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The Federal Court System and The State Court System

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1 The Federal Court System and The State Court System
The Dual Court System The Federal Court System and The State Court System

2 Lawyers Many Lawyers are specializing and becoming certified in various areas of the law. Lawyer Specialty by the Numbers



5 What is Jurisdiction? the right, power, or authority to administer justice by hearing and determining controversies. power; authority; control such as he has jurisdiction over all American soldiers in the area. the extent or range of judicial, law enforcement, or other authority such as this case comes under the jurisdiction of the local police. the territory over which authority is exercised such as all islands to the northwest are his jurisdiction.

6 Various Types of Jurisdiction
General Jurisdiction-- means that a court has the authority to hear a variety of different cases. A general jurisdiction court is separate and distinct from a limited jurisdiction court, such as a small claims court. The vast majority of cases in most countries are brought in general jurisdiction courts. These courts hear both civil and criminal cases.

7 Various Types of Jurisdiction
Original Jurisdiction--the authority of a court to try a case in the first time and give judgment according to the facts. This is the court where a case begins. Evidence is heard and testimony is given—courts of original jurisdiction can be decided by a judge or a jury.

8 Various Types of Jurisdiction
Limited Jurisdiction 1. courts' authority over certain types of cases such as bankruptcy, claims against the government, probate, family matters, immigration and customs, or juvenile cases. 2. limitations on courts' authority to try cases involving maximum amounts of money or value. Example: Small claims courts

9 Various Types of Jurisdiction
Appellate Jurisdiction- The power of a court to review and revise a lower court's decision. Appellate jurisdiction reviews the legal issues of the lower courts. No evidence is presented and no jury is seated.

10 Supreme Court Stuart Mylin Highest Court in the State
Original jurisdiction cases where state is a party Appellate jurisdiction Superior Court Appellate jurisdiction Panel of 3 judges HEARS QUESTIONS OF LAW Lancaster City Located in the county seat. Courts of Common Pleas Original jurisdiction. General jurisdiction for criminal and civil cases 60 districts, 1-95 judges per district HEARS QUESTIONS OF FACT District Magistrate Limited Jurisdiction Original jurisdiction General Jurisdiction for criminal and civil cases Small Claims Court Traffic violations Misdemeanors HEARS QUESTIONS OF FACT Stuart Mylin

11 State Court System Special State Courts include
Domestic Relations Court—matters of divorce and child custody Juvenile Courts—offenders under 18—rehabilitation is the goal. Probate Court—handles disputes concerning wills.

12 Article III. Judicial Branch
Federal Court System Derives its power from Article III of the Constitution Article III. Judicial Branch Section 1. Judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance of Office.

13 Federal Court System Federal courts have jurisdiction over
Actions where the U.S. or a state is party. ( (not between a state and citizens) Cases that involve a federal question i.e.,an interpretation of the Constitution. Diversity of citizenship cases—actions between citizens of different states of $50,000 or more. Admiralty (pertaining to the sea), copyright, patents, and bankruptcy.

14 Circuit courts of Appeals
Supreme Court Highest Court in the land Original jurisdiction in some cases Appellate jurisdiction—Constitutional questions Circuit courts of Appeals Appellate jurisdiction 12 judicial districts Lancaster County in District #3 Three judges sit on the panel HEARS QUESTIONS OF LAW U.S. District Courts General jurisdiction Original jurisdiction for federal cases 94 federal district courts HEARS QUESTIONS OF FACT Lancaster County is in the Eastern PA District Court is located in Philadelphia

15 Federal Court System Special Federal Courts include
U.S. Bankruptcy Court U.S. Court of International Trade U.S. Tax Courts—IRS disputes Territorial Courts Court of Military Appeals

16 The Supreme Court Only Court created in the Constitution
The court of last resort “Watchdog of the government Original jurisdiction in some cases—ambassadors and other public officials, cases where the state is party. Appellate jurisdiction to hear cases on appeal from lower courts. Nine judges appointed for life on of which is the chief justice.

17 The Supreme Court The “rule of four”—Four of the nine judges must agree to hear a case. Court hears but a fraction of cases submitted (100/5-6,000) Oral Arguments (30 minutes)—Each side (attorney) has only 30 minutes to present his case. Briefs—written documents—Each side submits briefs to the court prior to oral arguments The Conference—secret and no transcript is made

18 The Supreme Court The Opinion of the Court (majority opinion—1/3 are unanimous) Concurring opinion—a different spin on the majority opinion. Dissenting opinion—written by judges who voted against the majority opinion. Lower court findings may be “affirmed” or “reversed.”

19 Appellate Decisions To let the original verdict, or decision stand.
To overturn the original court’s decision. To send the case back to the lower court for a new trial. Docket—a list or schedule of cases

20 Supreme Court Decisions
The justices should use the literal meaning of the Constitution—This is very difficult—the document is very short and statements are general. Not every situation is covered by the words of the Constitution. The justices should follow the intent of the framers of the Constitution—It is difficult to get into the minds of the framers and know what they intended. The justices should use perspective—Laws that are written today reflect the values of society today, not those of the 200 years ago. People should consider today’s values when deciding cases.

21 State Route to the Supreme Court
A party to case loses is the Court of Common Pleas. He takes the case to the Superior Court and the State Supreme Court. State Supreme Court rules on the case. The decision can now be appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court if a constitutional question is involved.

22 Federal Route to the Supreme Court
Case involving a federal law is tried in the U.S. District court. Loser takes case to the U.S. circuit of Appeals. Court of appeals ruling can be submitted to U.S. Supreme Court for review.

23 Supreme Court Justices
Chief Justice—John Roberts Associate Justices Elena Kagan Samuel Alito Antonin Scalia Anthony M. Kennedy Sonia Sotomayor-- Hispanic Clarence Thomas—African American Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stephen G. Breyer

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