Pennsylvania’s Superior and Commonwealth Courts both play a unique role in the state court system. Both Courts work to determine if errors were made at the trial court level, but handle different types of cases. Their judges both serve a 10-year term, up to age 75.
Civil cases resolve disputes between or among people, organizations or the government, wherein the rights of each party are decided. Civil cases are different from criminal cases in a variety of ways – from the types of dispute, who files the dispute, types of resolution and the course or flow of the cases through Pennsylvania courts.
Pennsylvania’s veteran population ranks fourth in the U.S. with 814,000 veterans as of 2019. Since 2009, Pennsylvania’s Veterans Treatment Courts have been assisting veterans who are charged with crimes and are struggling with addiction, mental illness or other co-occurring disorders.
Over 39,000 new protection from Abuse (PFA) orders were filed statewide in 2019. A PFA is a civil court order that protects victims of domestic violence, providing relief from abuse by an intimate partner, family or household member.
Drug delivery resulting in death (DDRD) charges statewide have increased by 356 percent between 2015 and 2019. In Pennsylvania, a DDRD charge is issued to a person who intentionally administers, dispenses, delivers, gives, prescribes, sells or distributes any controlled substance or counterfeit controlled substance, and another person dies as a result of using the substance.
Over the past few years, 52 percent of animal abuse offenses filed in Pennsylvania were for neglect of an animal, with 41 percent of offenses filed for cruelty to an animal. The anti-cruelty law (Act 10) that strengthened the protection of animals, commonly known as Libre’s Law, went into effect in late August of 2017.