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Identifier: SCG-00018

Scope and Contents

Dockets heard in the Ocean Township Justice Court .


  • Creation: 1916-1931

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Materials stored offsite, but collection is open to research. In many cases, further details on individual volumes can be found by calling staff at the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library. To view these materials, please call staff at link to request they be brought from the Archives to the Library

Conditions Governing Use

Collection does not circulate and may be photocopied or photographed by arrangement only.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the Sonoma County Library. The Sonoma County Library has made this collection available and believes that the collection is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Collection may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries. Preferred credit line is: Courtesy, the Sonoma County Library. Please see additional reproduction and reuse information at link

Court History

Prior to June 1998, California's trial courts consisted of Superior and Municipal courts, each with its own jurisdiction and with its number of judges fixed by the Legislature; prior to 1934, the Ocean Township Justice Court was one of fifteen such inferior courts in the County. The Justice Court (also known as the Ocean Township Justice's Court; more formally designated as the State of California's Justice Court for Ocean Township), had jurisdiction over Ocean Township in northwestern Sonoma County, California, which included the towns of Fort Ross, Plantation, Stewarts Point and other settlements along the Pacific coast.

The Ocean court, like other justice courts, was an inferior local tribunal for the adjudication of minor causes and the preservation of the peace. By the Act of March 16, 1850, which divided up the state into judicial districts, "the term of office of a justice of the peace was fixed at one year. Two justices were allowed to each township, also two constables, the officers who serve the processes of the court. The jurisdiction of a justice extended to the limits of the township for which he was elected. He had cognizance of actions on contract, for damages, and to recover specific property, when the amount or value did not exceed $200. In 1851, his powers were considerably increased. He had jurisdiction of actions to recover money, for damages to personal property, for fines, penalties and forfeitures, actions on bonds, enforcement of lien on personal property, actions to recover personal property and judgment by confession, where the amount in all these cases did not exceed $8,500, and on a bond taken by him if the amount did exceed that sum, cases of forcible entry and detainer, and the trial of the right of mining claims. The criminal jurisdiction embraced vagrancy, disorder, petty larceny, assault and battery, breaches of the peace, and all misdemeanors punishable by a fine of not more than $500 and not more than one year's imprisonment. In 1863, forcible entry and detainer cases were transferred to the county court, and the civil jurisdiction was reduced to amounts not exceeding $300. In 1870, the jurisdiction of cases of misdemeanor was extended to fines of $1,000 and imprisonment for one year: but in 1874 it was reduced to fines of $500 and six months' imprisonment. In 1863, the term of office of justices and constables was increased to two years. The new constitution preserved the justice courts as before." (source: Wells, Harry Laurenz, 1854-1940. History of Butte County. San Francisco : H. L. Wells, 1882.)

The Ocean Township Justice Court was consolidated in 1934 as part of the County's inferior court reorganization program as recommended by the Sonoma County Grand Jury, which combined the Ocean township court with the Redwood Township Justice Court (source: Township merger approved. Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.), May 18, 1934, page 3)

A number of other reorganizations and consolidations of the County's District Courts took place over the next four decades until the various inferior courts were absorbed into the Superior Court following another voter-authorized reorganization in 1998, California Proposition 220.


0.92 linear feet (1 ledger volume)


Collection contains records of cases tried at the Ocean Township Justice Court between 1916 and 1934. Includes Justice docket (civil cases) for the Ocean Township Justice Court in Sonoma County, California between 1916 and 1934.

Arrangement of Materials:


Ocean Township Justice Court records, 1916-1931
Finding aid author: Mark Cooper.
Published Feb 28, 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in:English

Repository Details

Part of the Sonoma County Archives Repository

725 3rd St.
Santa Rosa CA 95404 United States