The Superior Court of California exercises general civil and criminal jurisdiction in every county of the state. County voters elect Superior Court judges to six-year terms. The governor appoints attorneys to fill mid-term vacancies. To be eligible for appointment or election to a judgeship, aspiring attorneys must be members of the California State Bar for at least 10 years.
The Superior Court of California for Tulare County, the Visalia Court, maintains facilities at six locations, four in Visalia, the county seat: (1) the main facility with the clerk’s office at the County Civic Center (2) the Pretrial Facility, (3) the Juvenile Justice Facility, and (4) the Family Law Facilitator, and two more in nearby Dinuba to the north and in Porterville to the southeast. If you are awaiting a trial, you might need the help of a good Visalia Bail Bonds company.
Courthouse Security and Protocol
All locations have free public all-day and three-hour parking available in designated spaces. Jurors may park in spaces reserved for them or in any general or limited parking spaces. They should display the parking permit attached to their juror summons.
For public safety, every Tulare County Superior Court visitor must pass through weapon screening before entry. Visitors should plan to allow sufficient time for this process, which may require removal of belts and items of jewelry, accessories, or clothing. Food or drinks except sealed water bottles are banned as are weapons and contraband of any kind. Refusal to consent to security screening means no entry and no exceptions.
Proper respect for the law obliges everybody in the courthouse to dress neatly and appropriately. Short pants, hats, tank tops and T-shirts are never appropriate. A local court rule expressly prohibits on the premises clothing or personal property with any gang insignia or significance. Anyone wearing or possessing any item in violation of this rule must remove it from the courthouse. Persistent violation of this rule is punishable as contempt. Defiance of a request for compliance with the rule is a misdemeanor offense punishable by as much as a year of jail time, a $1,000 fine, or both.
The court prohibits photography in any courthouse facility without written permission from the court. Any device capable of recording or broadcasting sounds or images is subject to confiscation. Use of any electronic device while court is in session is prohibited unless the user has specific permission from the court.
Court Online Services
The California state courts have made extensive use of the Internet to save patrons time, energy, and money in transacting their business online rather than in person at the courthouse. Daily updates inform jurors whether to report for duty, to be on call if needed later, or to consider themselves excused from duty pending their next notification by mail. A “Jury Policies” webpage answers frequent questions about the process and provides an e-mail address for additional questions, comments, or suggestions.
Rather than visit the clerk’s office and flip through file folders to find case information, investigators now may use the court’s eFiling system to make their tasks much easier. Unlike physical file folders, online case files remain available whenever the clerk’s office is closed and are accessible to more than one user at the same time. The eFiling system also permits remote filing of new cases.
The court organizes its work by divisions relating to areas of substantive law. The “Divisions” page of the court website lists them briefly describes the duties of each, and links the descriptions to pages with in-depth information and frequent questions about every division answered clearly and concisely. In effect, the Visalia Court offers an online synoptic encyclopedia of California law.
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