Courts in Massachusetts
|More information on Massachusetts's state courts:|
Courts in Massachusetts consist of the state court system and two federal courts.
The Appeals Court is the intermediate appellate court in the state.
There are seven departments of trial courts in Massachusetts. These departments are managed by a chief justice for administration and management.
- These courts have exclusive jurisdiction over first degree murder cases and general jurisdiction in civil actions over $25,000, labor disputes and all other crimes.
- These courts have jurisdiction over most criminal cases, including felonies punishable by less than five years, small claims involving less than $2,000 and civil cases involving less than $25,000. Most counties in the state have multiple district courts.
- These courts have jurisdiction over any property or its use that affects the health, safety or welfare of the user.
- These courts have jurisdiction over cases such as delinquency, adoption and child protection services.
- These courts have statewide jurisdiction over the registration and disputes of property titles.
- These courts have jurisdiction over family matters such as divorce, child support, custody and adoption. They also hear cases having to do with wills, guardianships and changes of name.
- These courts have concurrent jurisdiction with the superior courts in all criminal cases that do not provide for a state prison sentence in excess of five years, and over certain specified crimes for which the maximum penalty exceeds five years. The court also has general civil jurisdiction.
Appeals from these courts go to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
An organization in Boston, Mass., called Roca, Inc. uses the Peacemaking Circle as an alternative way to deal with conflict. To help maintain a healthy community, the organization helps homeless youth, gang members and teenagers solve their problems before it leads to a prison sentence.
- The Massachusetts Judicial Branch, "About the Court"
- The Massachusetts Court System, "Superior Court Department"
- The Massachusetts Court System, "District Courts"
- The Massachusetts Court System, "Housing Courts"
- The Massachusetts Court System, "Juvenile Courts, Jurisdiction"
- The Massachusetts Court System, "Land Courts, Jurisdiction"
- The Massachusetts Courts System, "Probate and Family Court Department"
- Massachusetts Legislature, "Jurisdiction"
- Massachusetts Legislature, "Trials by Jury"
- Findlaw.com, "U.S. Bankruptcy Courts"
- Restorativejustice.org, "Summary: Holding the Space: The Journey of Circles at ROCA