Indiana Judicial Branch

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Indiana Supreme Court

The Indiana Supreme Court, the state's highest court, is made up of a chief justice and 4 associate judges.

Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals is the intermediate court of appeals, with 13 judges. New judges of both these courts are appointed by the governor, from a list submitted by the nonpartisan Judicial Nominating Commission, to serve an initial 2-year term. The judges subsequently may be popularly elected to 10-year terms. One of the supreme court judges is chosen by the nominating commission to serve as Chief Justice for a 5-year term.

Circuit Courts

The major trial courts of Indiana are Circuit Courts, with 95 judges. The General Assembly divided Indiana into circuits, based on county lines. Each county in Indiana has at least one circuit court. Indiana has 92 counties, and 88 of these counties comprise their own circuit, with their own circuit court. The remaining four small counties (Ohio, Dearborn, Jefferson, and Switzerland Counties) have been combined to form two circuits with two counties in each circuit.

Superior Courts

As local needs grew and more trial courts became necessary, the Indiana General Assembly created additional courts called superior and county courts. The majority of Indiana trial courts are superior courts and almost all Indiana counties have superior courts in addition to their circuit court.

For the most part, superior courts have general jurisdiction, so they can hear ALL civil and criminal cases. Superior courts are also charged with establishing small claims and minor offense divisions if no county court system exists.

County Courts

The Indiana county court system was established on January 1, 1976. Today, the majority of county courts have been converted into superior courts. Floyd, Madison, and Montgomery counties are the only Indiana counties that still have a county court system. County courts handle contract (disputes over written and oral agreements), tort (such as personal injury cases like from a car accident), and landlord/tenant cases where the damages do not exceed $10,000, Class D felonies, misdemeanor and infraction cases, and violations of local ordinances. County courts also have a small claims division. [1]

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