2 The American Legal System Dual system: state courts, federal courtsJurisdiction: authority to hear certain casesBoth systems have 3 tiers:trial courts – first time case is heard, evidence presented, verdict rendered (original jurisdiction)appellate courts – appeal of verdict, no new evidence presented, review of case to make sure procedures were followed (appellate jurisdiction)high or supreme courts - final decision on law
4 Federal Courts SystemConstitution created the Supreme Court, Congress used its authority to establish a network of lower federal courts.Examples of cases heard at the district courts:Federal crimesCivil suits between citizens of different states where the amount in question exceeds $75,000Interpretations of the ConstitutionTreaties with other nationsMaritime lawReview actions of some federal administrative agencies
5 Federal Courts: District Courts Each state has at least one judicial district.California has four district courts.There are 94 federal district courts and nearly 700 judges.
6 Federal Courts: Court of Appeals These are the "gatekeepers" to the Supreme Court. There are 13 court of appeals and 179 circuit judges.Most of them are regional and hear appeals from district courts within their circuits.Three judges on each panel.
7 Map 16.1 - US District & Appellate Courts (p. 314) CA is in the 9th District and Court of Appeals is in SF; "nutty 9th"Quick Facts13 circuits in the US (states & territories incl)population determines size of district (not # states or "size")Districts largely determined by states admittance to unionThere are 94 federal district courts and 550+ district court judgesThey have jurisdiction over criminal and civil federal casesIn addition to the district courts, there are 13 court of appeals (1/district)The court of appeals was created to ease appeals caseload of supreme court; most cases dealt with here and never go to SCMajority of cases heard in appeals court are from the lower district courts, but can also be from US Tax Court or territorial courtsAll courts referred to by their numbers except #12 & 13 which are DC Circuit and Federal Circuit.
8 Supreme Court (The Last Stop) Original Jurisdiction (listed in Article III) - cases the S.C. can hear first are those involving:other gov’t leadersAt least 2 states involvedFed. Govt. is a partyAppellate - cases appealed to the S.C.Constitution or national law in question
9 Supreme Court Jurisdiction Jurisdiction - authority to hear a caseOriginal Jurisdiction- ability to hear a case firstAppellate Jurisdiction - cases appealed by lower federal courts or highest state courtsDirections: Determine if the following cases would fall under the Supreme Court’s original or appellate jurisdiction. If the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction in any of the following cases, write no jurisdiction. Explain your answers.California sues Arizona over control of Colorado River.Tookie Williams appealed his death sentence to the S.C.The U.S. decided to hold the Mexican President against his will. He has asked for a court hearing.John Smith sues John Doe over their backyard fence.An act of Congress is being discussed by the 9th Circuit of Appeals.Texas is being sued by a citizen over a state law about driver license requirements.
10 Supreme Court Jurisdiction - KEY California sues Arizona over control of Colorado Riveroriginal, 2 states involvedTookie Williams appealed his death sentence to the S.C.appellate, only if questioned as violation of Bill of Rights as cruel & unusual punishmentThe U.S. decided to hold the Mexican President against his will. He has asked for a court hearing.original, involves leader from other countryJohn Smith sues John Doe over their backyard fenceno jurisdiction, state civil suit, state courts handleAn act of Congress is being discussed by the 9th Circuit of Appealsappellate (possibly depends if ruling of 9th district is challenged)Texas is being sued by a citizen over a state law about driver license requirements.no jurisdiction, state law, state courts handle