Superior Court of the District of Columbia

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The Superior Court of the District of Columbia is housed in the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse.
The main court entrance on Indiana Avenue.

The Superior Court of the District of Columbia, commonly referred to as DC Superior Court, is the trial court for the District of Columbia. It hears cases involving criminal and civil law. The court also handles specialized cases in the following areas: family court, landlord and tenant, probate, tax, and traffic offenses. All appeals of Superior Court decisions go to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

The Superior Court was established by the United States Congress as the trial court of general jurisdiction for D.C. in 1970. The Court consists of a chief judge and 61 associate judges. The Court is assisted by the service of 24 magistrate judges, as well as retired judges who have been recommended and approved as senior judges. Judges are appointed to the court by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate for 15-year terms. The Court is an Article I federal tribunal, though theoretically called the judicial branch of DC local Government.[1]

In Superior Court, the government is represented by the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia or the District of Columbia, Office of the Attorney General, depending on the nature and severity of the crime or civil matter.

Organizational units[edit]

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURTS IS AN ARTICLE I FEDERAL TRIBUNAL. In theory, the D.C Courts are the Judicial Branch of the District local Government, however, is in fact within the Legislative branch of the United States Government.

  • Civil Division – Civil actions and actions in equity; handles temporary restraining orders other than those involving domestic violence. The Article III United States federal courts have jurisdiction over some civil matters within the District of Columbia.
  • Criminal Division – Misdemeanor, felony, and serious traffic offenses. Also includes Community Courts, which take a problem-solving approach to crime.
    • Case Management Branch
    • Special Proceedings Branch
    • Quality Assurance Branch
    • Courtroom Support Branch
  • Family Court Operations Division – Family court
    • Family Court Central Intake Center (CIC)
    • Domestic Relations Branch – divorce, legal separation, annulment, child custody, habeas corpus, and adoption
    • Juvenile and Neglect Branch – juvenile delinquency, child abuse and neglect.
    • Paternity and Child Support Branch – establishment of paternity, child support, and wage withholding
    • Marriage Bureau – marriage licenses/records; applications to perform marriage ceremonies in the District of Columbia by authorized ministers and others
    • Mental Health and Mental Retardation Branch – "hospitalization and continued treatment of persons adjudicated as mentally retarded or in need of mental health services"
    • Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect Branch is responsible for the determination of party eligibility for court appointed counsel in child abuse and neglect proceedings and processes the appointment of attorneys for parties in these cases.
    • Family Court Self Help Center – "provides legal information and assistance to self-represented parties in Family Court Cases."
    • Family Treatment Court -"court-supervised, voluntary, comprehensive residential substance abuse treatment program for mothers/female caretakers whose children are the subject of a child neglect case."
  • Domestic Violence Unit – Domestic violence
  • Probate Division/Office of the Register of Wills' – Probate court
    • Office of the Register of Wills
      • Auditing and Appraisals Branch
      • Probate Operations Branch
        • Small Estates Section
        • Decedents Estates and Guardianship of Minors Section
      • Interventions and Trusts Branch.
  • Tax Division – Appeals and petitions for review of assessments made by the District of Columbia, as well as all proceedings brought by the District of Columbia for the imposition of criminal penalties pursuant to the provisions of the District of Columbia Code
  • Family Court – Social Services Division – Juveniles who are awaiting trial on juvenile charges or who are on probation after pleading or being found involved in a crime.
  • Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division – Mediation and alternative dispute resolution services.
  • Special Operations Division
    • Jurors Office
    • Appeals Coordinator's Office
    • Child Care Center
    • Judge-in-Chambers
    • Office of Court Interpreting Services


  1. ^ "Judicial Selection in the States: District of Columbia". American Judicature Society. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]