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Street Law Ch. 05:
The Court System
Two Court System in U.S.Two Court System in U.S.
Federal
Courts
State
Courts
Federal Courts
• Federal laws controls federal land or on
federally regulated systems.
• Federal laws are the same everywh...
State Courts
• State Court matters.
– Family Law (Marriage, Divorce and Custody)
– Traffic,
– Criminal Law
– Property Issu...
Trial Courts
• All trials begin at a trial court.
• Trial courts are the deciders of fact.
• Trial courts are adversarial....
Jury Trials
• The right to a jury is a limited right.
– Only a defendant in a criminal trial for a felony has
the right to...
Jury Duty
In order to serve on a jury, a person must be:
1. 18 years old.
2. A citizen.
3. A resident of the state or fede...
Jury Selection
Voire dire
•The goal is to find out if the potential jurors
– Bias
– Special Knowledge
– Both sides have an...
Appeals Courts
• Error of law.
• CANNOT change the outcome of the
case simply because it does not like the
outcome.
– Judg...
Appeals Courts
• If the appeals court finds a mistake
of law, the trial court MUST do what
the appeals court says.
• When ...
Appeals Courts—Precedents
• When an appeals court rules on
issue, it establishes a precedent.
– A precedent is a legal rul...
Appeals Courts—Precedents
• In order for a ruling to become a
precedent, a majority of the
appeals court must agree with t...
State and Federal CourtsState and Federal Courts
Federal Courts
• Certain issues are entirely Federal Court matters.
– The...
Federal Court CircuitsFederal Court Circuits
• Congress has divided up the United States into 12
Circuits.
• Each circuit ...
Appeals Courts ComparisonAppeals Courts Comparison
Kinds of Laws—Criminal LawsKinds of Laws—Criminal Laws
• Criminal laws involve the government telling
the people what they...
Kinds of Laws—Civil LawsKinds of Laws—Civil Laws
• Civil laws are laws passed by the
government to regulate between
people...
Kinds of Laws--Differences
Criminal Laws
• You HAVE the right to a
jury for a FELONY.
• The government WILL
provide a lawy...
Burden of Proof—Criminal LawBurden of Proof—Criminal Law
• In all trials or lawsuits the prosecutor or plaintiff must
prov...
Burden of Proof—Civil LawBurden of Proof—Civil Law
• In a civil trial, the standard is called a
PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDE...
Burden of Proof—CombinedBurden of Proof—Combined
• Since many criminal violations can
result in civil lawsuits, it is poss...
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
Ch 05 the court system class ppt
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Ch 05 the court system class ppt

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Ch 05 the court system class ppt

  1. 1. Street Law Ch. 05: The Court System
  2. 2. Two Court System in U.S.Two Court System in U.S. Federal Courts State Courts
  3. 3. Federal Courts • Federal laws controls federal land or on federally regulated systems. • Federal laws are the same everywhere in the U.S. • Congress can only pass laws that relate to the 18 powers granted to it in the U.S. Constitution. • The rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution cannot be broken by any
  4. 4. State Courts • State Court matters. – Family Law (Marriage, Divorce and Custody) – Traffic, – Criminal Law – Property Issues. – State Constitutional issues • State Court of Appeals. • State’s Supreme Court. • U.S. Supreme Court. – Any ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court is binding on every court in the country.
  5. 5. Trial Courts • All trials begin at a trial court. • Trial courts are the deciders of fact. • Trial courts are adversarial. – Both sides want to win the case. – Share information. – Most trials settle long before the trial ever begins. • A District Attorney can NEVER bring a trial against a person that s/he knows is innocent of that crime.
  6. 6. Jury Trials • The right to a jury is a limited right. – Only a defendant in a criminal trial for a felony has the right to a jury. – Only a defendant in a criminal trial can decide whether to have or not have a jury. • In a civil trial, the decision by the jury does not have to be unanimous. (Substantial majority) • In a criminal trial, the jury’s decision has to be unanimous. • No set number of people who must be on a jury, but it is usually 6, 9 or 12 people. (1 or 2 alternate jurors)
  7. 7. Jury Duty In order to serve on a jury, a person must be: 1. 18 years old. 2. A citizen. 3. A resident of the state or federal district. 4. Able to understand English. •A jury must be made up of a representation of the people in the community. •Cannot be excluded from serving on a jury because of their age, race, sex, disability, etc. •All citizens have a duty to serve on a jury, and can be brought into court and punished for not serving on jury duty.
  8. 8. Jury Selection Voire dire •The goal is to find out if the potential jurors – Bias – Special Knowledge – Both sides have an opportunity to remove potential jurors that they do not want. •Removal for cause. •Peremptory challenges •Neither side can eliminate potential jurors simply because of race, religion, sex, age, etc.
  9. 9. Appeals Courts • Error of law. • CANNOT change the outcome of the case simply because it does not like the outcome. – Judges on the appeal must find a legal error in order to change the outcome. • In a civil trial, either side can appeal. • In a criminal trial, the defendant can appeal on any issue (including the ruling).
  10. 10. Appeals Courts • If the appeals court finds a mistake of law, the trial court MUST do what the appeals court says. • When an appeals court finds an error of law, it can: 1. Order a new trial with specific instructions to the trial court (retrial). 2. Overturn the decision of the trial court (overruled). 3. Decide that the error was harmless and allow the lower court’s decision to stand as is.
  11. 11. Appeals Courts—Precedents • When an appeals court rules on issue, it establishes a precedent. – A precedent is a legal ruling that is binding on all lower courts and helps shape the future of the law. – This is how most laws are developed over time and is very controversial. • Since appellate court judges have lifetime appointments, their precedents can be very controversial.
  12. 12. Appeals Courts—Precedents • In order for a ruling to become a precedent, a majority of the appeals court must agree with the decision. – There are usually 3 judges on an appeal, but can be more. • In an appeal, one judge writes an opinion for the majority of the appeals court. – This is the legal ruling of the court. • Those who disagree write dissenting opinions. • concurring opinions. – Concurring opinions do not establish precedent.
  13. 13. State and Federal CourtsState and Federal Courts Federal Courts • Certain issues are entirely Federal Court matters. – These include U.S. Constitutional Issues, Federal Crimes, Federal Property Issues and Diversity Cases. • Diversity occurs when the plaintiff is from one state and the defendant is from a different state. – In order to prevent a bias for or against a plaintiff/defendant in state courts, the U.S. Constitution allowed civil lawsuits to be filed in federal courts when there was diversity. – In order to use the federal courts for diversity, the plaintiff must prove that: 1. There is diversity; 2. The amount of the lawsuit is more than $75,000.00. • All trials in the federal court system begin in the District Court. • After the trial is over, an appeal can be filed in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. • After the appeal is over in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court. – Any ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court is binding on every court in the country.
  14. 14. Federal Court CircuitsFederal Court Circuits • Congress has divided up the United States into 12 Circuits. • Each circuit has its own trial courts and appeals courts. – Therefore, each circuit establishes its own precedents. • We live in the 9th circuit which is one of the most divided circuits that many people want to split up.
  15. 15. Appeals Courts ComparisonAppeals Courts Comparison
  16. 16. Kinds of Laws—Criminal LawsKinds of Laws—Criminal Laws • Criminal laws involve the government telling the people what they may and may not do. • Criminal laws are always brought by the government who are represented by the District Attorneys who are the prosecutors. • The criminal trial process usually begins when the police arrest someone. • The criminal in a trial is called a defendant and if s/he cannot afford a lawyer will get a Public Defender.
  17. 17. Kinds of Laws—Civil LawsKinds of Laws—Civil Laws • Civil laws are laws passed by the government to regulate between people, businesses or groups. • Civil laws result in lawsuits and are brought by one person or group against another person or group. • The person bringing (or filing) a civil lawsuit (or action) is called the plaintiff. • The person responding to the civil lawsuit is called the defendant.
  18. 18. Kinds of Laws--Differences Criminal Laws • You HAVE the right to a jury for a FELONY. • The government WILL provide a lawyer for you if you cannot afford one. • The case is brought by a PROSECUTOR. • The prosecutor must prove the case to the jury BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. Civil Laws • You do NOT have the right to a jury. • The government will NOT provide you a lawyer if you cannot afford one. • The case is brought by a PLAINTIFF. • The plaintiff must prove his case by a PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE.
  19. 19. Burden of Proof—Criminal LawBurden of Proof—Criminal Law • In all trials or lawsuits the prosecutor or plaintiff must prove his/her case to a certain level in order to win. • In almost every trial the side that starts the lawsuit has the burden to prove his/her case. – In a criminal trial, the burden of proof is almost always on the government. • In a criminal trial, the prosecutor must prove the case BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. – This means that it is 99.99999% likely that the person accused of the crime committed the crime. – While a juror may have a doubt about whether the accused committed the crime, the doubt cannot be reasonable (hey, aliens could have done it, right?)
  20. 20. Burden of Proof—Civil LawBurden of Proof—Civil Law • In a civil trial, the standard is called a PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE. – This means that in order to win the lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant injured him/her. – That means that the plaintiff must prove it to the 50.1%! • If the plaintiff does not prove this, then the defendant wins. • However, if the defendant never shows up to court to defend the lawsuit, and the plaintiff does show up, the plaintiff will win on default.
  21. 21. Burden of Proof—CombinedBurden of Proof—Combined • Since many criminal violations can result in civil lawsuits, it is possible to have both a criminal and civil trial. • If the prosecutor fails to prove his/her case beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury in the criminal trial should NOT convict the defendant. • However, if the plaintiff uses the same evidence, and proves his/her case by a preponderance of the evidence, then the judge/jury in the civil trial should make the defendant pay money.

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