Sierra County Superior Court
530-289-3698 – Court Clerk’s Office
location: 100 Courthouse Square Downieville, CA 95936
business hours: Monday – Friday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
CLOSED: Monday – Friday 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
208 Fairground Road
Loyalton, CA 96118
Overview of Sierra County Superior Court
The Sierra County Superior Court is the trial court that serves Sierra County in California. It is part of the California Superior Courts system and hears all felony criminal cases, civil cases over $25,000, family law, probate, and juvenile cases for the county. The Sierra County Superior Court has one judge and court locations in Downieville and Loyalton.
Location and Jurisdiction
The Sierra County Superior Court has jurisdiction over all legal matters in Sierra County, which is located in the Sierra Nevada region of northeastern California. The county seat is Downieville, where the main courthouse is located. There is also a branch courthouse in Loyalton. The court’s jurisdiction includes all civil, criminal, family law, probate, and juvenile cases that originate within the county. Appeals from Superior Court decisions go to the California Courts of Appeal.
Court Organization and Staff
The Sierra County Superior Court consists of one judge position. Court administration and daily operations are overseen by the court executive officer. The staff is made up of the judges, court administrators, clerks, court reporters, interpreters, mediators, and other support personnel.
The Sierra County Superior Court currently has one judge position held by the Honorable Charles H. Ervin. Judges are elected to six-year terms. They oversee all case proceedings, make rulings on motions, preside over trials, and sentence individuals in criminal cases.
The court administrator oversees the non-judicial functions of the court including budget/finance, human resources, facilities, information technology and court records management. This role ensures efficient court operations and implementation of policies and procedures.
Clerk of Court
The clerk of court maintains court records, oversees the filing of new cases, summons jurors, and handles many administrative functions. The clerk’s office provides assistance to the public in accessing court records and understanding court rules and procedures.
Types of Cases Heard
The Sierra County Superior Court is a general jurisdiction court handling the following types of legal matters:
Civil cases involve disputes between individuals, businesses, or organizations over legal rights and responsibilities. These include breach of contract, personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and property disputes.
Criminal cases involve prosecuting those accused of committing misdemeanor and felony crimes such as theft, assault, driving under the influence, domestic violence, drug offenses, and homicide. Criminal cases are brought by the state against an individual defendant.
Family Law Cases
Family law matters include divorce, child custody and support, visitation rights, spousal support, and domestic violence restraining orders. The family law division assists with such issues that arise within families and relationships.
Probate cases concern the distribution of a deceased person’s estate and guardianships. The probate division handles wills, trusts, conservatorships, and elder abuse issues.
Court Services and Resources
The Sierra County Superior Court provides resources to assist the public with navigating the judicial system.
The court offers family law, civil, guardianship, and name change self-help centers to provide information for those representing themselves without an attorney. Workshops, legal forms, and access to assistance are available.
Mediation and Arbitration
Mediation services help parties in civil cases reach mutually agreeable solutions with assistance from a neutral third-party mediator. Certain family law and civil matters may go through arbitration if ordered by the court.
The court provides interpreters for witnesses and parties in court proceedings who have limited English proficiency. Interpreters work in the courtroom, clerk’s office, and self-help center.
Court Records and Filings
Court records for Sierra County Superior Court cases are maintained both on paper and electronically. The public can access records and electronically file documents through the court’s website.
Many court services such as making payments, scheduling hearings, filing forms, checking case statuses, and reserving court reporters are available online through the court’s portal.
Blank legal forms for civil, family law, guardianship, restraining orders, and other case types can be downloaded from the court’s website. Form packets are also available at clerk’s offices.
Filing fees, photocopying fees, and other administrative fees are set by California law and apply to Superior Court filings. Waivers are available for those unable to afford the costs.
The court summons prospective jurors from the county master jury list. Jury duty is a civic responsibility allowing peers to weigh evidence in both criminal and civil matters.
Jury Selection Process
Potential jurors complete a questionnaire to determine eligibility. The judge and attorneys then question jurors during selection to determine suitability for a particular trial.
Length of Service
The length of jury service varies based on the trial but generally ranges from 1 day to 1-2 weeks. Longer trials may require longer service. Jurors call each weekday to check if they must appear.
Jurors are compensated $15 per day for the first two days and $45 per day thereafter for their service. Certain work-related expenses may be reimbursable.
Frequently Asked Questions about Sierra County Superior Court
Q: What are the courthouse hours?
A: The Sierra County Superior Court locations are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm, excluding court holidays.
Q: How can I get court records?
A: Court records can be searched online through the court’s website portal. For assistance obtaining records in person, visit the clerk’s office at either courthouse location.
Q: How can I make a court payment?
A: Payments for fines, fees, and other financial court orders can be made online through the court’s payment portal. Payments can also be mailed or made in-person at the clerk’s office.
Q: Where can I find court forms?
A: Blank court forms can be downloaded from the court’s website. The self-help center at both courthouse locations also provides forms and assistance completing them.
Q: How can I volunteer for jury duty?
A: There is no way to voluntarily sign up for jury duty. Jurors are selected randomly from the master jury list compiled by the Jury Commissioner’s Office. You can ensure you are included on the list by registering to vote.