This is the second in a series of posts regarding practice and procedure in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

To understand the procedure in Montgomery County ignore what you know about the Federal Court System.  In federal Court when a case is filed a Judge is assigned to the case. That Judge is married to the case. They handle all aspects of the case including the trial. Federal Court Judge’s also handle both civil and criminal trials.

In Montgomery County cases are handled based upon the division that a Judge is assigned.  There are 6 divisions which are: 

  • Civil
  • Criminal
  • Equity
  • Family
  • Juvenile
  • Orphans Court

So when a case is filed the computer randomly assigns a judge based upon the type of case.  Criminal, Family, Juvenile and Orphans Court cases are assigned to Judge’s in those divisions. Sounds simple right?

Not so simple as to Civil Cases. They are randomly assigned to a Judge in the Civil, Family, and Juvenile Court Divisions. Not to handle the trials but to handle all pre-trial issues.  When it is time for trial it is then assigned to a Judge in the Civil Division.  And if I haven’t confused you enough, even if a Civil case is originally assigned to a Judge in the Civil division there is no guarantee that the pre-trial Judge will handle the trial since there are 6 Judges in the Civil division and the cases are randomly re-assigned prior to trial. You have a one sixth chance of getting the same judge.