Dual court system

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  • 1. The Dual Court System
  • 2. Courts in America
    • There are two separate court systems in the United States:
    • The Federal Judiciary & State Judiciary
  • 3. Federal Judiciary
    • The Constitution creates the United States Supreme Court and leaves the inferior courts’ creation to Congress.
      • Inferior courts -the lower federal courts that are beneath the Supreme Court
  • 4. 2 Kinds of Courts
    • Constitutional Courts
      • created to interpret Article III of the Constitution
        • Supreme Court, courts of appeals, district courts, & the Court of International Trade
    • also known as regular or Article III courts
  • 5. 2 Kinds of Courts
    • Special Courts
        • also known as the legislative courts
        • Court of Military Appeals, Court of Veterans Appeals, Claims Court, Tax Court, territorial courts and the courts of the District of Columbia
  • 6. Supreme Court = ultimate authority
  • 7. HOW DOES A CASE REACH THE SUPREME COURT?
    • “THE RULE OF FOUR”-four justices must agree that the case should be heard
    • BY CERTIFICATE-a lower court requests a ruling on a particular point
  • 8. SUPREME COURT AT WORK
    • BRIEFS
    • è written documents supporting one side of the case or the other
  • 9. SUPREME COURT AT WORK
    • ORAL ARGUMENTS
    • è lawyers speak to the justices emphasizing main points of the case
  • 10. SUPREME COURT AT WORK
    • SOLICITOR GENERAL
    • è represent the US before the Supreme Court in all cases
  • 11. SUPREME COURT AT WORK
    • THE CONFERENCE
    • è justices meet in secret to discuss the cases they’ve just heard
  • 12. SUPREME COURT AT WORK
    • OPINIONS
    • è justices always write an Opinion of the Court-for each ruling
  • 13. The State Judiciary
  • 14. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Unified Justice System Supreme Court Superior Court Commonwealth Court Common Pleas Court Philly Municipal Court District Justices Special Courts Pittsburgh Magistrates Philly Traffic Court
  • 15. State System Justices
        • Justices are subject to strict standards of conduct
        • elected to office in odd-numbered years
        • 10-year terms (except those in special courts)
        • vacancies before election, appointment by governor, PA Senate confirmation
        • unlimited number of terms
        • “merit retention”- to keep office
          • yes-no question
  • 16. Court of Common Pleas
        • 1 President Judge and 12 associate judges
        • elected to 10-year terms
        • Jurisdiction-
          • ALL civil and criminal cases in County
          • ALL appealed cases in county
  • 17. District Attorney
    • conducts all criminal prosecutions –Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    • jurisdiction over ALL felony, misdemeanor and summary offenses
    • provides legal guidance in criminal matters for the county’s 47 police agencies and departments (FBI, DEA)
    • processes over 6,000 criminal cases each year
    • Stanley Rebert-District Attorney
  • 18. Public Defender
    • Responsible for representing all “indigent” defendants in all types of criminal cases-as desired by the defendant-in which there is a substantial likelihood that a jail sentence will be imposed
    • 6th Amendment-right “to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
  • 19. Sheriff’s Department
    • serving subpoenas, orders and notices issued by the courts
    • provide security in courtrooms
    • responsible for transporting and securing prisoners to and from correctional facilities
    • extradition of prisoners (fugitives) apprehended out of state
    • transports mental patients and juvenile offenders
  • 20. District Justices
    • 18 in York County; elected to 6-year terms
    • Jurisdiction -civil cases dealing with monetary disputes of less than $8000 as well as landlord and tenant disputes
    • Criminal jurisdiction-summary violations of City, Borough, and Township ordinances, violations of the fish, game, and dog laws
    • DO NOT have to practice law or have any experience with law
  • 21. Levels of law violations
    • Summary offense -crimes that are committed with the least amount of severity. Ex: traffic violations-speeding, parking tickets, etc.
    • Misdemeanor -a minor crime such as disorderly conduct, littering, petty theft, etc.
    • Felony -a major crime such as murder, arson, or assault.
  • 22.
    • Civil Cases
    • Usually involve a dispute between two or more individuals or private organizations. Dispute may be over property rights, violation of a contract, etc. Include suits for damages. The state is usually not involved in these cases.
    Criminal Cases State brings charges against citizens for violation of law. Involve misdemeanors or felonies. The state is the prosecution in these cases