The Court System
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The Court System






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The Court System The Court System Presentation Transcript

  • The Court System Who decides innocence and guilt?
  • The Court System
    • Where do different cases go?
    • Depends on the type of crime.
    • The ORDER of the courts:
    • Justice of the Peace-
      • -> deals with minor crimes/ misdemeanors in the countryside (noise violations, public drunkeness, etc)
  • The Court System
    • Police Courts (aka: Municipal Courts)
    • -> deal with minor crimes, citywide jurisdiction, few hundreds of $.
    • Small Claims Courts-
    • -> deal with disputes in lower thousands of dollars (civil cases)
    • (no jury, no lawyers, no appeals)
  • The Court System
    • 4) Juvenile Courts-
    • -> deal with crimes (minor and major) committed by people under the age of 18.
    • - main focus in rehabilitation, not punishment.
    • State Circuit Court-
    • -> deal with most crimes that occur in the state. (1 st to hear a case, and usually the last)
    • - this is what you see on TV (judge, jury, lawyers, etc)
  • The Court System
    • Intermediate Appellate Courts-
    • -> Review cases from the circuit courts.
    • - a case can only be appealed if there is a procedural problem during a trial, not b/c the result is not liked.
    • - no trial, just a 3 judge panel that reviews the case.
    • State Supreme Court-
    • -> Final say in a state, cases can be appealed to the US Supreme Court
  • The Court System
    • Created to establish a unified system among the states when there is a violation of the Constitution.
    • Article III  created the Supreme Court
    • (only court created by the Constitution)
    • Article I, Sect. 8, Clause 9-> gave Congress the power to create lower courts, if necessary.
  • The Court System
    • Two types of courts:
    • Constitutional Courts-
    • -- deal with issues that relate to the application of the Constitution
    • EX:
    • Does a company discriminate against a certain group of people?
    • Is wearing a black protest band in school covered under freedom of speech in the 1 st Amendment?
  • The Court System
    • The Legislative Courts- (aka the Special Courts)
    • -- deal with a particular area of the law
    • EX:
    • Military issues
    • Tax issues
    • The Dual Court System
    • Federal court system- 120 in total
    • State court system- 1,000’s in total (most are copies of the federal system)
  • The Court System
    • The Federal Courts (misc. info)
    • What does jurisdiction mean?
    • --- it is the authority of certain court to hear a case (who has the right to hear it)
    • For the federal courts
    • If the subject matter involves the Constitution
    • If the parties involved are the US Govt (agencies, officers), ambassadors, states suing states, citizen suing a state, citizen suing another state’s citizen
  • The Court System
    • Types of Jurisdiction
    • Exclusive-- can only be heard in the federal courts
    • Concurrent– can be heard in the state or federal courts or both
    • ------------------------------------------------------
    • Original-- the first court to hear a case
    • Appellate-- case is heard on review from a lower court.
  • The Court System
    • Who has what type in the Federal System?
    • District Courts-
    • Original Jurisdiction
    • Appellate Courts-
    • Appellate Jurisdiction
    • US Supreme Court-
    • Original and Appellate
  • The Court System
    • Types of Courts (con’t)
    • Federal District Courts
    •  1 st to hear a case in matters of federal law (criminal and non-criminal)
    • Ex: bank robbery, mail fraud, bankruptcy, tax evasion
  • The Court System
    • By the Numbers--
    • # of courts = 94
    • Depends on: population of state
    • # of judges = 654
    • # of cases = 300,000 per/yr
    • They use two types of juries—
    • 1) Grand jury- 16-23 people, decide if there is enough evidence to warrant a trial
    • 2) Petit jury- (trial jury) 12 member panel of citizens that decide innocence or guilt (must be unanimous)
  • The Court System
    • Decisions?
    • Are usually final unless there is an issue that can be appealed to another court.
    • The Federal Appellate Courts-
    •  created in 1891, to ease burden on Supreme Court
  • The Court System
    • Appellate Courts- by the numbers
    • # of Courts = 12 (usually shared among many states)
    • # of judges = 179 in 3 judge panels, plus one member of the Supreme will oversee each district.
    • # of cases = 55,000 cases per /yr.
    • Decisions are final, unless SC will hear a case.
  • The Court System
    • The US Supreme Court (highest court in the land)
    • Composition = 1 Chief Justice, with 8 associate justices (9 in total)
    • Judicial Review = the power of the SC to declare a law or act unconstitutional. (gives them actual power or authority)
  • The Court System
    • Jurisdiction -
    • Original = when it involves another State, or a foreign ambassador/ official
    • Appellate = on review from a lower court
    • Process of Reaching the Supreme Court
    • # of cases = 8,000 are appealed to SC per/ yr.
    • Rejected if: the issue is unimportant, not related to Constitution.
  • The Court System
    • Cases accepted = ~120 per/ yr.
    • How cases get to the HIGH COURT?
    • 1. Writ of certiorari – order from the Supreme Court to a lower court for records of a case.
    • 2. Appeal– on review from a lower court
    • 3. Certificate-- Request of a lower court to the SC to hear a case.
  • The Court System
    • Sessions
    • Begin on the 1 st Monday in October and run until June/ July
    • Cases are heard in two week cycles (hear cases for 2 weeks, then review them the next two weeks and study other cases)
    Sun MON Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat H E A R C A S E S R E V I E W C A S E S
  • The Court System
    • During the week of hearing cases:
    • Tues- Thurs = Hear oral arguments
    •  Each side is given 30 minutes to present their argument to the justices.
    •  Each argument is accompanied by a brief-- written summary of a case (can be 100’s of pages)
  • The Court System
    • Friday = Conference Day
    • Meet in chambers to discuss and vote on cases.
    • A quorum: 6 justices (4 must agree)
    • Full : Majority must agree
    • EX: 9-0, 7-2, 5-4 , etc
    • Politics of the Court= often partisan politics leads to cases being decided a certain way. Why?
  • The Court System
    • Saturday and Sunday = opinions are written
    • Majority opinion - the official court opinion with its reasoning. (become precedents, examples to follow in other cases)
    • Dissenting opinion - opinion of the justices that disagree with the ruling, accompanies the decision.
    • Concurring opinion - opinion of a justice who agrees with the decision, but for a different reason.
  • The Court System
    • Monday = Decision Day
    • Decisions are given and opinions are read aloud to the court.
    • Special Courts ---
    • Deal with specific areas of jurisdiction.
    • Ex: US Tax Court
    • Military Courts
    • Courts of the District of Columbia
    • Territorial Courts
  • The Court System
    • Appointment of Judges-
    • Appointed by:
    • the President, approved by Senate
    • Qualifications :
    • No formal qualifications
    • Informal: background in law, lawyers, state judges
    • Influenced by: party politics
  • The Court System
    • Terms = for life
    • unless: 1) retire
    • 2) die
    • 3) resign
    • 4) impeached
    • Other courts = 4-15 yr terms
    • Pay = set by Congress, $199,200 (for SC)