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U.S. Federal and State Court Systems. Origins of Federal Court System Article III of Constitution – Gave power to judge criminal and civil matters of.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. Federal and State Court Systems. Origins of Federal Court System Article III of Constitution – Gave power to judge criminal and civil matters of."— Presentation transcript:

1 U.S. Federal and State Court Systems

2 Origins of Federal Court System Article III of Constitution – Gave power to judge criminal and civil matters of federal courts Founding fathers originally did not want a Supreme Court – Why? Under George Washington – Passed Federal Judiciary Act (created U.S. Supreme Court and 13 district courts Congress passed Judiciary Act – Created Court of Appeals and specialized courts

3 Jurisdiction of Federal Courts 3 Levels of courts with general jurisdiction: – Federal district courts – Federal Court of Appeals – U.S. Supreme Courts General and Specialized jurisdiction -General- hears almost any case -Specialized- hears only specific cases. i.e- tax court, international trade, claims court, bankruptcy, military, etc.)

4 Federal District Courts (lowest level of federal courts with general jurisdiction) Function is to serve as Trial courts (Which are?) of the Federal system – Original jurisdiction over: Federal questions or cases that arise under U.S. Constitution, U.S law, and U.S. treaties Lawsuits between citizens of different states, U.S. citizens and a foreign nation, or a U.S. citizen and a citizen of foreign nation. – These parties have diversity of citizenship – Must have more than $75,000 in dispute before a federal court to hear diversity of citizenship cases

5 What’s your Verdict? (pg. 52) What arguments could you make for holding this dispute in a federal court? What about for a state court?

6 Court of Appeals Appellate jurisdiction over district courts, certain specialized courts, & many admin. agencies – Powers practiced when result of lower court is appealed by one or more parties of case – What are appellate courts? What about appellate courts? 13 federal courts of appeal – 12 circuit by geographic area – 13 th is federal circuit (patent cases appealed out of district courts

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8 U.S. Supreme Court Has original and appellate jurisdiction Original Jurisdiction is “over affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls” MOST IMPORTANT FUNCTION of USSC: – Exercise of appellate jurisdiction Cases on appeal from U.S. court of appeals or from highest state courts Jurisdiction over state supreme courts limited to those where federal question have been brought out at trial court level

9 U.S. Supreme Court (cont.) Writ of Certiorari – Share with partner what it is FIRST, then discuss as class Writ allows lower court to turn over record of case to Supreme Court for review – Must petition the court to request Certiorari – If U.S. Supreme Court denies the Certiorari, does not mean they agree with lower’s court decision, just means they are choosing more important cases

10 Example In This Case: pg. 54

11 Federal Court System 13 United States Courts of Appeals (12 Circuit courts) (1 court of Appeals for Federal Circuit) U.S. SUPREME COURT State Supreme Courts U.S. District Courts Specialized Federal Courts Many Federal Agencies

12 State Court Systems

13 State Courts Resembles Federal System – State legislature makes laws, therefore state executive branch enforces law in state courts 3 tiers: – Trial Courts (Bottom)= geographically based on general or specialized jurisdiction – Appellate Courts (Middle) – State Supreme Court (Top)

14 State Trial Courts Mostly known as circuit courts (also superior courts, district courts, or common pleas) – General jurisdiction over criminal and civil matters Courts of record for state – Keeps exact account of what goes on at trial Records are vital for appeals What could be included on these records? – Transcript of what was said, submitted evidence, statements, determination of court officials, judgment of court

15 State Court of Appeals Appeal from a court reviewed by panel of judges – Typically 3 judges from the state State appellate panel evaluates records and briefs from both parties and also oral arguments No new evidence at this level Judges check on correct law – If correct, result is upheld – If appealed, judges decides lower court used incorrect law and may apply new result themselves or send back to lower court

16 State Supreme Courts Legal issues limited to one trial + 1 appeal – States with intermediate court appeals only legal issues of vital importance can be taken to state supreme courts State supreme court – 3 Justices (judges who sit on state supreme court) review cases same as lower appellate courts – Issue final decision – Only go to U.S.S.C if federal question of law or U.S. Constitution issues arise

17 Could the state supreme court ever really have the last word on any issue or is it just a step in the appellate court ladder to the U.S. Supreme Court?

18 Answer State supreme courts have the last word in cases where no federal issues have been raised. Even where there are federal issues, due to workload, U.S. Supreme Court grants appeals only to extremely small number of most important cases. Most handled by upholding state supreme court decision

19 State Courts with Specialized Jurisdiction

20 Associate Circuit Court Also called County Courts Hear minor criminal cases, state traffic offenses, and lawsuits with very small amounts (less than $25,000) Not courts of record, however take burden off high courts even though these trials can be taken to state trial

21 City/Municipal Courts Administer Ordinances Traffic and criminal division Less serious violations brought here but result can be appealed and taken to state trial courts Ordinances not considered criminal laws – Only state and federal govts can make an act criminal

22 Small Claims Court Small amounts (less than $2,500) Attorneys usually not required Judge hears without jury Decisions can still be taken to state trial court

23 Juvenile Courts Juveniles considered ages years Refer to pg. 58 Society feels juveniles should not be held as responsible – Do you agree? Juveniles entitled to full constitutional rights, included having an attorney Emphasis if found guilty usually on rehab, not punishment Courts ensure juvenile court information not available to public Fail rehab could have juvenile tried as adult – Typically only for very serious offenses

24 What’s Your Verdict? Pg. 57 Will he be treated differently under juvenile court than under regular trial court?

25 Probate Courts Death= property and other interests divided according to will and laws Probate courts administer these wills and estates


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