About Philadelphia Municipal Court Judges

About Philadelphia Municipal Court Judges

The Philadelphia Municipal Court is a court of record whose jurisdiction is limited to those matters specified by its enabling statute.  The court is comprised of up to twenty-seven, law-trained, commissioned judges and is organized into criminal, civil and traffic divisions.

The Criminal Division hears nonjury criminal trials of adult defendants who are charged with crimes that carry a maximum sentence of incarceration of five years or less. The Criminal Division is also responsible for the processing of every criminal arrest in Philadelphia and for hearing preliminary hearings in all cases in which a felony is charged and jurisdiction over the initial trial lies with the Court of Common Pleas.  The street address of the Criminal Division is 1301 Filbert Street.

The Civil Division hears civil nonjury trials in which only a monetary award is sought and the amount in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, is no more than $12,000.  It also hears landlord-tenant cases in which the landlord seeks the right to use lawful process to regain possession of the leased property and/or a monetary award for unpaid rent.  In those landlord-tenant cases, there is no limit on the amount that a landlord may seek or recover.  The Civil Division also hears actions known as Code Enforcement actions brought by the City of Philadelphia in which a monetary award is sought as a result of an alleged violation of the Philadelphia Code or as a result of alleged unpaid real estate taxes and school taxes not exceeding $15,000.  The street address of the Civil Division is 1339 Chestnut Street.

The Traffic Division hears nonjury trials of moving violations set forth in the Vehicle Code.  The street address of the Traffic Division is 800 Spring Garden Street.

Each of the three divisions disposes of more cases than are filed.  The Criminal Division annually receives approximately 19,000 cases that require a preliminary hearing and approximately 18,000 cases that require a trial.  The Civil Division annually receives approximately 38,000 code enforcement complaints, approximately 24,000 landlord-tenant complaints, and approximately 24,000 small claims statements of claim.  There are approximately 97,000 citations filed with the Traffic Division.            

Each division has a deputy court administrator who is the appropriate person to address any questions, comments or suggestions.  Kathy Rapone (215-683-7290) is the deputy court administrator of the Criminal Division.  John Joyce (215-686-2910) is the deputy court administrator of the Civil Division.  Joseph Hassett (215-686-1645) is the deputy court administrator of the Traffic Division.

A Civil Division Courtroom
A Criminal Division Courthouse
The Original Judges of the Court
A Traffic Division Courtroom