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.
Notice to the Bar: Judicial Performance Evaluations of Trial Court judges in Middlesex County are on their way
In the coming weeks, emails will be sent to members of the Bar asking them to evaluate judges in the District Court, Juvenile Court, Probate and Family Court in Middlesex County and the Northeast Housing Court.
The evaluation period is from the end of October to mid-December. Crucial to maintaining a high quality judicial branch is the full participation of the Bar in judicial evaluation.
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