The Constitution of Pennsylvania establishes the Common Pleas Court as the trial court of general jurisdiction in this Commonwealth. It is at the common pleas level that criminal prosecutions are brought ranging from homicides to misdemeanors. Money damage actions are tried here as well. All matters relating to the family-divorce, custody, and support-are presented here. The juvenile court division hears cases involving those under the age of eighteen who are charged with criminal acts or who are alleged to be dependent children. Estate matters, adoptions, property disputes, and equity issues are all heard at the common pleas level. The rights of individuals in these significant matters are adjudicated in this court in thousands of matters annually. Juries are impaneled to decide cases involving life, liberty, and property.
In the Magisterial District Courts of the Third Judicial District an average of 70,000 are heard each year. Magisterial District Justices conduct preliminary hearings in criminal matters, decide summary criminal cases, hear emergency protection from abuse applications, issue search and arrest warrants, set bail, and decide civil claims within the limited jurisdiction of the Magisterial District Justice Courts.