolved.
Litigants participating in the program during the pilot phase had plenty to say about the experience. "I always had the feeling that the system was out to get me. Today the system was actually working for me," said Jason S., who made his first filing for divorce three years ago. Frustrated after having his paperwork rejected and not knowing how to proceed, he and his spouse discontinued the divorce process while living separate lives. Through the "One Day Divorce" program, he and his spouse spent one day in court getting the necessary assistance with their case, then left the same day with a signed judgment that meant their divorce was finalized.
Another participant, Aaron M. indicated "the lawyers made the process a lot more effective. No more time off work, back and forth to court. Just flat out GOT IT DONE." John G. commented, "This class took away my stress of dealing with this by myself. Thank you guys very much."
Based on the success of the program thus far, Judge Mize has announced that the "One Day Divorce" program will "go live" on April 12, 2013 at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse. Visit the One Day Divorce Program web page for more information on how you can be a part of this history-making program.
Domestic Violence Restraining Order Workshop
Beginning September 7, 2011, the Sacramento Superior Court, in partnership with My Sister's House, will be offering a domestic violence restraining order workshop on Wednesdays at 8:45 a.m. at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse. This new workshop is in addition to the domestic violence restraining order workshops already being offered on Mondays and Fridays. The Wednesday workshop will be conducted by an attorney employed by My Sister's House. A Spanish language interpreter will be present at the workshop, as is currently done in the Monday and Friday workshops.
The domestic violence restraining order workshops assist individuals in completing the required forms to apply for a domestic violence restraining order. Workshops are conducted by court paralegals or attorney volunteers. Spanish language interpreters and other volunteers are also present to assist Spanish-speaking customers complete the forms. At the conclusion of the three-hour workshop, customers are given the opportunity to file their application to receive a restraining order the same day.
Customers interested in attending the workshop must go to the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse located at 3341 Power Inn Road on the morning of the workshop. The courthouse is located near the Power Inn Light Rail station. No appointment is required to attend the workshop. Due to the high demand and space limitations, customers should plan to arrive promptly by 8:45 a.m. Bring with you any police reports related to the domestic violence and photo identification.
Daily Trial Calendar
The Sacramento Superior Court's Daily Trial Calendar provides the case name, the judge assigned to the case, the department and floor location, and the case type. The calendar is updated and published daily.
Civil Self-Help Center
The Civil Self-Help Center provides workshops and individual assistance with a variety of civil legal issues. There are no income requirements to receive the free services. For more information, visit the Civil Self-Help Center - external link web page.
The Civil Self-Help Center is located in the Sacramento County Public Law Library, 609 9th Street, in downtown Sacramento.
Courtroom Observation Process
If you are coming to the courthouse to observe a trial, please read the Courtroom Observation Process.
If you are getting married, you will need a marriage license. Do not come to the courthouse for a marriage license. Marriage licenses are available at the Sacramento County Clerk Recorder's Office - external link, located at the corner of "F" and 8th Streets in downtown Sacramento.
Visit the Court Services page for locations and phone numbers.