Courthouse Corner

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Juvenile Dependency Mediation

Juvenile Dependency Mediation

As presented by Judge Diane Price in last month’s Courthouse Corner article, mediation is an alternative dispute resolution tool available for many types of civil cases. Napa Superior Court has offered a Juvenile Dependency Mediation program through Family Court Services with specifically trained experienced professional mediators since 1999.

June 08, 2015 2:15 pm(0)

Courts offer new mediation program

Courts offer new mediation program

The court process for noncriminal matters can be time consuming, expensive and emotionally draining. Fees may escalate well beyond the original estimate, and the time it takes to reach a decision in our busy courts can be lengthy. Many times, relationships suffer from the pressure. And once a case is submitted to a jury or judge for decision, the outcome may not satisfy any party.

May 11, 2015 2:00 pm(0)

Child abuse prevention awareness

Child abuse prevention awareness

(Editor’s Note: Courthouse Corner is a monthly column prepared by Napa County court officials. March’s column is written by Joelle Gallagher, executive director of Cope Family Center.)

March 16, 2015 4:00 pm(0)

2015: A Year of Challenges for the Napa Superior Court

2015: A Year of Challenges for the Napa Superior Court

(Editor’s Note: Courthouse Corner is a monthly column prepared by Napa County court officials. February’s column is written by Richard Feldstein, executive officer of the Napa Superior Court.)

February 09, 2015 12:48 pm(0)

Napa County Column

Napa County Column

Napa County hosts Educational Inspection Program

January 19, 2015 1:07 pm(0)

New laws for 2015

New laws for 2015

(Editor’s Note: Courthouse Corner is a monthly column prepared by Napa County court officials. January’s column is written by Jodi Leveque)

January 12, 2015 3:32 pm(2)

Courthouse Corner: Consequences of driving under the influence

Courthouse Corner: Consequences of driving under the influence

(Editor’s Note: Courthouse Corner is a monthly column prepared by Napa County court officials. December’s column is written by Jodi Leveque and Ines Deluna)

December 08, 2014 1:00 pm(1)

Courthouse corner

Courthouse corner

The 160-plus-year history of the Napa County Courts is rich with stories of intrigue and justice meted out, sometimes in unexpected ways. In many ways the court proceedings reflected the morals and community sentiments of the particular time in history.

June 09, 2014 2:30 pm(0)

Justice in wine country

The Napa courts were established in 1850 when California became a state. The first legal case to come before the new California Supreme Court was from Napa County. It involved the prosecution of the ringleaders of a group of men from Lake County who were accused of the murder of a dozen Wappo villagers in Napa.

May 13, 2014 5:00 pm(0)

Civil grand jury: An opportunity for citizen involvement

Are you interested in meeting our local leaders, learning about Napa government and improving local governmental service right here in Napa County? If so, the Napa County Superior Court seeks your application to serve on the 2014-2015 grand jury.

April 07, 2014 6:00 pm(0)

Resources for emancipated foster care youths

In general, foster care is an out-of-home care system designed to protect children who cannot safely remain in the home with their families. While a select few are able to return to the family home under the informal supervision of the Department of Social Services, many of these children are removed from the home of their parents or guardians by Child Protective Services (CPS) and are made dependents of the juvenile court.

February 10, 2014 6:00 pm(1)

Courthouse Corner: New laws for 2014

In the 2013 legislative session, the Assembly and Senate introduced 2,540 bills, resolutions, and constitutional amendments. Of those, 1,099 were approved by both houses of the Legislature and sent to the governor, who vetoed 96 and signed 1,003 into law. This article will discuss several of the new laws that will affect the public and the judicial system.

January 06, 2014 4:33 pm(0)

Courthouse Corner: The supervised visitation intervention

In a Superior Court proceeding involving a divorce, or separation of parents of minor children, the law states that both parents should have frequent and continuous contact with their children. Court orders are made in the best interest of the child, which includes the child's safety and well-being. When a child's safety could even remotely be in jeopardy, the court is obligated to seek other means of ensuring that parents can have appropriate contact with their child.

November 11, 2013 5:11 pm(0)

Juvenile Justice Commission

Are you a high school student or an adult with an interest in the legal system? Do you wonder how people get on commissions and committees that can make a difference? This article will talk about the Napa County Juvenile Justice Commission and how you can be a part of it or observe the commission in action.

August 12, 2013 8:00 pm(0)

The history of public defenders

The United States Constitution, through the Sixth Amendment, guarantees each citizen charged with a crime the right to be told the charges brought against them, the right to confront their accusers, the right to a jury trial and “the right to have the assistance of counsel for their defense.” For a large part of our country's history, the right to the assistance of counsel was a privilege exercised by people who could afford to retain a lawyer. If criminal defendants were indigent and could not find a lawyer willing to represent them for free, they were left to fend for themselves.

June 10, 2013 8:00 pm(0)

Courthouse Corner: Getting to know your court system

Although it is well known that our judicial system is one of the three fundamental branches of our governmental structure, the public is less informed about its role and function than that of the legislative and executive branches. As a result, the importance of courts to our citizens’ daily life is often overlooked.

May 14, 2013 2:07 pm(0)

Courthouse Corner: Meet your local judicial officers

There are 58 Superior Courts in California, one for each county. The Legislature determines the number of judges and commissioners in each. The Napa Superior Court currently has six judges and two commissioners.

March 11, 2013 6:18 pm(0)

Courthouse Corner: Court seeks new ways to adjust to budget cuts

Napa Superior Court, like all trial courts throughout California, has been funded by the state since the late 1990s. While state trial court funding provided increased fiscal resources and expanded justice services throughout the 2000s, the state’s trial courts have been hit by consecutive years of significant budget reductions during recent years of fiscal recession.

February 11, 2013 8:59 pm(1)

Courthouse Corner: The Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011

What is realignment?

January 21, 2013 6:58 pm(0)

Courthouse Corner: Criminal court process

If you or someone you know is charged with committing a crime, the court process can be overwhelming. This question-and-answer article will provide a general overview of the procedures followed in criminal court.

December 10, 2012 6:46 pm(0)

Courthouse Corner: Bringing a civil case to court

People choosing to go to court without a lawyer are becoming more common in civil disputes of all kinds.

November 12, 2012 4:43 pm(0)

How the court system handles cases of domestic violence

One type of crime the court may hear is one committed by someone in a relationship against the other person in the relationship. The judges and commissioners often receive a call from the police at home, at any time of the day or night, requesting emergency orders to protect a victim of assault.

October 08, 2012 5:14 pm(0)

Frequently asked questions about small-claims court

Does someone owe you money? Are you frustrated that nothing is done when you make a complaint?

August 13, 2012 7:26 pm(0)

Traffic citations: frequently asked questions

Q: I just received a traffic ticket. Now what?

June 11, 2012 8:29 pm(1)

Courthouse Corner: No courts, no justice, no freedom

In 1958, President Eisenhower established Law Day to be celebrated each May so that “the people of this nation should remember with pride and vigilantly guard the great heritage of liberty, justice, and equality under law which our forefathers bequeathed to us.”

May 07, 2012 8:52 pm(0)

Courthouse Corner: Blue Ribbons for child abuse prevention, awareness

As surprising as it may seem today, we haven't always had laws and a system for reporting child abuse. A landmark study in 1962 by Henry Kempe established “a vivid and distributing picture of children suffering physical and emotional trauma” across the country. By 1967, all states and the District of Columbia passed child abuse reporting laws. (Child Welfare Information Gateway,

April 10, 2012 12:00 am(0)

Conservatorships: court protection for adults

According to the most recent U.S. Census, Napa County has a higher percentage of residents ages 65 and older than the state of California: 15.1 percent compared to 11.4 percent. In addition, the California Department of Aging estimates a 47-percent increase by the year 2030 in Napa’s population ages 85 and older. These statistics indicate that our community is likely to experience growth in the number of case filings and need for legal services for this population group, such as conservatorships.

March 12, 2012 10:24 pm(0)

Courthouse Corner: Love across the miles

Parenting is considered both the most rewarding and the most challenging job in the world. Add to the mix divorce or separation and things can feel very overwhelming, particularly in today’s economic climate. Layoffs, chronic unemployment, foreclosures and difficulty making ends meet are exacerbating already high stress levels for divorced or separated parents.

February 13, 2012 8:45 pm(0)

Christmas in January: traffic ticket amnesty

The holiday season has ended, but you may be eligible for another gift as Napa Superior Court will be offering a 50 percent reduction on some old unpaid traffic tickets. 

January 23, 2012 8:29 pm(0)

Safety behind the wheel this holiday season

Now that the holidays are upon us, it is an especially good time to remind everyone not to drink and drive. The price of impaired driving can be as high as loss of life, but the legal, financial and emotional costs are also significant. 

December 12, 2011 8:37 pm(0)

Courthouse Corner: There’s no place like a permanent home

The number of children who are abused, neglected or taken away from families unable to give them adequate care is staggering. The Judicial Council of California reports that there are nearly half a million reports of child abuse and neglect each year in California alone. According to the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, this means that nearly 100 times a day, a child in California is placed in foster care. In Napa, during fiscal year 2010-11, Child Welfare Services received 1,065 referrals to investigate concerns of child abuse and neglect, of which 149 were substantiated and 77 children had to be removed from their homes. 

November 07, 2011 9:10 pm(0)

Napa County Adult Drug Court

Napa County Adult Drug Court, hereafter referred to as ADC, was formed in 1999. Since tracking began in 2001, this program has graduated 198 clients, each of whom has demonstrated over one year of sobriety, reunification with families, and in many cases, successful vocational placements. The continued existence and success of this program is largely attributed to the support, involvement and collaboration of the court, the district attorney’s office, the public defender’s office, the Probation Department and the Health and Human Services Agency.

October 10, 2011 5:48 pm(0)

Courthouse Corner

School is open at the courthouse

September 12, 2011 8:43 pm(0)

Superior Court internship program owes success to local professionals

Success is no accident. Instead, success is built upon the tireless efforts of those individuals who commit themselves to the mission at hand.

August 08, 2011 8:36 pm(0)

Domestic violence — A message from the district attorney’s office

It is estimated that 1 in 4 women is the victim of domestic violence at some point in her life. Although less common, men are also victims of domestic violence. Most victims suffer in silence. Often they are not sure who to turn to; are too embarrassed to tell anyone; feel they will be blamed; fear the violence will get worse if reported; or fear their partner will be arrested and they will be unable to support themselves and their children alone. Some may not even understand that they are victims. 

July 11, 2011 8:25 pm(2)