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Public Notice:

Starting June 3rd, clerk hours will be expanding to 8:00 - 3:30

Community Outreach

Student Art Exhibit

The time has come again!!!The Superior Court of San Benito County is calling on all student artists to show their artwork for our second annual Student’s Art Exhibit!!!! This year’s theme is San Benito County (What I love, landmarks, people, etc.)!! Deadline for artwork submissions are May 31st, 2024!!! Please leave a telephone number for the resource team to contact.

Ha llegado el tiempo otra vez!!!!!!! El Tribunal Superior del Condado de San Benito hace un llamado a todos los estudiantes artistas para que muestren sus obras de arte en la Segunda exhibicion anual de arte estudiantil!!!! El tema de este añό es el condado de San Benito (lo que me encanta los puntos de referencia, la gente, etc.)!!!! El último día para enviar la obra de arte es el 31 de mayo de 2024!!!! Deje un nύmero de teléfono para que el equipo de recursos se pueda contactar. Gracias!!

Student Art Exhibit Flyer 

Folleto de La Exposición de Arte de Los Estudiantes 

Law Day

Calling all Students in San Benito County: Read More for a Scholarship Opportunity!!!

Every year on May 1st, Law Day is observed as a nationwide event dedicated to honoring the principles of the rule of law. This occasion serves as a chance to appreciate the role of law and the legal system in safeguarding our freedom, working towards justice, and upholding the collective freedoms cherished by all Americans.

Law Day

For more information, click here: Law Day | Superior Court of California | County of San Benito

Judges in the Classroom

This program focuses on helping teachers engage students with lessons on the U.S. Constitution and historical milestones in America's democracy. Connect with Judges in the Classroom by requesting a virtual or in-person visit for your K-12 classroom.

Civics Lesson Plans and Resources for Elementary, Middle, and High School Students click here:

The California Court System

Understanding the California Judicial System

California's judicial structure is bifurcated into federal and state systems, with this overview focusing on the latter. The state’s judiciary consists primarily of Trial Courts and Appellate Courts, each serving distinct functions.

Trial Courts (Superior Courts)

Known interchangeably as Superior Courts, California’s 58 Trial Courts—one per county—serve as the foundation of the state’s judicial system. Here, judges and occasionally juries, deliberate over cases, weighing evidence and testimonies to render verdicts grounded in legal principles.

These courts preside over:

  • Criminal cases, including felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic violations
  • Civil cases spanning family law, probate, juvenile, and additional categories
  • Appeals from small claims and civil cases valued under $25,000
  • Appeals of misdemeanor cases

Appellate Courts

Above the Trial Courts, the Appellate Courts, consisting of Courts of Appeal and the California Supreme Court, serve as the next tier of the judiciary.

Courts of Appeal

Six in total, the Courts of Appeal function as intermediary appellate courts. They are strategically situated across distinct districts:

  • First District – San Francisco
  • Second District – Los Angeles
  • Third District – Sacramento
  • Fourth District: Division One – San Diego
  • Fifth District – Fresno
  • Sixth District – San Jose

These courts entertain appeals emanating from the Superior Courts.

California Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the state's highest court. It can review cases decided by the Courts of Appeal. Also, certain kinds of cases go directly to the Supreme Court and are not heard first in the Court of Appeal:

  • Death penalty appeals
  • Disciplinary cases involving judges or lawyers

The Court conducts regular sessions in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. Sometimes, the Court holds special sessions in other cities in California.

There are 7 justices on the Supreme Court, and at least 4 must agree on the final decision. All other State courts in California must follow a decision made in the Supreme Court. Decisions of the Supreme Court are published in the California Official Reports, which can be found on the California Courts website at

The justices are appointed by the Governor then confirmed by the voters at the next general election. After the end of their 12-year term, they must be confirmed by the voters again. The justices must be lawyers. They must have passed the California Bar Examination or have served as a judge of a court of record in California for 10 years just before their appointment.

Court Visits & School Tours

  • Courthouse visits (individuals):  Generally, all Court proceedings are open to the public, with the exceptions of Juvenile Justice Court, Juvenile Dependency Court and select closed hearings.  
  • Members of the public DO NOT need to schedule an appointment to observe Court and participate as an audience member. Courtroom seating is limited and audience members are generally admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Courtroom proceedings for each facility are posted daily for the public to view. For additional assistance about Courthouse calendars, contact the Court’s mainline at (831)636-4057 .
  • Courthouse visits (groups/schools): For groups wishing to arrange a court visit, tour or mock trial, please email, providing the following information:
    • Organizer’s name
    • Organizer’s phone number
    • Name of the organization
    • Number of participants
    • Age/Grade of participants
    • Proposed visit dates/availability
    • Brief description of visit’s purpose
    • The Court offers three types of experiences for students: visits (observation), guided tours and mock trials.

Mock Trials

A “mock trial” is a simulation of a court trial. Our program offers students the opportunity to participate in a rehearsed, interactive fictional trial so that they can learn firsthand the Court’s role in the judicial branch of government.

  • Students play the roles of attorneys, witnesses, jurors and judge
  • Accommodates anywhere from six to 20 active participants (generally, there is no limit on the number of audience members)
  • Open to all educational, community-based organizations
  • Before day of mock trial in the courthouse, students must already had prepare and rehearse roles.
  • Below are links to resource materials, including instructions and mock trial cases:

For groups wishing to arrange a mock trial, please email, providing the following information:

  • Organizer’s name
  • Organizer’s phone number
  • Name of the organization
  • Number of participants (split into category by students, volunteers, teachers, etc.)
  • Age/Grade of participants
  • Proposed visit dates/availability
  • Brief description of visit’s purpose

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