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Alabama State Courts

Courts – State Courts – Alabama

Highest Court

The highest court in Alabama is the Supreme Court of Alabama.  The Supreme Court consists of 9 justices. It has jurisdiction over (1) Appeals of title to or possession of land and civil law over $50,000 and equity cases. (2) Certiorari review of Court of Civil Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals.

Intermediate Courts

Court Of Civil Appeals
The Civil Court consists of 5 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Appeals in law cases $50,000 or under. (2) Appeals from administration agencies (except Public Service Commissions ), Workmen’s compensation and domestic relations appeals. (3) Juvenile appeals: dependency, neglect, CHINS and other juvenile cases.

Court of Criminal Appeals
The Criminal Court consists of 5 judges.  It has jurisdiction over (1) Appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases involving violations of city ordinances, habeas corpus, misdemeanors or felonies, and all post conviction writs on criminal cases. (2) Original jurisdiction in the issuance of all writs in relation to matters in which the court has appellate jurisdiction. (3) Juvenile appeals, delinquency, and transfers to adult court.

General Courts
The Circuit Courts consist of 142 judges.  It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil actions $3,000 and above. (2) Felonies, misdemeanors, or ordinance violations included within a felony charge. Appeals de novo from courts of limited jurisdiction.  All Alabama jury trials take place in this court.

Limited Courts

Municipal Court
The Municipal Court consists of 253 judges.  It has jurisdiction over (1) City ordinance violations,  traffic, and non-traffic.  No jury trials are overseen by this court.

District Court
The District Court consists of 101 judges.  It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil Actions under $10,000, civil actions based on unlawful detainer, and small claims up to $3,000. (2) Misdemeanors.  Preliminary hearings for felonies (can accept guilty pleas in felony cases not punishable by sentence of death). (3) Traffic, if no municipal court. (4) Juvenile.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Probate Court
The Probate Court consists of 68 judges.  It has jurisdiction over (1) Wills, guardianship, and  executorship. Equity in administration of estates (counties greater than 4,000 population).

Additional Information:

Regular terms of court.
The Supreme Court of Alabama begins its regular terms on the first Monday of October in each year and continues until the last day of June of the ensuing year.  However, within the Court’s own discretion it may adjourn from time to time. (Section  12-2-8 of the Alabama Code)

Special Terms
The Supreme Court of Alabama may order and hold a special term as it deems. (Section 12-2-9 of the Alabama Code).

Advisory Opinions on Constitutional Questions
According the Section 12-2-10 of the Alabama Code, the Governor (by a written request) or either House of the Legislature (by an appropriate House Resolution) may obtain a written opinion from the Justices of the Supreme Court of Alabama or a majority thereof on important constitutional questions.

Original jurisdiction of courts of appeals; powers of courts as to issuance of remedial and original writs and punishment for contempt.
Each of the courts of appeals shall have and exercise original jurisdiction in the issuance and determination of writs of quo warranto and mandamus in relation to matters in which said court has appellate jurisdiction. Each court shall have authority to grant injunctions and issue writs of habeas corpus and such other remedial and original writs as are necessary to give it a general  superintendence and control of jurisdiction inferior to it and in matters over which it has exclusive appellate jurisdiction and to punish for contempts by the infliction of a fine not exceeding $100.00 and imprisonment not exceeding 10 days, or both, and to exercise such other powers as may be given to such court by law.(Section 12-3-11 of the Alabama Code)

Form, execution, return, etc., of  letters testamentary, etc., and process of probate court generally.
All letters testamentary of administration and of guardianship and all process from the probate court shall be signed by the judge or the judge’s chief clerk, bear the date of the day of issue, and conform, as nearly as possible, to those used in other courts in this state and shall be directed, executed and returned in like manner and under the same penalties unless other wise provided by law. (Section 12-13-5 Alabama Code)

Proceedings for sealing and destruction of legal and social files and records of courts, probation services, etc., pertaining to certain persons and effect thereof
Section 12-15-103 of the Alabama Code details the proceedings for the sealing and destruction of legal and social files and records of the courts, probation services.

Alabama Children’s Policy Council
The Alabama Children’s Policy was created according to Alabama Code Section 12-15-130.  The said statute directs the appointments of the members of the council and instructs the council of its responsibilities.

Inside Alabama State Courts