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Jack Friery UCSD Extension Intro to Legal System Class 2 of 3 The Court System Jurisdiction & Venue 1 Jack Friery © 2011
Review - Sources of Law Jack Friery © Federal and State constitutions – establish the federal and state governments and enumerate their powers International law—treaties & customs Federal and State statutes – enacted by the U.S. Congress and state legislatures Administrative law – Agencies are created by the legislature and executive branches of government Case decisions and principles forming common law – Court-decided controversies
Why are the Courts Important? The laws would be meaningless without courts to enforce, interpret, and apply them Society changes its view Jack Friery © 20113
Fifty-two Court Systems Jack Friery © Each of the fifty states has its own court system The District of Columbia has its own court system The federal courts constitute a separate court system
Federal System not superior Jack Friery © The federal courts are not superior to the state courts; they are two independent court systems The systems run concurrently
Jurisdiction Jack Friery © In Latin, juris, means “law” and dicere means to “speak” Thus, the term means "the power to speak the law” In order to hear a case, a court must have jurisdiction over the person or the property, as well as subject matter, involved in the dispute
Types of Jurisdiction Jack Friery © A court must have jurisdiction to hear and decide a case There are two primary types of jurisdiction: Subject-matter In personam (personal), or In rem (property)
Jurisdiction Over Subject Matter Jack Friery © Limitation on the types of cases the court can hear General Jurisdiction Limited Jurisdiction
General Jurisdiction Jack Friery © Courts that can hear a variety of cases including: Civil cases Criminal cases
Limited Jurisdiction Jack Friery © Courts whose jurisdiction is limited to certain types of cases Examples Probate Bankruptcy
Subject-Matter Jurisdiction Jack Friery © The authority of the court is set by statute or constitution creating the court and is limited by: The subject matter of the lawsuit The amount of money in controversy Whether the case is a felony or misdemeanor Whether the proceeding is a trial or appeal
Jurisdiction Over Persons Jack Friery © Courts can exercise personal jurisdiction over residents of a certain geographical area Long-arm statutes – allow state courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants, such as individuals or corporations in other states Nonresidents must have “minimum contacts” with the state before the court can exercise jurisdiction
Minimum Contacts Jack Friery © Example: If an individual from State A causes a car crash in State B, the “minimum contacts” requirement would be met The court in State B could exercise jurisdiction over the individual from State A
Jurisdiction Over Property Courts can exercise jurisdiction over property located within their boundaries Jack Friery ©
Original vs. Appellate Jack Friery © The distinction between these types of jurisdiction depends on whether the case is being heard for the first time Original jurisdiction – the power to hear a case for the first time – usually given to trial courts Appellate jurisdiction – the power to review decisions of lower courts – usually given to appellate courts
Federal Jurisdiction Jack Friery © Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the authority of the federal courts, states as follows: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority. Bases for federal jurisdiction: Federal Question or statute Diversity of Citizenship
Federal Questions Jack Friery © Whenever a case is based, at least in part, on the U.S. Constitution, a treaty, or a federal law, then a federal question arises, and the case comes under the judicial power of the federal courts. A lawsuit may be brought in federal court.
Diversity Jack Friery © Federal District courts can also exercise original jurisdiction over cases involving diversity of citizenship, which arises when a lawsuit involves citizens of different states, or a foreign country Amount in controversy must exceed $75,000
Exclusive vs. Concurrent Jack Friery © Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two different courts have power to hear the same case Exclusive jurisdiction exists when a case can be heard only in a certain court
Venue Jack Friery © Venue is the geographical location in which an action is tried and from which the jury is selected In a criminal case, the proper venue is generally the judicial district or county where the crime was committed.
Venue (con’t) In civil cases, venue is generally proper in the county or district where important events related to the case took place, such as the signing or performance of a contract or the accident or other incident that led to a personal injury case. Typically, the plaintiff in a civil case may also sue in the district or county where the defendant lives or does business. Jack Friery ©
Standing to Sue Jack Friery © Standing to sue is the requirement that an individual must have sufficient stake in a controversy before he or she can bring a lawsuit The party must have a legally protected and tangible interest at stake in the litigation, such having suffered a harm or having been threatened with harm
Jack Friery © In some cases, a person will have standing to sue on behalf of another person – Parent on behalf of child Example – a parent has standing to sue on behalf of her child if the child has been injured by a defective toy
Judicial Controversy Jack Friery © Real and substantial controversy, as opposed to hypothetical or academic The child’s parents could only sue if the child had actually been injured by the toy – They could not sue merely on the ground that the toy was defective
Judicial Process Jack Friery © Litigation follows specific procedural rules When the document must be filed Time requirements for responding to documents Federal Rules of Civil Procedure California Code of Civil Procedure
State Court System Jack Friery © Each state has its own system of courts, and no two state systems are the same Trial Courts Appellate Courts
Trial Courts Jack Friery © A trial court is presided over by a judge, who issues a decision on the matter before the court. If it is a jury trial, the jury will decide the facts and the judge will issue a judgment based on the jury’s conclusion
Trial Courts – con’t Jack Friery © During trial, the attorneys introduce evidence in support of their client’s positions Each attorney has an opportunity to cross- examine witnesses of the opposing party and to rebut their evidence
Trial Courts – con’t Jack Friery © State courts have either general or limited jurisdiction. General – criminal and civil matters Limited – family court, traffic court, or probate court
Courts of Appeal Jack Friery © Appellate courts review the decisions of lower courts Every state has at least one court of appeals, which may be an intermediate appellate court or a state’s highest court
Courts of Appeal – con’t Jack Friery © Intermediate appellate courts – these courts hear appeals – not retry cases An appellate court panel of three or more judges reviews the record of the case on appeal, including a trial transcript, to determine if there is an error of law
Courts of Appeal – con’t Jack Friery © Appellate courts focus on questions of law and procedure, deferring to the trial court’s findings of fact Only look at findings of fact when it is contrary to the evidence presented or there is no evidence to support the finding
Highest Appellate Court Jack Friery © Usually called the supreme court The decisions of each state’s highest courts are final Only when issues of federal law are involved can a decision made by a state’s highest court be overruled by the United States Supreme Court
The Federal Court System Jack Friery © Three-tiered model U.S. district courts (trial courts) and other courts of limited jurisdiction U.S. courts of appeals (intermediate appellate courts) United States Supreme Court
U.S. District Court Jack Friery © The district court is a federal trial court of general jurisdiction At least one district court in every state Currently 94 district courts (some states have several districts)
U.S. Court of Appeals Jack Friery © Organized into thirteen circuits Twelve hear appeals from the federal district courts located in their geographic circuits The thirteenth, called the Federal Circuit, has jurisdiction over certain types of federal cases, such as patent cases
U.S. Court of Appeals – con’t Jack Friery © A party that is unhappy with a federal district court’s decision may appeal the decision to a federal court of appeals, where a panel of three or more judges will review the decision made by the trial court for errors of law The decisions are final, but appeal to the United States Court is possible
United States Supreme Court Jack Friery © Composition – nine justices – nominated by President and confirmed by the Senate Original jurisdiction in cases affecting ambassadors, ministers and consuls, and cases in which a state is a party All other cases serves as an appellate court
Writ of Certiorari Jack Friery © There in no absolute right to appeal to U.S. Supreme Court File “petition for certiorari” If petition granted, issues a writ Rule of four – at least 4 justices must grant the writ
U.S. Supreme Cases Jack Friery © Thousands of cases filed each year Usually hears fewer than 100 each year The U.S. Supreme Court will hear important constitutional issues or issues on which the lower courts are divided
Citation Jack Friery © This indicates in which reporter the case can be found Gives the volume number and page number “384 U.S. 436” can be found in volume 384 of the U.S. Reports on page 436. Citation Source: “The Bluebook”
Decisions and Opinions Jack Friery © The opinion is the court’s statement of its reasons for its decision, the rules of law that apply and the judgment
Questions? 43 Jack Friery © 2011
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