Jefferson County, Alabama

Jefferson County, Unified Judicial System, State of Alabama

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Circuit Court is the highest court in the county.  The circuit courts are where jury trials take place.  In most Alabama counties, the circuit courts hear both civil and criminal cases.  In Jefferson County there is a civil division and a criminal division.  The jurisdiction and powers of the circuit court are set forth by statute.

  1. CIVIL.  The circuit court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction of all civil actions in which the matter in controversy exceeds ten thousand dollars ($10,000), exclusive of interest and costs, and shall exercise original jurisdiction concurrent with the district court in all civil actions in which the matter in controversy exceeds three thousand dollars ($3,000), exclusive of interest and costs.
  2. CRIMINAL.  The circuit court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction of all felony prosecutions and of misdemeanor or ordinance violations which are lesser included offenses within a felony charge or which arise from the same incident as a felony charge; except, that the district court shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit court to receive pleas of guilty in felony cases not punishable by sentence of death.  The circuit court may, on conviction of a defendant, upon a showing of inability to make immediate payment of fine and costs, continue the case from time to time to permit the fine and costs to be paid.
  3. APPELLATE.  The circuit court shall have appellate jurisdiction of civil, criminal, and juvenile cases in district court and prosecutions for ordinance violations in municipal courts, except in cases in which direct appeal to the Courts of Civil or Criminal Appeals is provided by law or rule.  Appeals to the circuit court shall be tried de novo, with or without a jury, as provided by law.
  4. SUPERINTENDENCE OF DISTRICT, MUNICIPAL AND PROBATE COURTS.  The circuit court shall exercise a general superintendence over all district courts, municipal courts, and probate courts.
  5. CONTEMPTS.  The circuit court may punish contempts by fines not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) and by imprisonment not exceeding five days.  The power of the circuit court to enforce its orders and judgements by determinations of civil contempt shall be unaffected by this section.
  6. GENERAL.  The circuit court shall have other powers as provided by law.

Ala.Code 1975 § 12-11-30