Santa Clara County Superior Court – Family Justice Center
Location and Contact Information
The main courthouse location is:
Santa Clara County Superior Court – Family Justice Center
Physical: 201 North 1st Street San Jose, CA 95113
Mailing: 191 North 1st Street San Jose, CA 95113
Overview of the Santa Clara County Superior Court – Family Justice Center
The Santa Clara County Superior Court – Family Justice Center is a key resource for residents of Santa Clara County, California who need access to court services and legal information. This article provides an overview of the court’s location, online resources, self-help and legal research assistance, and options for legal aid and representation.
The Santa Clara County Superior Court – Family Justice Center is part of the superior court system of California. It handles a wide range of civil, criminal, family, probate, juvenile, and traffic cases for Santa Clara County. The court has locations in San Jose and Palo Alto.
The Family Justice Center in San Jose offers services focused on domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, and human trafficking. It provides a centralized location where victims can access civil legal assistance, counseling, housing assistance, and other resources.
Background and History
The origins of the Santa Clara County Family Justice Center date back to 1998, when the mayor of San Diego opened the first such facility in the nation. The model proved successful, and Santa Clara County officials began developing plans for their own Family Justice Center soon after. Construction on the facility began in 2004, and it officially opened on June 21, 2005.
The Family Justice Center was the vision of District Attorney Dolores Carr and Judge Katherine Lucero. It was designed to provide a centralized, multi-agency approach to supporting victims of abuse and violence. Over 20 government and nonprofit partners came together to offer services at the new Center.
The Santa Clara County Family Justice Center offers a comprehensive range of services for victims in one convenient location.
Victims can meet with district attorneys to obtain information about their legal rights and options. Attorneys assist clients in filing for restraining orders and other criminal justice procedures.
Counseling and Support Groups
The Center provides access to individual counseling, group therapy, and support groups. These services aim to assist victims in recovering from trauma.
Restraining Order Assistance
Staff help victims complete paperwork and navigate the process of filing for civil harassment, domestic violence, elder abuse, and other restraining orders.
Benefits of the Family Justice Center Model
The model used by the Santa Clara County Family Justice Center offers numerous benefits for victims.
Convenience and Efficiency
One Location for Multiple Services
By housing different agencies and services together, victims can access a range of support in one location. This reduces the burden of traveling to multiple appointments.
With staff coordinating and sharing information on-site, victims don’t have to undergo intake and paperwork redundancies. This creates a more efficient process.
Improved Safety and Support
With many resources under one roof, victims receive comprehensive support and better safety planning. On-site childcare also enables them to seek help without worrying about child supervision.
Criticisms and Controversies
While mostly lauded, the Family Justice Center model has faced some criticisms as well.
Funding and Sustainability Concerns
Relying on various funding streams can make long-term sustainability difficult. There have been concerns about the Center’s ability to maintain services.
Questions About Effectiveness
Some argue these Centers address acute crises but don’t focus enough on long-term interventions to prevent abuse from reoccurring. More data is needed.
Impact and Success Stories
Over 50,000 victims have been served at the Santa Clara County Family Justice Center since its opening. Many share stories of finding hope and getting their lives back.
The Family Justice Center Facility and Environment
The Santa Clara County Family Justice Center was intentionally designed to feel welcoming, calm, and secure.
Location and Building Layout
The 50,000 square foot facility is located in downtown San Jose near the Superior Court. The layout allows victims to access services without needing to crisscross the building.
Security and Safety Features
Several features aim to protect victims while visiting the Center:
On-Site Safety Planning
Staff conduct safety planning with every client to minimize risks.
Separate Waiting Areas
Waiting areas keep victims separated from their potential abusers.
Secure Childcare Facilities
A daycare and play space allows parents to focus on their needs while kids are cared for in a safe environment.
Partner Organizations and Staff
The Santa Clara County Family Justice Center represents an impressive collaborative effort among different agencies and service providers.
Several taxpayer-funded organizations operate out of the Center, including:
District Attorney’s Office
Prosecutors assist victims with legal protections and proceedings.
Deputies provide security and conduct criminal investigations.
Department of Family and Children’s Services
Social workers offer child and adult protective services.
Nonprofit Service Providers
Key nonprofit partners include:
Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence
Next Door operates an on-site 24/7 crisis hotline and offers emergency shelter referrals.
Counselors provide mental health services, support groups, and referrals.
Asian Americans for Community Involvement
AACI assists non-English speaking victims with translation, immigration help, and cultural services.
Mental Health Professionals
Psychiatrists, psychologists, and clinical social workers offer counseling and therapy.
Accessing Services at the Family Justice Center
Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes can access help at the Family Justice Center in the following ways:
Eligibility and Intake Process
Services are available to victims of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. An advocate will conduct intake and assess needs.
Making an Appointment
Clients can call or go online to schedule appointments with service providers. Walk-ins are also welcomed.
What to Expect During a Visit
Here’s an overview of the process:
Clients check in at reception then meet with an advocate for safety planning.
Meeting with Service Providers
Clients will meet with attorneys, counselors, and other staff per scheduled appointments.
Following Up After Visit
The advocate will summarize next steps and share referrals for ongoing services.
Online Court Resources
The Santa Clara County Superior Court offers many online services and resources:
Search Court Records
- Santa Clara County Superior Court Cases – Search civil, criminal, family, and probate case records online.
- Santa Clara County Superior Court Criminal Case Index – Search records in criminal cases.
Dockets, Calendars, and Case Information
- Court Calendars – Search court calendars by case number, case title, party name, attorney, case type, department, and date.
- Civil Schedule – View the court’s schedule for civil cases.
- Law and Motion/Discovery Calendars – Check available hearing dates.
Published Opinions and Orders
- Tentative Rulings – Access civil tentative rulings.
- Santa Clara County Superior Court Forms – Download forms by name, number, and court division.
- California Courts Forms – Access statewide court forms.
Online Fine Payments
- Pay Traffic Tickets – Pay traffic fines and court school fees.
- Pay Parking Tickets – Links to pay parking tickets online for various cities in Santa Clara County.
Self-Help, Legal Research, General Information
The court offers extensive information and resources for self-represented parties:
Juvenile Case Information
- Juvenile Case Info – Details on delinquency, status offenses, abuse and neglect cases.
- Law Library – Information on services, collections, and online resources.
- Mediation Services – Mediation programs offered by the county.
Probate Case Information
- Probate – Overview of estate administration, conservatorships, guardianships.
Local Court Rules
- Local Rules – Santa Clara Court local rules.
- Self-Help Center – Information and services for self-represented parties.
Small Claims Information
- Small Claims – Details on procedure, limits, advisors, judgments.
Traffic Case Information
- Traffic Cases – Covers payments, records, violations, traffic school.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
- ADR – Overview of mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation.
State Court Rules
- California Rules of Court – State court rules.
Legal Information and Resources
- California Courts Self-Help – Legal information on court procedures.
Legal Aid, Free Services, Lawyer Referral
For those who cannot afford a lawyer, the court offers these resources:
Lawyer Referral Service
- Lawyer Referral – Referrals offered by the county bar association.
Legal Aid Organizations
- Legal Assistance – Links to legal aid groups.
Public Defender’s Office
- Public Defender – Criminal defense for low-income defendants.
Future Outlook and Developments
As the Family Justice Center approaches its 20th anniversary, what does the future hold?
Potential Program Expansions
There are hopes to expand services for underserved groups like the LGBTQ community and male victims.
More satellite offices would help reach victims in outlying regions. Virtual services are also being added.
Increased Community Outreach
More community education is planned to raise awareness and connect people to the Center.
The Santa Clara County Family Justice Center will continue evolving and innovating to best support victims of abuse and violence. It stands as a testament to what can be achieved when government and community organizations work together around a common goal. The Center provides hope to thousands of people when they need it most.
For over 15 years, the Santa Clara County Superior Court – Family Justice Center has provided critical services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and elder abuse. By bringing together government agencies, nonprofit providers, and community partners under one roof, the Center offers needed legal, counseling, childcare, and other supports conveniently in one location. While not without its challenges and critics, the Family Justice Center model has proved successful in assisting survivors and families in times of crisis. With victim-centered and trauma-informed care at its core, the Center will continue its vital work for the San Jose community. There are always opportunities to expand programming and increase accessibility and cultural competence. Overall, the Family Justice Center exemplifies the power of partnerships in providing safety, healing and justice.
What are the hours for the Family Justice Center?
The Center is open Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM. Several partners offer services in the evenings and on weekends as well.
What documents should I bring to my first appointment?
Bring any relevant legal documents like restraining orders, custody papers or police reports. Also bring ID, insurance card and income verification.
Are services available in multiple languages?
Yes. The Center provides access to interpreters in over 200 languages. Services are also offered in Spanish and Vietnamese.
Is there a cost for services at the Family Justice Center?
All services are free and confidential regardless of income. Some partners may charge on a sliding scale.
Can I bring my children to appointments at the Center?
Yes. The Center provides a secure children’s waiting room with activities and support staff. Let them know if you’re bringing kids.
Q: What types of cases does the court handle?
A: It handles civil, criminal, family, probate, juvenile, and traffic cases.
Q: How can I look up court records and case information?
A: Many records can be searched online through the court’s website. You can also contact the clerk’s office for assistance.
Q: Where can I get the forms I need to file for a case?
A: You can download forms from the court’s website. The Self-Help Center also provides forms.
Q: I need a lawyer but cannot afford one. What resources are available?
A: You can contact legal aid organizations, lawyer referral services, the public defender’s office, or the Self-Help Center for assistance.
Q: Are interpreters provided by the court?
A: Yes, interpreters are provided free of charge to assist non-English speakers. Notify the court ahead of your hearing to request one.