Courts in Vermont

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More information on Vermont's state courts:
Selection methods
Federal courts

Courts in Vermont consist of the state court system and two federal courts.

The structure of Vermont's state court system.

State courts

As of July 1, 2010, the newly-structured Vermont court system is made up of the Supreme Court, the superior courts, the probate courts and the Judicial Bureau. The probate courts became a division of the superior courts on February 1, 2011.[1][2]

Appellate Courts

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Vermont Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Vermont and the state's only appellate court. It also administers the rest of the court system.[3]

Trial Courts

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Vermont Superior Courts

There are 14 superior courts, one in each county. Each superior court has a criminal, civil, family and probate Court division.[4]

Other courts

  • The environmental division of the state's superior courts has statewide jurisdiction over environmental and land use issues and hears appeals from the Agency of Natural Resources.[5]
  • The Judicial Bureau operates under the supervision of the Supreme Court and deals with complaints issued by law enforcement officers. It conducts hearings to prove the innocence or guilt of a defendant accused of violating a state law or municipal ordinance.[6]
  • Each county elects two assistant judges, or "side judges," who have some judicial responsibilities in traffic and family court cases. These judges also serve an administrative role in the county.[7][8]

Court restructuring

Governor Jim Douglas signed bill H.470 into law on June 3, 2010. The 369-page law restructured the complex Vermont court system. Its primary purpose was to unify all of the state courts under the authority of the Vermont Supreme Court. It also included other cost-cutting measures, such as encouraging the use of new money-saving technologies, cutting over 35 administrative jobs and reducing the salaries of local probate judges. The new law was expected to save the state $1 million per year. Chief Justice Paul Reiber explained that the changes would not affect the administration of justice, stating, "[w]e are ensuring that Vermont still follows the rule of law with open courts and fair trials."[9][10]

Federal courts

There are two federal courts in Vermont, the District of Vermont and the District of Vermont Bankruptcy Court.[11]

Appeals from these federal courts are heard in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

See also

External links


VermontVermont Supreme CourtVermont Superior CourtsVermont Probate CourtVermont Judicial BureauUnited States District Court for the District of VermontUnited States bankruptcy court, District of VermontUnited States Court of Appeals for the Second CircuitVermont countiesVermont judicial newsVermont judicial electionsJudicial selection in VermontVermontTemplate.jpg