The Pennsylvania Court System consists of the Philadelphia Municipal Court, Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Magisterial District Courts, Courts of Common Pleas, Superior Courts, Commonwealth Courts and Supreme Court.
Philadelphia Municipal Court
Since Philadelphia County does not have a Magisterial District Court, the Philadelphia Municipal Court hears traffic offenses, misdemeanors and lesser charges and preliminary hearings in felony cases. This court does not hear any case with monetary damage claims above $12,000.
Pittsburgh Municipal Court
This Municipal Court was established by the Legislature as an administrative unit within the 5th Judicial District. This court is assigned matters within the Pittsburgh Magistrates Court's jurisdiction.
Pennsylvania Magisterial District Courts
Pennsylvania consists of 67 counties, and there are 66 Magisterial District Courts. Philadelphia County has a Municipal Court instead. These courts exercise limited jurisdiction over landlord and tenant cases, civil claims up to $12,000, municipal ordinance violations and preliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony cases.
Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas
These courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil cases over $7,000, more serious criminal cases and appeals from minor courts. This court also hears appeals from most government agencies. These courts preside over most family law issues such as divorce, adoption, child abuse, child support, juvenile delinquency and even probate issues.
Pennsylvania Superior Court
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania is an intermediate appellate court which hears cases in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania using a panel of three judges. This court mostly hears appeals from cases from the Courts of Common Pleas.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court is also an intermediate appellate court which hears appeals from state agencies and the Courts of Common Pleas regarding government regulation and legal questions in the public sector. This court may also conduct trials for some civil actions against the government.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is the state's highest appellate court and court of last resort. There are seven justices who sit on this court, and they issue opinions on appeals from lower courts.
Pennsylvania Notable Court Cases
Perhaps the most notable case from Pennsylvania's courts is that of Commonwealth v. William Henry Cosby, Jr., where a judge in Norristown determined enough evidence existed to make the star stand trial for sexual misconduct. This case involves three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault that allegedly occurred in 2004 in his suburban Philadelphia home. It is alleged the victim was drugged and unconscious when the assault occurred.
Bail for Cosby was set at $1 million; he posted ten percent and was released. The official charges were filed just 12 days prior to the statute of limitations for such accusations running out. This case comes among dozens of accusations of sexual assault from other women over the past several months in various states and fields of entertainment and modeling, and has yet come to conclusion.