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Unit 4– Judicial Branch in Georgia

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1 Unit 4– Judicial Branch in Georgia
Georgia Studies Unit 4– Judicial Branch in Georgia

2 Unit 4 - Judicial Branch in Georgia
SS8CG4 The student will analyze the role of the judicial branch in Georgia state government. a. Explain the structure of the court system in Georgia including trial and appellate procedures and how judges are selected. b. Explain the difference between criminal law and civil law. c. Describe the adult justice system, emphasizing the different jurisdictions, terminology, and steps in the criminal justice process. d. Describe ways to avoid trouble and settle disputes peacefully. e. Evaluate how the judicial branch fulfills its role in interpreting the laws of Georgia and ensuring justice in our legal system. ESSENTIAL QUESTION How does Georgia’s judicial system provide justice and protect the rights of its citizens? This is an essential question for this section of the chapter.

3 Federal System In a Federal system of government powers are shared between the national and state governments. The Federal government is divided into three branches – Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. The State government of Georgia is also divided into three branches – Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. The United States Judicial Branch is made up of the Supreme Court and lower courts. GA’s Judicial Branch is made up of the state’s courts.

4 Georgia Court System Elected by GA Voters 6 Year Terms
Appointed by Judges 4 Year Terms

5 Trial Courts GA’s Judicial Branch is made up of two main types of courts – Trial Courts and Appellate Courts. Trial Courts – People’s actions are judged to see whether or not they have committed a crime. These judgments are made either by a jury (group of citizens) or simply by a judge. Trial courts oversee two types of cases. In a civil case occurs when a person claims that another person did something wrong to them (example – The People’s Court). A criminal case occurs when the government claims that a crime has been committed by a person or group. Trial Courts are split into 5 Classes – 3 with Jury Trials (Superior, State, and Probate Courts) and 2 with Judge Trials only (Magistrate and Juvenile Courts).

6 Trial Courts Superior Court – Handle civil and misdemeanor cases; handle felonies State Court – handle misdemeanors, civil cases, and traffic violations Probate Court – handle wills and inheritances, marriage and firearm licenses Magistrate Court – issue arrest warrants and search warrants; judge small civil cases Juvenile Court – judges all children 17 years and younger for unruly and delinquent behavior

7 Adult Justice System – Civil Cases
Each court has jurisdiction. Jurisdiction – Geographic and legal range over which a court has control and can pass judgment. Civil Law is used in Civil Cases. A Plaintiff (a person who complains about another person having done something wrong to them) tries to convince a judge that their case has real basis against the Defendant (the person accused of wrong doing). If the Plaintiff wins, the Defendant may have to pay money to the Plaintiff (but will NEVER go to jail).

8 Conflict Resolution Many civil cases are settled out of court.
The two sides in a conflict often resolve their issues without lawyers or judges. They may negotiate themselves or use a mediator. Mediator – A third person who has no interest in the problem. Helps the two sides in a conflict come to an agreement or resolution.

9 Adult Justice System – Criminal Cases
Criminal Law is used in Criminal Cases. In a Criminal Case the government claims that a person or group has committed a crime (breaking the law). The Government is called the Prosecutor and the person accused of breaking the law is called the Defendant. The Prosecutor tries to convince the judge or jury that the Defendant committed a crime. If successful the Defendant can be found guilty and can be punished. Crimes for which the punishment is less than one year in jail are called misdemeanors. Crimes for which the punishment is one year or more are called felonies. The punishment for very serious felonies (such as murder) may be death.

10 Appellate Procedures Appellate Courts – Look over judgments made by trial courts. If someone believes that a mistake was made during their trial they may make an appeal. The appeal goes to an appellate court which decides if the trial court has made a mistake or not. No juries in appellate courts. Makes sure that trials are fair and do not go against Georgia’s Constitution. Georgia has two appellate courts – The Supreme Court (Georgia’s highest court) and the Court of Appeals.

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