Chapter 5. The Dual Court System

                                                                             The United States Judicial System

                                                                                         Federal Court Systems

Under Article III of the US constitution the Judicial Branch of government was given the authority to hear cases based on Jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction: Power and authority given to a specific court to hear a case and make proper judgement.

    Federal Courts have Jurisdiction over:

1. Cases in which the US or a state is a party (except between a state and its own citizens).

2. Cases question the interpretation of the constitution or federal law itself.

3. Diversity of Citizenship cases; actions between citizens or different states in excess of 50, 000 dollars.

4. Cases regarding the seas, patent-rights, copyrights, and bankruptcy.

Three Tiers of the Federal Court System

1. US district Courts

2. Have original jurisdiction- to hear federal cases for the first time

3. Considered the trial courts for criminal and civil actions in the federal system

4. There is at least one district court in each state which based on the population size of the state. total of 95 district courts

II US States Court of Appeals “The Intermediate Courts”

1. Has appellate jurisdiction in the federal court system-it hears cases on appeal from the US district courts.

2. Federal Appellate Circuit Court System divided into 23 Circuit Courts that are arranged geographically throughout the US. Each circuit has one circuit court of appeal s and several district courts

The US Supreme Court : the highest court in the land.

US Supreme court that both appellate and original jurisdictional in hearing cases

Its original jurisdiction deals primarily with cases involving ambassadors, public officials, and cases which involve a state.

3. Its appellate jurisdiction is its main function, hearing cases that question the constitutionality of the law.

4. How many justices are appointed to the US supreme court

5. What (how many votes) would be considered a MAJORITY RULING/DECISION?7

II. Structure of the State Court system

a. Local Trial Courts

b. General Trial Courts

c. Special Courts

d. Intermediate Appellate Courts

e. State Supreme Courts

A. Local Trial Courts

Limited Jurisdiction Court: have the authority to only hear minor cases, misdemeanor and civil actions involving small amounts of money.

B. General  Trial Courts

Jurisdiction involving major crimes, felonies, and crimes involving large amounts of money.

C. Special Courts

Courts specially designed to hear cases such as family or domestic relations, property law, juvenile court issues.

D. Intermediate Appellate Courts and State Supreme court generally have appellate jurisdiction from he states lower courts system.

Only review cases in which the law is in question, not the facts of the case itself.


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