Presentation on theme: "The Judicial Branch of Georgia’s Government"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Judicial Branch of Georgia’s Government Essential Question: How does Georgia’s judicial system provide justice and protect the rights of its citizens?
2 What is the primary role of the Judicial Branch in Georgia? Interpret the state’s constitutionProtect the legal rights of citizensEnsure justice
3 Georgia Court System Elected by GA Voters 6 Year Terms Appointed by Judges4 Year Terms
4 State Supreme Court Highest ranking court in Georgia 7 supreme court justices are elected by popular vote to six-year termsIf a justice dies/resigns before the end of a term, the governor may appoint a justice to complete his/her term of officeSupreme court justices elect the chief justice from among themselves
5 The Supreme Court is an appellate court, which means it only reviews cases on appeal from lower-ranking courts.Also reviews cases dealing with constitutionality of laws, title to land, equity, wills, habeas corpus, divorce and alimonyIt automatically reviews cases involving the death penalty.State Supreme Court
6 State Supreme CourtIt outlines a code for judicial conduct for the judges of the state and regulates the admission of attorneys to practice law in Georgia.Supreme Court decisions are binding – they have the final authority in matters of law at the state levelOnly court that could change the decision is the U.S. Supreme Court
7 Court of AppealsThe second highest-ranking state court is the court of appeals.Appellate court12 judges elected to 6 year termsJudges elect one of their members to serve as chief judge
8 Trial Courts Hear original cases – criminal and civil Each court has a special jurisdiction (range of actions over which the court has control or influence)Juvenile court – cases involving persons under the age of 17Probate court – deals with wills and estates of deceased persons, marriage & firearm licensesMagistrate court – can only hear civil cases involving sums under $15,000
9 Jury TrialAn important part of Georgia’s court system is the jury trial – a trial before one’s peers.Grand Jury – determines whether or not persons accused of crimes should be indicted (officially charged) and required to stand trial.Trial Jury – group of citizens who are charged with judging a person charged with a crime.
10 What are the four types of laws? Constitutional laws – laws from the constitutionStatutory Laws – those passed by the General AssemblyAdministrative Laws – regulations of executive branch agenciesCase Laws – court interpretations of written laws
11 Due Process of LawThe U.S. Constitution says no state can deprive any citizen of life, liberty or property without due process of law.This means that persons arrested for a crime have the right to:have a lawyer present during questioninga speedy, public trial before a fair judge/juryface and question witnessesremain silent so as not to incriminate (blame) themselves.
12 Two Types of CasesCivil Cases – cases involving private disputes between two or more persons or groups (divorce, contracts, property ownership, etc.)The case is brought by a person or group seeking monetary damages.The plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit against another) has to show guilt of the other party.The defendant (person named as the wrong-doer) can be forced to testify.
13 Two Types of CasesCriminal Cases – cases involving violations of the law, actions that harm people and societyThe government (prosecuting attorney) seeks punishment for a crime.The defendant has the right to defend himself or he can choose not to testify (5th Amendment).The prosecution must prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
14 Written responseWhy is there such a difference between civil and criminal law?Life and liberty are at stake in a criminal case. Our society considers them to be much more important that money.
15 Two Types of Crimes Crimes are divided into felonies and misdemeanors Felony – serious crime such as murder or burglary, punishable by a year or more in prison, a fine of at least $1,000, or bothMisdemeanor – less serious crime punishable by less than a year in prison, a fine of less than $1,000, or both
16 Steps in the Criminal Justice Process Step 1: Arraignment ~ Within hours of being arrested the judge reviews the case and decides if there is probable cause for arrest. No evidence is presented.Step 2: Bail ~ If the suspect is not likely to flee, bail is set. A price is paid so that the suspect can still carry on with life like normal.
17 Steps in the Criminal Justice Process Step 4: Preparing for Trial~ Continuances might be filed before the trial begins. This will give enough time for both sides to gather more evidence. Jurors are chosen.Step 3: Commitment Hearing ~ This is when the defendant pleads. The state prosecutor has to show “probable cause” that the suspect committed a crime.
18 Steps in the Criminal Justice Process Step 5: Plea Bargaining ~ Sometimes the prosecution brings a plea bargain to the table. The suspect agrees to plead “guilty” before the trial starts, usually for a lighter sentence. No trial!Step 6: The Trial~ The prosecution and defense present their cases. It is up to the prosecution to prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
19 How does our judicial branch ensure justice? They make sure the laws are constitutional, decide the guilt or innocence in a fair manner, and designate a punishment that fits the crime.
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