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The Court System


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The Court System

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