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CHAPTER 5 The Court System. Key Terms Trial courts Parties Plaintiff Prosecutor Defendant Juror Adversarial system Inquisition system Plea bargain Stare.

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Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER 5 The Court System. Key Terms Trial courts Parties Plaintiff Prosecutor Defendant Juror Adversarial system Inquisition system Plea bargain Stare."— Presentation transcript:

1 CHAPTER 5 The Court System

2 Key Terms Trial courts Parties Plaintiff Prosecutor Defendant Juror Adversarial system Inquisition system Plea bargain Stare decisis Voir dire Removal for cause Peremptory challenges Appeals court Error of law Precedent Dissenting opinion Concurring opinion Probate Inherent powers Delegated power Petitions for certiorari

3 The Court System State Court System Federal Court System Tribal Court System  Each has trial and appeals courts  Supreme Court of the U.S.  The highest court in the land  Hears appeals from other court systems.

4 Trial Courts Listen to testimony Consider evidence Decide the facts in disputes Two parties in a trial  Civil Trial – Plaintiff, the party bringing legal action  Criminal Trial – Gov’t initiates the case and serves as the prosecutor  Defendant – responding party  Losing party may appeal to appellate court

5 Trial Courts METHODS OF HANDLING DISPUTES Adversarial system – contest between opposing sides  Judge or jury will be able to determine the truth Inquisitional system (used by the Europeans) – judge questions the witness and controls the court process, include gathering and presenting evidence

6 Trials Courts Parts of the legal system Judge and juries are essential parts: Judge presides over the trial Has duty to protect rights Makes sure attorneys follow the rules and procedures Non-jury trials – judge determines the facts and renders judgment Jury trials – judge required to instruct jury as to the law Criminal trials – judge sentences convicted individuals  Sixth Amendment – guarantees right to trial by jury in a criminal case (applies to both federal and state courts)  Seventh Amendment – guarantees a right to trial by jury in a civil case in federal courts

7 Trials Courts Parts of the legal system Civil Case – plaintiff or defendant request a jury trial Criminal Case – defendant decides if jury  Most cases are never brought to trial, they are disposed by a plea bargain (pre-trial agreement) between the prosecutor and defendant To serve on jury: o U.S. Citizen o At least 18yrs old o Speak and understand English o Resident of the State o Duty to serve when called upon o Cannot be convicted felon

8 Trials Courts Juror process Voir dire - Jurors are screened through an examination process  Opposing lawyers question each prosecutor’s jurors Removal for cause – removal of juror who appears incapable of rendering fair and impartial verdict Peremptory challenge – a limited number of juror removed without stating a cause.

9 Steps in a Trial (pg. 49) 1.Plaintiff/Prosecutor opening statement 2.Defense opening statement 3.Direct Examination by plaintiff/prosecutor 4.Cross-examination by defense 5.Motions 6.Direct examinations by defense 7.Cross-examination by plaintiff/prosecutor 8.Closing statement by plaintiff/prosecutor 9.Closing statement by defense 10.Rebuttal argument 11.Jury instructions 12.Verdict - hung jury if unanimous decision is not reached, case may be tried again

10 Student Q&A problem 5.2 a)Has anyone in your family ever served on a jury? What type of case? b)Why would someone choose not to have a jury trial in a civil case? How about a criminal case? c)What are some reasons service members (clergy, attorneys, physicians, police officers, & convicted felons are excluded from jury service? d)For what reasons might an attorney use a peremptory challenge?

11 Appeals Courts One party presents arguments No juries No witnesses No new evidence presented Only lawyers appear before judge Appeal is only possible when trial court has committed an error of law (judge makes mistake)  Exp. Wrong instructions to jury / permits evidence not allowed. Issues a precedent - courts “making law” – written opinion for all future cases

12 Appeals Courts Decisions are made by a panel of judge/justices – 3 or more Supreme Court – 9 justices  Majority opinion states decision  Dissenting opinion – when judges disagree with majority issue a separate document stating disagreement  Concurring opinion – judge agrees with majority, but for different reasons that do not support majority opinion.

13 State and Federal Court system State Courts: General jurisdiction Hear cases that deal with state law All states have trial courts called (superior, county, district or municipal courts) Specialize in family, traffic, criminal, probate (provide genuine will), small claims court

14 Consider – Federal or State court A state sues a neighboring state for dumping waste in a river that borders both states?  federal district court  appeals to U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals A wife sues her husband for divorce.  state court  appeals to state’s court of appeals A person prosecuted for assaulting a neighbor.  state criminal court  state court of appeals A group of parents sue the local school board, asking that their children’s school be desegregated.  Federal district court since it involves US Constitution  state court as well --- also has authority to enforce US Constitution

15 State and Federal Court system Federal Courts: Limited jurisdiction Hear criminal and civil cases involving federal law Known as U.S. District Courts  If you lose, you may be able to appeal to U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in your region 94 District Courts 13 Circuit Courts Approx. 70% of cases are bankruptcy cases

16 State and Federal Court System Supreme Court: Final appeal court Article III of U.S. Constitution gives congress the power to create lower courts

17 Tribal Courts Several hundred Indian Tribal courts govern reservations  No longer independent sovereigns Inherent powers – powers that remain Includes power to regulate family relationships Tribal membership Law & order on the reservation Delegate power – Congress grants power to tribal group in certain area, such as environmental regulation.

18 Tribal Court System Most Native American groups have justice systems Hear a broad rang of both criminal and civil cases Traditional – show little influence of American culture Both federal law and tribal law determine the jurisdiction of tribal courts.

19 The Supreme Court of U.S. Most important legal precedents are established 9 justices hear cases, majority rule All courts MUST follow Supreme Court decisions Does not accept all appeals About 80 cases/year written opinion More than ½ cases come from inmates in prison

20 The Supreme Court of U.S. Grants Petitions for Certiorari – request of lower court to send up its records. 99% requests are denied Takes cases that deal with critical national policy issues Court decisions are published in law books and internet Has power to reverse rules of laws from prior cases 9 justices are nominated by President and confirmed by Senate Justices are appointed for life

21 International Courts Setup by the UN & other organizations 1 st and most important – International Court of Justice (World Court) Located in the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands. May settle any dispute base on int’l law that a country submits UN set up special courts called tribunals International Criminal Court – 1998 by UN

22 What to know:  All the key terms  What do civil and criminal courts do?  Know about tribal law and their court system  Difference between adversarial and inquisitional system  Juror process of selection, who can a juror.  Steps in a trial – in order  What courts hear federal and local cases -US Judicial court systems  Study your notes  Quiz on Friday!!!

23 END OF CHAPTER 5


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