Santa Clara County Superior Court – Santa Clara Courthouse
Santa Clara Courthouse
Address: 1095 Homestead Road, Santa Clara, CA 95050
Phone: 408-556-3000 – General Information
- Monday – Thursday 8:30 AM – 1:30 PM
- Fridays 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Parking: Jury, Public, And Staff Parking Is Available In The Lots Surrounding The Santa Clara Courthouse
Overview of the Santa Clara Courthouse
The Santa Clara Courthouse is one of the busiest courthouses in Santa Clara County, located in the heart of downtown San Jose. This courthouse handles a high volume of both civil and criminal cases for the county. It serves the central and southern cities of Santa Clara County, including San Jose, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Campbell, and Los Gatos. The courthouse provides a wide range of court services for the community, from small claims to felony cases. With over 30 courtrooms, it is a hub of legal activity for the region.
History of the Santa Clara Courthouse
The Santa Clara Courthouse has a long and rich history in the county. The original courthouse was built in 1866 and was made of wood. It was replaced by a brick courthouse in 1872 which stood for over 40 years until it was severely damaged in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. A new Romanesque Revival style courthouse opened in 1912 and served for decades. From 1965 to 1969, the current mid-century modern courthouse was constructed, designed by architect Ernest J. Kump. This iconic building has now been serving Santa Clara County for over 50 years, adapted and expanded to meet the growing needs of the South Bay community. The courthouse was also named a historic landmark by the county in 1994.
Services Offered at the Santa Clara Courthouse
The Santa Clara Courthouse provides court services across a wide range of legal needs for the county through its various divisions and departments.
The Civil Division handles all non-criminal cases including contract disputes, personal injury cases, malpractice, civil rights cases, and more. Proceedings take place before a judge or jury.
The Criminal Division oversees cases involving violations of criminal statutes.
Felony cases involve more serious crimes like murder, robbery, and assault. Defendants have the right to a preliminary hearing and trial by jury.
Misdemeanor crimes involve lesser offenses like petty theft, drunk driving (DUI), simple assault and more. Trials proceed before a judge.
Family Justice Services
This division handles family law matters like divorce, child custody and support, domestic violence restraining orders, and adoptions. They offer mediation services to resolve disputes.
The Probate Division handles estates, conservatorships, guardianships, mental health cases, and elder abuse protective orders.
Small Claims Division
In the Small Claims Division, individuals and businesses can resolve disputes under $10,000 through a simplified process without attorneys.
The Traffic Division handles non-criminal traffic infractions like speeding tickets and runs traffic court. Defendants can contest citations.
Courthouse Facilities and Amenities
The Santa Clara Courthouse offers various facilities and amenities to serve the public and legal community.
With over 30 courtrooms of varying sizes, there is space to accommodate everything from small claims hearings to felony jury trials. Many courtrooms have upgraded technology like audio-visual systems.
The Self-Help Center assists people representing themselves in court with free information on legal procedures. Knowledgeable staff provide guidance on forms and paperwork.
Mediation services are available to help parties in civil cases and family law matters resolve disputes through confidential mediation rather than trial.
Public services include court reporting and interpretation services in over 170 languages. The courthouse has a law library, records hall, and clerk’s office.
Visiting the Santa Clara Courthouse
When visiting the Santa Clara Courthouse, here are some tips on what to expect:
Location and Parking
The courthouse is located downtown at 191 N. First Street, San Jose, CA 95113. Pay parking is available in nearby lots and garages. The courthouse is also walking distance from the San Jose Diridon Station.
Upon entering, visitors must pass through a security screening like at airports.
Allowed and Prohibited Items
Weapons, pepper spray, tools, and many electronics are prohibited. Allowed items include cell phones, laptops, notepads, writing tools, wallets, and necessary medical supplies.
The courthouse meets ADA accessibility standards with elevators, ramps, accessible bathrooms, and more. Disability accommodations like ASL interpreters can be arranged.
Contact Information and Website
More information on the Santa Clara Courthouse can be found on the Superior Court’s website at www.scscourt.org or by calling (408) 882-2700. The courthouse is open Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm, excluding holidays.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of security screening does the courthouse have?
The courthouse has a walk-through metal detector, x-ray machine for bags/items, and visual inspection by a Deputy Sheriff at the entrance. All persons entering must be screened.
Can I bring my cell phone or laptop to the courthouse?
Yes, cell phones and laptops are allowed after passing through security screening. However, phones must be silenced in courtrooms and devices cannot be used to photograph or record court proceedings.
Is there public parking near the courthouse?
There are many public parking garages and lots within walking distance of the courthouse in downtown San Jose. Parking rates vary. Street parking is also available but limited.
What should I wear when going to court at the courthouse?
Wear appropriate professional or business casual attire when attending court. Tank tops, ripped jeans, shorts, and flip flops are not recommended. Hats must be removed inside courtrooms.
Can I bring food or drinks inside the courthouse?
Outside food and beverages are not allowed past security screening, with the exception of water. There is a cafe inside the courthouse for anyone needing food or drinks.