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COURTS OF APPELLATE JURISDICTION.  Errors inevitably occur in the court system  Appellate courts review issues of law  The issues of law are related.

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Presentation on theme: "COURTS OF APPELLATE JURISDICTION.  Errors inevitably occur in the court system  Appellate courts review issues of law  The issues of law are related."— Presentation transcript:


2  Errors inevitably occur in the court system  Appellate courts review issues of law  The issues of law are related to decisions made by other courts and administrative agencies

3  Appellate court characteristics  No original jurisdiction  Hear appeals from trial courts, administrative boards/agencies  Collegial courts  Courts of record  Appellate court functions  Correct errors of law made by trial courts, administrative boards/agencies  Takes place primarily in the intermediate appellate courts  Responsible for developing law  Takes place primarily in the courts of last resort

4  Variation among the states  39 states have intermediate appellate courts  Recent addition to state court structure  Courts may meet at a central location  Court judges may “ride circuit” to meet at different locations  Court may have regional divisions  State variation on number of judges  Dispose of most state appeals  Some may be appealed to the state court of last resort

5  Courts of Last Resort  Name variation  Size variation  Selection method variation  Election  Appointment  Merit selection  Most justices serve fixed terms (6-12 years)  Methods of discipline or removal from office  Board or commission addresses judicial conduct and discipline  Charges handled by board or sent to the state supreme court  Outcomes range from a reprimand to dismissal from office  Civil appeals and death penalty decisions comprise most of the court’s work

6  Also called Circuit Courts  Created by the Judiciary Act of 1789  Circuit Court of Appeals Act of 1891 changed court function  Handle the majority of federal appeals  Caseload  State cases but appealed to federal district courts  Cases that originated in federal district courts  Small percentage of cases are appealed and few go beyond Courts of Appeals  Increasing number of cases filed and terminated

7  Created by Article III of the Constitution  Increasing number of cases filed and terminated  Broad jurisdiction  Original jurisdiction is rarely exercised  Functions  Judicial review  Applies to acts of lower courts, legislatures, and executive officers  Fundamental part of the U.S. constitutional system  Docket control  Writs of certiorari  Discretionary review  Independent calendar (first Monday in October until late June or early July)  The Supreme Court may not have the final word on an issue  Constitutional amendment  Congressional legislation  Executive enforcement  Supreme Court has significant symbolic authority

8  Appointed by President and confirmed by Senate  Have life tenure  May be removed through impeachment  Extremely elite group  Most are white males  Prominent families  Prestigious legal education  Successful legal careers  Increasing numbers of women and minorities

9  Collegial courts  Cases are decided by groups of judges  Often sit in 3-judge panels  Court may sit en banc (as one body)  Important or controversial cases  U.S. Supreme Court  Many state supreme courts

10  Error of law  Objection to error must be made  Appeal must be timely  State remedies must be exhausted, if applicable  Court cannot issue advisory opinions  Appealing party must have the resources to undertake an appeal  Constitutional right only extends to first-level appeals  Special interest groups may finance the appeal

11  Smaller workload than trial courts  Solutions to increasing caseload  Adding judges  State courts are reluctant to increase the number of justices  State supreme courts hear cases en banc  Creating or expanding intermediate appellate courts  Resulted in an increase in filings with intermediate appeals courts  39 states have at least one intermediate appellate court  Deciding cases in panels  Most intermediate appellate courts utilize this approach  Allows for caseload division  En banc hearings are reserved for noteworthy cases

12 Additional Solutions to Increasing Caseload  Employing law clerks and staff attorneys  Responsibilities  Supply information to judges  Analyze the parties’ arguments  Conduct legal research  May result in bureaucracy and other issues  May increase quantity but not quality of outcomes  Deciding cases without opinion  Unpublished and memorandum opinions  Curtailing oral arguments  Using summary judgments

13  Mandatory/Automatic Appeals  Court is obligated to review the case  May result from state or federal constitutional provisions, or state statutes  Most common in intermediate appellate courts  Discretionary Appeals  Court has the option of accepting or rejecting the appeal  Most common in courts of last resort  Gives courts of last resort more control over their own dockets

14  Called collateral relief  Writs of habeas corpus  Ask the state to prove that an inmate’s incarceration is lawful  May result in a new trial or reversal of conviction  Increase in habeas corpus filings  Civil rights action  42 U.S.C. § 1983  Civil rights violations by police officers  Unconstitutional conditions by corrections officials  Raises issues about conditions of confinement  May be civil or criminal

15  Few cases are successful on appeal  Most people receive the sentence originally imposed

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