History of Lassen Superior Court

 

Lassen Superior Court is one of the fifty-eight subdivisions of the California trial courts and sits at the Lassen County seat of government in the City of Susanville.

Historically, the courts in Lassen were comprised of several Justice Courts (courts of limited jurisdiction equal to that of municipal courts) and one Superior Court department. The Justice Courts served subdivisions of the County and were located in Standish, Susanville, Westwood, Ravendale, and Bieber, and were presided over by lay judges.

 

Courthouse

Lassen County Historic Courthouse

 

A process of consolidation began in the mid 1900’s with the Standish and Ravendale courts being merged into the Susanville court, and ended in 1976 with the merger of the Westwood and Bieber courts into the Susanville court, which then served the entire County. In 1994 the name of the Justice Court was changed statewide, and all courts of limited jurisdiction were thereafter called Municipal Courts. In 1999, in order to achieve greater efficiency in the allocation of judicial resources and balance the work of the Courts, the two judges of the Lassen courts elected to unify the Superior and Municipal Courts into one general jurisdiction trial court for the County, the Superior Court.

Currently, the Superior Court has two full-time judges in Departments One and Two, two part-time retired judges in Departments Five and Six, and a part-time Court Commissioner (a subordinate judicial officer) in Department Seven. Department Three is designated for the occasional specially assigned judge to hear conflict matters, and the Department Four is the Appellate Division of the Court, over which a three-judge panel selected from the judges in the regional appellate division of Lassen, Plumas, Modoc and Sierra Counties presides on each case.

Each Department of the Superior Court is assigned categories of cases, generally comprised of : Department One - Felony, Unlimited Jurisdiction Civil, Probate, and Family Law. Department Two - Misdemeanors, Limited Jurisdiction Civil, Small Claims, Traffic, and Juvenile Law. Department Four - Appeals from Limited Jurisdiction Judgments. Department Five - Prison Prosecution Felony Cases. Department Six - Civil Case Management Conferences and Settlement Conferences. Department Seven - Family Support Enforcement Actions.