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CHAPTER THREE THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM. w.05 2 Court-Defined Governmental body to which the administration of justice is delegated; tribunal established by.

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Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER THREE THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM. w.05 2 Court-Defined Governmental body to which the administration of justice is delegated; tribunal established by."— Presentation transcript:


2 w.05 2 Court-Defined Governmental body to which the administration of justice is delegated; tribunal established by government to hear and decide matters properly brought before it Established by Constitution (usually federal or state); legislative action can alter what courts can do

3 w.05 3 Two Court Systems In U.S. Federal court system enforces federal law rights granted by U.S. Constitution acts of U.S. Congress, rights granted by federal courts State court system enforces state law rights granted by state Constitution, acts of state legislature, rights granted by state courts

4 w.05 4 How Courts Established Federal courts Article III of United States Constitution Federal Judiciary Act of 1789 State Courts Article IV of Washington State Constitution Revised Code of Washington (see Titles 2, 3 and 13-also Titles 4, 5, 6, 7 and 12)

5 w.05 5 Settlement Defined Compromise between parties which usually results in termination of lawsuit Compromise usually reduced to writing and signed by judge (agreed judgment) Settlement usually has force of a contract Length of time required to secure trial and cost of attorney usual reasons for settlement

6 w.05 6 Levels Of Courts Limited jurisdiction informal, handle minor matters concerning relatively small sums of money; no lawyers, no record Trial courts handle most major trials, formal, record kept, jury available, lawyers present, rules on procedure, evidence Appeals courts review and correct errors in interpreting law made by lower courts

7 w.05 7 Role Of Jury Bench trial-judge makes all decisions Jury trial, jurors serve as “finder of fact” Judge makes decisions on matters of law, jury determines what took place factually Basic fact-occurrence or non occurrence of an event or circumstance Ultimate fact-based on evaluation of basic facts, guilt or innocence of parties

8 w.05 8 Role Of Jury Washington allows non unanimous verdicts (10 of 12 or 5 of 6 in civil cases, unanimous criminal cases) Verdicts in Washington General (guilt or innocence) Special (questions to jury re facts, judge decides case) General with interrogatories (questions to jury re facts, jury decides case)

9 w.05 9 Courts In Washington Small Claims See RCW 12.40 One or more in each county apportioned by population Monetary jurisdiction 0-$4000 Service allowed by registered mail No attorneys, no record Limited appeal rights-$250 or less no appeal- P-may not appeal $1000 or less

10 w.05 10 Courts In Washington Small Claims See RCW 12.40 Start case by filing claim containing Name/Address P Nature of claim; amount in question and date claim arose Name/Address D if known Ten dollar filing fee which can be increased by county additional fifteen dollars to fund dispute resolution centers

11 w.05 11 Courts In Washington District Courts See RCW Title 3 Justice of peace courts/district courts are the same One or more in each county apportioned by population and assigned to geographic district within county (King County-26, Pierce County-11, Snohomish County-7) Qualifications for judge-registered voter, attorney

12 w.05 12 Courts In Washington District Courts See RCW Title 3 Monetary jurisdiction 0-$50,000 Exclusive jurisdiction misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors Cannot hear certain real estate cases, intentional torts, tax related matters Record kept, lawyers present, jury allowed

13 w.05 13 Courts In Washington Municipal Courts See RCW 3.46 and 3.50 Municipal court is a form of district court Cities may form such courts solely for enforcing ordinances Judges have same powers as district court judges Appeals go to superior court

14 w.05 14 Courts In Washington Superior Courts See RCW 2.08 Superior Courts-major trial court in state One or more in each county apportioned by population Monetary jurisdiction $50,000 or more (actually may hear cases involving more than $300.00) Exclusive jurisdiction real estate, taxes, wills, family law juvenile justice Formal, lawyers, jury, record kept

15 w.05 15 Courts In Washington Courts of Appeal-See RCW 2.06 Washington Courts of Appeal-first place appeals from superior court heard Three geographic divisions (Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane) Each division has districts within it Three judge panel hears case, majority vote determines decision

16 w.05 16 Courts In Washington State Supreme Court-See RCW 2.04 State Supreme Court-final authority on meaning of state law Resolves disputes among Courts of Appeal (differing results, same facts) Can issue writs of habeas corpus, mandamus and quo warranto Handles death penalty appeals Can assign cases to and take cases from Courts of Appeal

17 w.05 17 Courts In Washington State Supreme Court-See RCW 2.04 Oversees operation of and makes rules for all Washington state courts Civil procedure, appeals, evidence etc.. Located in Olympia Nine justice panel reviews case Majority vote wins, ties allow lower court decision to stand

18 w.05 18 Courts In Washington Family Court, Juvenile Court Family Court-see RCW 26.12.010 Division of superior court Handle matters falling under Title 26 (dissolution, child custody, child support) Juvenile Court-see RCW 13.04.030 Division of superior court Handles dependency, termination of parent- child relationship, juvenile crime

19 w.05 19 Jurisdiction Defined-power or authority of a court to hear a case and render a decision-see RCW 4.12.010,.020 and.025 Two things necessary for jurisdiction Jurisdiction over case (geographic, monetary, subject matter) Jurisdiction over person also called “in personam jurisdiction” ( this is a notification requirement, must inform D they are being sued)

20 w.05 20 Jurisdiction Jurisdiction over the case requires Original or appellate jurisdiction (initial case or request to review earlier case) Monetary jurisdiction (is legislatively required amount in controversy) Subject matter jurisdiction (can court hear this sort of case) Geographic jurisdiction (D’s residence or where cause of action arose)

21 w.05 21 Jurisdiction Obtaining “in personam jurisdiction”-see RCW 4.28 or Washington Superior Court Rules ( Civil Rule 4) Normally accomplished by service of process which is delivery of summons (court order defend suit or automatic loss) and complaint (why this is proper court to hear case, what took place, relief sought )

22 w.05 22 Jurisdiction Methods of obtaining jurisdiction Personal service-delivery of process to D at home or elsewhere by neutral third party; D must identify self, hand process to them, can be left at feet if acceptance refused Substituted service-delivery of process to residence of D and leaving it with person of suitable age and discretion

23 w.05 23 Jurisdiction Methods of obtaining jurisdiction Service by publication-used when D concealed self, fled, has property in state or dissolution case Operation-1) file affidavit describing unsuccessful attempts to serve; 2) mail process to D’s last known address; 3) publish prescribed notice in paper of general circulation for six consecutive weeks D has sixty days to respond

24 w.05 24 Jurisdiction Voluntary submission (can be intentional or unintentional) Formal waiver (done in writing) General appearance (defense on merits waives challenge to jurisdiction-at start of trial must use special appearance to make challenge to jurisdiction or on other matters)

25 w.05 25 Jurisdiction Voluntary submission Long arm statute see RCW 4.28.180 and.185 If nonresident D has certain minimum contacts with state of Washington can be required to defend case here Grounds include: owning property, doing business, using roads, criminal or tortious behavior, conceiving child

26 w.05 26 Jurisdiction Jurisdiction over property (courts ability to determine ownership even if D not available) In rem court can decide ownership rights in property within county but nothing else Quasi in rem used in collection of judgment cases, court can transfer rights in property to discharge obligation judgment debtor has to judgment creditor Property can be sold and rights transferred to another

27 w.05 27 Venue Proper place for a trial to be heard (to render decision court must have jurisdiction and venue) See RCW 4.12.030 Burden of proof is on challenging party Courts assume P’s choice of court is proper D must show by clear and significant evidence that injustice would result if P’s choice of court honored

28 w.05 28 Venue Grounds for change of venue Forum non conviens-substantial burden for D and witnesses to appear at court chosen by P Local prejudice-public feeling against D so high that fair trial is impossible Also Washington state allows change if there is judicial prejudice or case filed in wrong county

29 w.05 29 Federal Courts Enforce federal law (rights granted by U.S. Constitution Acts of U.S. Congress, decisions of fed. courts) Source of Power (Art. III, Sec. 1, US Constitution; 1789 Judiciary Act) Federal judges appointed for life (by President with advice and consent Senate) Three courts (Federal district courts, U.S. Circuit courts of Appeal, U.S. Supreme Court)

30 w.05 30 Federal Courts Federal District Courts At least one in every state, apportioned by population Ninety four nationally with two in Washington (Western District-Seattle; Eastern District- Spokane) Trial level court, most cases start here

31 w.05 31 Federal Courts United States Circuit courts Of Appeal 13 circuits (11 geographic, one for Washington D.C. one to handle special matters such as copyrights, patents) Hear appeals from district courts Three judge panel Washington in 9th Circuit, headquartered in San Francisco

32 w.05 32 Federal Courts United States Supreme Court Located in Washington D.C. Nine judge panel Handles most important matters of federal law, resolves conflicts between circuits, vital issues of constitutional law

33 w.05 33 Federal Courts United States Supreme Court Will receive 14,000 plus requests per year, usually will only accept 200 cases Most requests come from writ of certiorari (important federal right violated and immediate relief needed)

34 w.05 34 Federal Court Jurisdiction Diversity jurisdiction see 28 USCA 1332-parties from different states and over $75K in controversy (diversity must be complete) Federal question jurisdiction concerns rights granted which are federal constitutional, statutory or common law Federal courts can exercise in rem and quasi in rem jurisdiction

35 w.05 35 Venue In Federal Cases Diversity cases Where P resides; where D resides or where cause of action took place Federal question cases Where D resides or where cause of action took place

36 w.05 36 Removal Doctrine D has power to remove case from state to federal ct., if federal ct. has jurisdiction Allowed to prevent unfairness Allowed to prevent duplicative legislation (federal and state laws similar e.g. free speech) Not allowed if D resident of state where suit brought

37 w.05 37 Erie Doctrine Defined In federal diversity cases court will follow law of state where issue arose Keys to understanding Erie doctrine Will only arise if there are no federal issues (otherwise it is federal question jurisdiction) Wish to avoid having federal courts create state law (federal courts only rule on federal issues or where state law impacts federal rights)

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