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COURTS OF GENERAL TRIAL JURISDICTION. Most trial work is handled by courts of original jurisdiction May have limited or general jurisdiction May be unified.

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Presentation on theme: "COURTS OF GENERAL TRIAL JURISDICTION. Most trial work is handled by courts of original jurisdiction May have limited or general jurisdiction May be unified."— Presentation transcript:


2 Most trial work is handled by courts of original jurisdiction May have limited or general jurisdiction May be unified or specialized May handle cases at law or equity May be state or locally funded Most judges are licensed attorneys

3 State court variation Time that state entered the Union Political culture Local legal culture State traditions

4 Defined by state constitutions Authority to define jurisdiction is delegated to legislature Varies among the states May be divided at various levels

5 Level I Celebrated cases Public eye, media coverage Level II Most serious felonies High percentage go to trial Defendants face long sentences Level III Less serious felonies Property, drug, and vice offenses Large amount of plea bargaining Level IV Misdemeanor cases Vast majority of cases Often processed by courts of limited jurisdiction

6 Trial Courts Place where cases are originally heard and recorded Hear evidence Decide who wins and loses the case Determine guilt or innocence Determine remedies and sentences

7 Authorized to try any state crime Distinguishing factors Fewer cases than courts of limited jurisdiction Courts of full record Presence of attorneys Presence of juries Dignified physical appearance Judges are trained attorneys

8 Majority of state cases Financial motivation for case filing Number of cases has decreased Types of civil cases Breach of contract Tort claims Domestic relations issues

9 Court protection of economic interests One-third of civil cases Buyers and sellers as plaintiffs

10 Private or civil wrong or injury Court can provide damages as relief Most common type of civil trial Types of tort cases Automobile accidents Professional malpractice Premises liability Conversion Product liability Slander or libel Animal attack False arrest/imprisonment

11 Center around families and marriages Types of cases Divorces Annulments Disposition of wills Inheritance Paternity Child custody

12 No constitutional right to counsel Attorneys may accept cases on a contingency fee No speedy trial provision Cases may take a number of years to resolve Concern with the use of delay as a settlement strategy May be difficult to resolve Complex issues Human emotions

13 Trends Growth in number of felony cases Decrease in property crimes Increase in felony drug convictions Decrease in violent offenses and weapons offenses Felony cases take more time and personnel Plea bargaining 80-90% of felony cases result in guilty pleas Majority of felony cases are not resolved through disputed trials

14 Established by Article III, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution Established U.S. Supreme Court Allows Congress to determine the number, types, and jurisdiction of other federal courts Types of Courts Constitutional Courts Created by Article III Have only judicial powers Legislative Courts Created by Article I May exercise judicial, legislative, and administrative powers

15 Allowed for creation of lower federal courts Created Circuit Courts of Appeals Established the size of the U.S. Supreme Court Appointment of U.S. Marshals, Attorneys, and Attorney General District and circuit courts given limited jurisdiction District and circuit court boundaries cannot cross a state line Judges are chosen from the district or circuit in which they reside

16 Admiralty Diversity of Citizenship U.S. Government as a Party Federal Crimes Limitations May only hear cases and controversies Jurisdiction may be changed by court interpretations and Congressional enactments

17 U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals 94 district courts and specialized courts Federal courts of first instance Most federal cases do not progress beyond this stage Criminal and civil jurisdiction

18 Most cases are heard by one judge Jury trial Overall trends Upward numbers of civil and criminal cases filed Increase in civil case filings in federal district court Four times the volume of civil cases over criminal cases

19 Employment discrimination Housing and accommodations Welfare rights and benefits Voting rights

20 Handled by the U.S. Attorneys Decrease in violent offenses Increase in property offenses Decrease in drug offenses Decrease in firearms and explosives Increase in sex offenses Increase in immigration offenses

21 Federal authorities have 30 days from arrest to file an information or bring an indictment Case must be tried or charges dismissed within 70 days Some extensions may be allowed All states now have speedy trial provisions

22 43% increase from 1993 to 1997 Reached 1 million mark for the first time in 1996 96% were personal bankruptcies Connected to the availability of consumer credit Contribution of housing market crash in 2008

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