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Chapter 3 The Trial Process. Vocabulary Rule of Law: Principle that decisions should be made by the application of established laws without the intervention.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3 The Trial Process. Vocabulary Rule of Law: Principle that decisions should be made by the application of established laws without the intervention."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 3 The Trial Process

2 Vocabulary Rule of Law: Principle that decisions should be made by the application of established laws without the intervention of individual discretion Bias – a preconceived belief affecting neutrality Court: 1) a govt body that administers justice 2) a place where trials are held.

3 The Trial Court Trial Court is where suit is generally started –Determine Facts –Determine and apply applicable Law Plaintiff – person seeking relief in civil court (money damages or equitable relief) Defendant – person being accused of wrong doing by plaintiff Whole process is termed litigation.

4 Appellate Courts A party can appeal the decision of the trial court. Generally, have to wait until trial is over. Appellate Courts generally only review finding of facts for clear error Appellant/petitioner – the person who lost and is now appealing Appellee/ respondent – winner at the trial court level. Appeals court may remand, overrule, affirm.

5 Jurisdiction Court must have subject matter jurisdiction before it can here a case. Venue: the appropriate place for a case or controversy to be heard. –Can make a motion for change of venue. Federal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction in some areas and concurrent jurisdiction in some areas. General Jurisdiction vs. Limited Jurisdiction

6 Jurisdiction over subject matter Probate courts –Only hear cases dealing with the transfer of assets upon death Tax Court –Only hear cases dealing with tax related matters Bankruptcy Courts –Only handles cases that involve bankruptcy proceedings Small Claims Court –Civil matter under a certain dollar amount like 5K.

7 Federal Jurisdiction Federal Courts have original jurisdiction in cases involving: the U.S. Constitution, an act of Congress, & treaties. Diversity of Citizenship –Citizens of different states –A foreign country and a citizen of a state –Citizens of a state and citizens of a foreign country 75K must be in dispute

8 More Jurisdiction Concurrent jurisdiction – two or more courts have jurisdiction –Cases involving federal questions –Cases involving diversity of citizenship Exclusive Federal Jurisdiction –Patents, copyrights, federal antitrust and federal bankruptcy Exclusive State Jurisdiction –All matters not subject to federal jurisdiction

9 Judicial Review Jurisdiction over a person or corporation –The authority of a court to hear and decide a case –In personam Generally a court can exercise jurisdiction over a resident of a state –Minimum Contacts and long arm statutes Harm or wrong happens with in the state A corporation is involved and does business within that state –In rem jurisdiction – property in question is located with in the state

10 State Courts See Page 106 Small Claims Court –Generally can only have a dispute of 5k or less. –Usually cannot bring divorce, criminal or in rem disputes in small claims. Most states do not allow attorneys Defendant generally retains the right to have a new trial. Judge Judy?

11 Federal Court System 94 districts at the trial court level Appeals Courts –11 Districts, District of Columbia, & Federal Circuit. – Supreme Court –Nine Justices –Has some original jurisdiction –Rule of Four – Writ of Certiorari

12 Following a State Court Case Pleadings – statements made by plaintiff alleging the facts, charges and defenses Complaint – pleading made by plaintiff that initiates a lawsuit in court –Must have a cause of action Summons Prepared by Clerk ie notice Answer – the defendant’s response to the complaint

13 Following a State Court Case Default Judgment – what happens when a defendant fails to answer Counterclaim – a counter allegation of wrongdoing made by the defendant Reply – a plaintiffs response to a defendant’s answer Motion to Dismiss/ Demurrer – a pleading in which defendant asserts that the plaintiff’s claim fails to state a cause of action, or improper venue or service.

14 Pretrial Motions Motion for judgment on the pleadings –Motion by either party that asks the court to rule on the case before trial Motion for summary judgment –Motion for judgment before trial based on pleadings and other outside evidence including depositions

15 Discovery Phase in which opposing parties try to obtain evidence from each other Deposition – testimony of a party to a lawsuit or a witness under oath Interrogatories –Written questions that are delivered to the opposing side How can this evidence be used at trial?

16 Other Aspects of Litigaton Pretrial Conference – usually held to discuss settlement Jury Selection – voir dire (selection of jurors) –Peremptorily –For cause –Having a jury is not an absolute right. Plea Bargaining

17 Trial 1 st Opening Arguments 2 nd Plaintiff presents its case 3 rd Defense may move for a directed verdict 4 th Defense presents its case 5 th Defense may again move for a directed verdict 6 th Verdict is rendered by judge or jury

18 Post Trial Motions Judgment N.O.V. –Motion for the judge to set aside the jury verdict and enter settlement for the party adversely affected/making motion Motion for a new trial –Motion for judge to strike the verdict and order a new trial Appeal –Ask a higher court to overturn the decision

19 Starting Cases - Specifics Criminal Cases –Started by the issuance of an accusation Initiated by district attorney – information Initiated by grand jury – indictment In some situations a plaintiff may have to submit dispute to ADR before a case can be commenced.

20 The Jury No absolute right to juries in civil cases Judge should abide by jury decision –In civil cases judge has power and duty to overturn verdicts if the law is not followed –In criminal cases a judge can only overturn guilty verdicts How do you get out of jury duty?

21 Matters in Equity No right to trial by jury in equity cases See exhibit 3-5 on page 127 Contempt of Court

22 What do has to be proven? Plaintiff usually has the burden of proof –Exception – IRS Different Standards –Preponderance of the evidence 50/50 – civil cases –Clear and Convincing Evidence – high probability of truth 75/25. –Reasonable Doubt – no other scenarios can make sense based upon the plaintiff’s case.

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