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Chapter 5 – A Dual Court System

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1 Chapter 5 – A Dual Court System
Federal and State Courts

2 New Vocabulary Jurisdiction = power and authority given to a court to hear and to make a judgment. Diversity of citizenship = actions between citizens of different states Original Jurisdiction = authority to hear the case the first time it is heard

3 Federal Court System Power comes from Article III of U.S. Constitution
Have jurisdiction over actions over which The U.S. or a state is a party (except those between a state and its citizens) Cases that raise a federal question (interpreting the U.S. Constitution or violation or interpretation of a federal law

4 Federal Court System (cont.)
3. Diversity of citizenship – where amount exceeds $50,000 4. Admiralty (pertaining to the sea), patent-right, copyright, and bankruptcy cases.

5 Federal Courts District Courts
Original jurisdiction over federal court cases (authority to try the case the first time it is heard) Most federal cases begin in U.S. District courts Trial courts of the U.S. Government At least one is in each state. Some states have more than one (total 95 district courts; WA has two district courts).

6 U. S. Courts of Appeals Intermediate courts (between lower and higher courts) Have authority to hear appeals and review cases from lower courts. Have appellate jurisdiction (hear cases from federal district courts)

7 U. S. Courts of Appeals (cont)
13 judicial circuits Most decided by a panel of three judges; no witnesses, no evidence presented, no juries Only questions of law can be raised on appeal, not questions of fact (reason not all cases can be appealed).

8 Special U. S. Courts Have jurisdiction only in cases
involving citizens against the federal government disagreements over taxes on imported goods disputes between taxpayers and Internal Revenue Service

9 U.S. Supreme Court Highest court in the land
Has both original and appellate jurisdiction Original jurisdiction in cases involving ambassadors, consuls, other public ministers, and cases in which a state is a party. Appellate jurisdiction is main function .

10 U. S. Supreme Court (cont.)
Must hear all cases involving constitutionality of federal law Court decides by vote of at least four of nine judges which cases it will hear from U.S. Courts of Appeals or the State Supreme Courts

11 State Court System Lower Trial Courts (Justice, Magistrate’s and Municipal Courts) General Trial Courts (District, County, Circuit, Common Pleas or Superior Courts) Appellate Courts (Court of Appeals) State Supreme Courts

12 State Local Trial Courts
Local jurisdiction – in minor manners (misdemeanors and civil actions involving small amounts of money) Justice of the peace courts, traffic courts, police courts, municipal courts, Juvenile offenses may be heard in these courts Small claims Family disputes

13 State Special Courts Jurisdiction is limited to a particular subject matter Land courts = boundary disputes Housing courts = rental property cases Divorces, child cases and other family matters Probate court = estates of deceased persons Juvenile courts = special jurisdiction over delinquents and neglected children up to age 18 (exist at both state & local level)

14 State Intermediate Appellate Courts
Hear appeals from courts of general jurisdiction Must accept all appeals filed with it If parties feel did not have fair trial in lower court If feel judge did not properly interpret law Hear cases only on questions of the law, not on questions of fact

15 State Intermediate Appellate Courts (cont.)
Hear only oral arguments from attorneys (no witnesses) Judges study legal documents and records in the case. Review facts only when evidence that judge or jury was prejudiced and decided against what was presented in the trial

16 Court of Appeals (Cont.)
Has authority to: Reverse (overrule) Remand (send back to lower court) Modify Affirm decision of the lower court

17 State Supreme Courts Highest Court in state
Maine & Massachusetts call it Supreme Judicial Court Make final decisions on matters of law appealed from lower courts. Do not retry a case and redetermine the facts. Only decide whether an error was made in lower courts in determining the law. In many states, decides what cases it wishes to hear.

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