Indiana Case Law
The Indiana state court system is divided into three levels. The highest court in Indiana is the Indiana Supreme Court, which consists of five judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Tax Court. It also reviews appeals of decisions by trial courts in limited situations. Decisions by the Indiana Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.
The middle level of the Indiana state court system consists of the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Tax Court. The Court of Appeals contains 15 judges. It reviews most appeals of decisions by trial courts, as well as appeals of decisions by some state administrative agencies. The Tax Court reviews appeals of decisions by state administrative agencies that require an Indiana resident to pay a certain amount in taxes. It also may serve as a trial court in some situations.
The lowest level of the Indiana state court system consists primarily of the Indiana Circuit Courts, the Indiana Superior Courts, the Indiana City Courts, and the Indiana Town Courts. The Circuit Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. The Superior Courts also are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases, and they sometimes include divisions for small claims and minor criminal offenses. Each county in Indiana has a Circuit Court, and most counties have a Superior Court. The Circuit Courts and the Superior Courts also review appeals of decisions by City Courts and Town Courts. The jurisdiction of these courts, which are also known as Municipal Courts, is limited to certain types of cases. These include misdemeanors, traffic offenses, and violations of local ordinances.
Indiana also has one Probate Court in St. Joseph County and one Small Claims Court in Marion County. The Probate Court reviews cases related to estate administration, guardianships, and mental health. The Small Claims Court reviews civil matters with no more than $8,000 at issue. Decisions by the Probate Court may be appealed to the Court of Appeals, while decisions by the Small Claims Court may be appealed to the Circuit Court or the Superior Court in Marion County.