Today's Court System Has Three Levels

Level 1—Limited Jurisdiction. Justice of the peace courts and municipal (or city) courts have limited jurisdiction, meaning that their authority is restricted to certain cases. The cases these courts decide may be limited by the subject, the amount of money involved, or the sentence that can be imposed.

Level 2—General Jurisdiction. The general jurisdiction court is the Superior Court of Arizona, a statewide trial court. This court hears the widest variety of cases. Each county has at least one superior court facility, and it is referred to by its county location—for example, the Superior Court in Maricopa County.

Level 3—Appellate Jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court are Arizona’s appellate courts. The state appellate courts have jurisdiction to review trials and decisions appealed to them. The two divisions of the Court of Appeals hear most of the appeals that come from the superior court, except for death penalty appeals and some cases involving elected officials and disputes between counties, which go directly to the Supreme Court.

To appeal a decision from the Court of Appeals, the appellant must file a petition for review by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court justices evaluate the petitions for review and decide whether they will hear the case. Unlike the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court is not required to hear every appeal.