What to Expect When Going to the Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse

Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse serves as the main location for hearings for Sacramento County. The courthouse was originally built in 1965. It received the current name in a ceremony in 2002. The courthouse is named after a community advocate, philanthropist and legal scholar. Gordon D. Schaber was also the dean of the McGeorge School of Law for over three decades. The renaming ceremony involved Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy who was a previous student of Gordon Schaber. The courthouse has an extensive staff that includes 40 judges and the office of the Presiding Judge. Tens of thousands of cases are heard in the courthouse every year. The courthouse handles everything from civil and juvenile cases to criminal cases.

Records Counters

The first floor of the Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse contains a number of records counters and storage areas. There are separate counters for civil and criminal records. It is possible to request different court records and documents at these counters. Civil records are kept within the courthouse for three years before being moved to an off-site storage center. Criminal cases are generally not stored in the courthouse. Requests for off-site records can take up to five days to fulfill.

Civil Court

The Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse handles a large number of civil cases every year. Civil cases involve disputes between average citizens about money, property, personal injuries or contracts. Civil cases can be filed on the first floor. There are also counters where people can ask questions about civil cases. The civil courtrooms are on the upper levels of the six-story building. Civil cases are divided into two types. Limited civil cases involve damages under $25,000. Unlimited civil cases involve damages above that amount.

Criminal Court

There are several criminal courtrooms in the Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse. Criminal cases involve illegal activities. The penalties are usually harsher than civil cases and could include prison time. Defendants accused of a crime are often held in a jail until the court date unless the bail amount set by a judge is paid. Bail bond agencies help defendants to post bail so that it is not necessary to wait in jail. Bail bond agents can come to the courthouse or the jail to pay the amount ordered by the judge. The money paid is largely returned once the criminal trial ends. Most criminal trials are heard before a jury of normal citizens.

Jury Rooms

The second floor of the Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse contains a jury room. Over 1,500 potential jurors come into these rooms every week. The system currently in place states that if a juror is not assigned to a trial by the end of the first day, then that juror is free to go home. Four out of five jurors go home after just one day of service.

Waiting Room for Children

A final area in the Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse is the waiting room for children. The room is a supervised part of the courthouse that contains toys, tables and play areas for kids. People coming to the court can leave children in this safe area while conducting business. The waiting room is for children under 12 years of age and is free for people who have legitimate business within the courthouse.