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Vermont - State Court Organization Profile

NCJ Number
E G Raymond
Date Published
75 pages
A profile of the Vermont State court system, prepared by the National Center for State Courts, is presented addressing court organization, the judiciary, court records and statistics, and administration.
Vermont's court system consists of four courts. The State supreme court and the superior court are authorized by the State constitution, as are the 19 probate courts, and the district court was created by statute in 1967 from independent municipal courts. The State supreme court has appellate jurisdiction over all cases and may issue necessary writs. The superior court, the trial court of general jurisdiction, sits in each of the 14 counties. Eight superior judges preside on a rotating basis. The district court is Vermont's trial court of limited jurisdiction; it may decide civil actions where the demand is not over $5,000 and where title to real estate is not involved. Judges, who must be attorneys, are appointed for 6-year terms by the Governor with consent of the State Senate. The American Bar Association's (ABA's) Code of Judicial Conduct is applicable to all presiding judges. Vermont ranks 49th of the 50 States in terms of salaries paid to State supreme court justices. The State supreme court has administrative control of all State courts. The court administrator, whose office is created by statute, is appointed by the supreme court. Administration of the superior court is delegated to the chief superior judge with the longest period of service. The supreme court and the district court are funded by the State, and the State pays some of the operating costs for the superior court in addition to professional salaries. Facilities for probate courts are county funded. A centralized budget is prepared by the court administrator with revision by the supreme court before submission to the legislature. In addition, the administrator prepares and publishes quarterly and annual statistical reports for the entire judicial branch. Court records are the responsibility of the clerks. A series of charts presents a graphic summary of the organization and lines of responsibility of the court system. A list of 12 information sources and a chart depicting the degree of similarity between the State's court system and each of the ABA standards are provided.