About the District Court

           The District Court has original jurisdiction of civil matters where the amount in controversy does not exceed $5,000. The court also has concurrent jurisdiction with the Superior Court for matters involving $5,000 to $10,000. The District Court has original jurisdiction of all eviction actions regardless of the amount in controversy. The District Court sits in equity on petitions for domestic restraining orders and in all landlord and tenant matters. Appeals from the District Court trials proceed to the Superior Court for a trial de novo. The District Court handles administrative appeals for the Traffic Tribunal, Department of Labor and Training, Division of Motor Vehicles, and the Division of Taxation, among others.

           In addition to the da​ily calendars, the District Court presides weekly on the civil certification calendar, which is held in local hospitals. This calendar addresses petitions filed by the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals or other agencies on behalf of individuals who, due to a mental disability, need supervision and treatment in a hospital or community setting for a period of time. The petition is granted only if the court finds that, due to the disability, there is a present likelihood of serious harm to the individual or to others. Appeals from this calendar proceed directly to the Supreme Court.

           The District Court has a Pretrial Services Unit (PTSU) that is responsible for supervising and monitoring compliance with bail conditions given to those defendants referred to them. These conditions include referrals for substance abuse counseling, counseling for mental health, and behavioral health issues as well as the monitoring of many domestic violence cases. The PTSU also plays an integral role in the District Court’s specialized calendars such as the Veterans Treatment Calendar and the Mental Health Treatment Calendar. For more information about the goals and responsibilities of the PTSU, go to the pretrial services link on the District Court homepage.

            The Veterans Treatment Calendar (VTC) is designed to direct individuals charged with criminal misdemeanors, who have served in the military and are presently diagnosed with mental health and/ or substance use disorder into a court program that integrates treatment and support with the judicial process. The VTC offers justice by involving veterans in a treatment option that is judicially supervised and designed for jail diversion, and if feasible, diversion out of the criminal justice system. The goal of the VTC is to allow individuals who have served our country to return to the communities as healthy and productive members of society. For additional information, go to the VTC link on the District Court homepage.

            The mission of the Mental Health Treatment Calendar (MHTC) is to identify individuals living with serious mental illness who are charged with misdemeanor offenses and divert them into a continuum of care with community providers and other support systems while providing judicial oversight. In doing so, the MHTC seeks to break the cycles of recidivism and incarceration, increase treatment access, ensure public safety, and improve and stabilize the lives of these individuals. The MHTC aims to reduce the criminalization of individuals living with mental illness and to strengthen and increase the cooperation between the mental health treatment system and the criminal justice system as a whole.​