Structure of the Federal Court System by linzhengnd


									  Structure of the
Federal Court System
                  Types of Courts
   Trial Courts                          Appellate Courts
       All cases start at the trial          Cases come here after
        court level;                           after trial court;
                                              Judges decide issues of
       Judges and juries decide
                                               law only;
        matters of fact and law;
                                              No juries or witnesses
       Witnesses testify;                     testify and no evidence
       Evidence presented;                    is presented;
       The initial determination             Attorneys submit briefs
        of guilt/liability is made.            and present oral
                                               arguments to a panel of
                                              The judge’s decision
                                               becomes precedent
    Federal Court Jurisdiction
•   Federal Question - All cases involving the
    Constitution, federal laws or treaties;
     •   Includes Bankruptcies
•   Diversity - Cases between citizens of different states
    or between U.S. citizens and citizens of other
•   Ambassadors or Public Ministers*
•   Admiralty or Maritime
•   U.S. is a party*
•   State v. State

•   Concurrent Jurisdiction - When both federal and
    state courts have jurisdiction.
             Federal District Court
   The trial courts in the federal system;
       District courts hear both civil and criminal
   The U.S. is divided into 94 districts, each
    district has at least one district court;
       California is divided into four districts
            San Diego is in the Southern District of California
                 Federal District Court for the Southern District of
    U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal
   The intermediate appellate court in the federal
    court system;
       Created to ease the burden on the Supreme Court;
       By law, you are entitled to appeal your case to the
        Circuit court;
   The Court may either:
       Uphold the decision of the trial court
       Overturn the decision of the trial court
       Order the trial court to re-try the case
   The Court’s decision is binding precedent:
       Other lower courts must follow their interpretation of the
        law - they can only be overruled by the Supreme Court
    U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
   The U.S. is divided into 12 districts or
    circuits based on region:
       Each Circuit has one Court of Appeals;
       California is in the 9th Circuit
   U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
    Columbia (D.C. Circuit)
   Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit
       Hears cases from the Federal Court of Claims,
        Court of International Trade, U.S. Patent Court
             U.S. Supreme Court
   Comprised of nine judges (Justices), appointed
    by the President;
   Original Jurisdiction;
       U.S. is a party;
       Cases involving ambassadors/public ministers
   Appellate Jurisdiction - Highest appellate court
    in the country:
       Court only hears approx. 3% of all cases appealed to
        it from lower federal courts or state courts;
       Final authority on the interpretation of federal law;
                        State Courts
   Superior Courts - State trial courts;
       General jurisdiction - hears all type of cases;
            Superior Court for the County of San Diego
   Courts of Appeal - Intermediate appellate
    courts, not all states have this level;
       California is divided into six appellate districts;
            Court of Appeal for the State of California, Fourth Appellate
             District, Division One
   State Supreme Courts - Final authority on the
    interpretation of state law;
       California State Supreme Court

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