FINAL 2021 Annual Report


This section contains essential information about court filings during July 2020 to June 2021. The information below represents a snapshot of filing data, trends in filings, and dispositions. SBSC implemented a variety of ways to continue to provide access to court services through modified service delivery models during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many case types have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels or are expected to see a rise in the future. CIVIL Civil cases generally involve private citizens or businesses bringing suit over money as a result of a contract, property, landlord/tenant, or other disputes. Limited Civil cases concern a sum of money that amounts to $25,000 or less. There were 22,780 limited civil filings in the court. Unlimited civil cases involve an amount of money that exceeds $25,000. Unlimited cases totaled 11,269. Unlawful Detainer cases consist of disputes between landlords and tenants over the possession of a unit and unpaid rent. Unlawful Detainer cases totaled 2,796. Small Claims cases are heard in a distinct civil court designed to allow litigants to resolve disputes quickly, inexpensively, and without the involvement of lawyers. Small Claims cases totaled 4,559. CRIMINAL & TRAFFIC Criminal cases involve charges filed by the state against one or more persons alleged to have committed criminal offenses. Felony cases are the most severe, as punishment could include death, imprisonment, or probation. Felony cases totaled 13,656. Misdemeanor cases concern the prosecution of less severe crimes for which the maximum punishment generally includes a $1,000 fine and a county jail term of one year or less. Non-traffic Misdemeanor cases totaled 24,229. Infraction cases are of the least severity and are punishable by fine only. Non-traffic Infractions totaled 2,372. Traffic-related offenses begin when a law enforcement officer cites an individual operating a motor vehicle for violating a provision of state law, most often the California Vehicle Code. Traffic offenses may be filed as infractions (punishable by fine only) or misdemeanors (punishable by a $1,000 fine and a county jail term of one year). Traffic cases totaled 136,541. FAMILY LAW & JUVENILE Family law actions are brought to resolve disputes between marital or domestic partners. Issues involved could include child custody, child support, divorce, domestic violence, legal separation, nullity, paternity, and spousal or domestic partner support. There were 23,654 family law cases filed. Juvenile Delinquency matters involve minors who are alleged to have committed a violation of a law or statute. There were 1,143 delinquency cases filed. Juvenile Dependency cases involve the protection of children that have been or are at risk of being abused, neglected, or abandoned. There were 3,279 Dependency cases filed. MENTAL HEALTH, APPEALS, AND PROBATE Mental Health filings pertain to the involuntary civil commitment of mentally ill persons due to severe emotional problems. There were 2,913 mental health cases filed. An appeal is filed when a party asks for a review of a decision to see if a legal mistake or error was made. There were 102 appellate division filings. Probate filings pertain to estate matters, conservatorships, and guardianships where the court is involved in the legal process of assets, appointed care or appointing someone to have custodial rights over another. There were 3,216 probate filings which included 1,072 filings for estates, 310 for trusts, 369 for conservatorships, and 533 for guardianships.


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