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The Court System Chapter 5.

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Presentation on theme: "The Court System Chapter 5."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Court System Chapter 5

2 Background Article III of the Constitution set up the court system.
5th Amendment right to a grand jury to be free from self incrimination 6th Amendment right to a speedy and public trial right to call witnesses and cross examine right to an attorney

3 Background 7th Amendment 8th Amendment The Court System
right to a jury trial in civil cases 8th Amendment No cruel or unusual punishment No excessive bail The Court System Trial Courts Appeals Courts Supreme Court

4 Trial Courts Listen to testimony, settle disputes Two parties
The side that brings the case: Civil = Plaintiff Criminal = Prosecution (the gov’t) The party that responds to the charges = Defendant

5 Trial Courts Step in a Trial
Step 1: Opening Statement by Plaintiff or Prosecutor Step 2: Opening Statement by Defense Step 3: Direct Examination by Plaintiff or Prosecutor Step 4: Cross-Examination by Defense Step 5: Motions Step 6: Direct Examination by Defense

6 Trial Courts Step in a Trial
Step 7: Cross Examination by Plaintiff or Prosecutor Step 8: Closing Statement by Plaintiff or Prosecutor Step 9: Closing Statement by Defense Step 10: Rebuttal Argument Step 11: Jury Instructions Step 12: Verdict

7 Trial Courts The U.S. has an adversarial system
opposing parties present their side try to convince a judge or jury (to win) Judge: Am I never going to hear the truth in this case? Lawyer: No, your honor, only the evidence. Some countries have an inquisitional system in which the judge questions the defendant

8 Trial Courts Do you think the adversarial system is the best method for solving disputes? Why or why not? In a criminal case, should a lawyer defend a client he or she knows is guilty? Would you defend someone you knew was guilty? Explain

9 Trial Courts Juries Very important civic duty
Must be 18 Able to speak and understand English Live in the state Civil trials rarely have juries Most criminal cases are plea bargained

10 Trial Courts Juror Selection Employers must let employees serve
Voir dire examination – jurors are asked questions to determine any prejudices or preconceived opinions Removal for cause Peremptory challenges Possible exemptions: clergy, attorneys, physicians, police, convicted felons, mental incompetence

11 Trial Courts If you were a defense attorney questioning jurors at the voir dire in a murder trial, what questions would you ask potential jurors to determine whether they could render a fair and impartial verdict? For what reasons might an attorney use a peremptory challenge? Indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statement: “It is better that ten guilty persons go free than that one innocent person suffer conviction.” Explain

12 Appeals Court Asked to review the decision of trial court
Can only happen if there is an “error of law” Appeals court sets precedent Opinion of the court (Majority) Dissenting Concurring Dissenting opinion important (ex. Plessey vs. Ferguson )

13 State and Federal Court Systems
State courts are courts of general jurisdiction Federal courts hear cases involving federal law

14 U.S. Supreme Court US Federal Court of Appeals (12)
State Supreme Court Court of US Patent and Trademark State Appeals Court Court of Federal Claims US Federal District Court (94) Municipal or County Courts (family, traffic, criminal, probate, small claims) Court of International Trade Federal State Federal Circuit Court

15 Federal Districts

16 The Supreme Court Highest Court in the US – Final say in legal matters
9 Justices – 8 Associate and 1 Chief Justice Nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate Convenes the first Monday in October Supreme Court sets its own agenda About 8,000 cases are appealed each year – the court deals with about 80

17 The Supreme Court Petitions for certiorari (Cert) – a request of a lower court to send up its records The appeal is usually from the losing side Step 1: both sides write legal briefs explaining why the case should or should not be heard 4 of 9 is required to accept a cert

18 The Supreme Court Step 2: Legal briefs are written as to how the court should rule Step 3: Oral arguments are scheduled – 30 minutes for each side Justices ask questions Step 4: Private meeting then held to discuss the case Vote is taken – majority rules

19 The Supreme Court Opinion is written and published
Majority Dissenting Concurring More than half are reversed Important issues lately Death penalty Abortion Civil Rights

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