Photo of courtroom at Fall River Justice Center

The District Court hears a wide range of criminal, civil, housing, juvenile, mental health, and other types of cases. District Court criminal jurisdiction extends to all felonies punishable by a sentence up to five years, and many other specific felonies with greater potential penalties; all misdemeanors; and all violations of city and town ordinances and by-laws.

In civil matters, District Court judges conduct both jury and jury-waived trials, and determine with finality any matter in which the likelihood of recovery does not exceed $25,000. The District Court also tries small claims involving up to $7,000 (initially tried to a magistrate, with a defense right of appeal either to a judge or to a jury).

The District Court's civil jurisdiction also includes many specialized proceedings, including abuse prevention restraining orders and civil motor vehicle infractions (tried initially to a magistrate, with right of appeal to a judge).

The District Court is located in 62 courts across the Commonwealth.

SJC Committee Seeks Attorney Response in the Counties of Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes and Nantucket

The SJC's  program to evaluate and enhance judicial performance is sending questionnaires via email to attorneys who practice before all Trial Court departments in the counties of Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes and Nantucket. The evaluations period ends on March 31, 2015. Lawyers interested in learning more, or who wish to get a copy of the questionnaire, should click on the "read more" link below.

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