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STUDYGUIDE CJ - The"Dual Court System(p.23 Dual court...

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The “Dual Court System” (p.23) Dual court system means federal and state courts coexist in same geographical areas. Federalism permits states to run their own court systems to address matters not exclusively within federal jurisdiction. (p.24) Courts handle cases within their jurisdiction. For example, discuss District Court statutory jurisdiction. Even U.S. Supreme Court has jurisdictional limits, confined to U.S. Constitution or federal law cases. (p.24) Sometimes there is strategy in choosing courts where more than one court has jurisdiction (location, politics of judges, familiarity). (p.25) However, litigants cannot control which judge will hear the case. (p.25) Rodney King is an example of state law v federal law jurisdiction involving the same set of facts. (p.25-27) Federal courts accept cases in three categories: Federal question cases – concerning federal law or U.S. Constitution. REASON: (1) desire for uniformity in interpretation of federal law; (2) significant likelihood of contradictory and self- serving interpretations if state judges had equal authority to define federal law. Desegregation cases exhibit that even federal judges succumbed to local pressures. Cases in which the U.S. government is a party. Diversity of citizenship cases in which dispute is between residents of different states AND amount claimed is at least $50,000. REASON: fears that state judges will show favoritism when cases arise involving one of their own against an out-of-state resident. (These cases can also be filed in state courts allowing for strategy). The Hierarchy of State Courts (p.27) Court systems are hierarchical, allowing appeals to higher courts. But state court systems vary greatly. (p.28) Courts of limited jurisdiction. (p.29) Courts of general jurisdiction. (p.32) Intermediate courts of appeals. (p.32) Court of last resort. The Politics of Court Reform (p.33-35) Problems: Overlapping jurisdictions create confusion and forum shopping. Administrative difficulties increase when there are many different courts. Conflicts between Chief Judges and control units occur. Local court rules abound causing confusion. Political patronage is possible. Solutions: Unified state court system.
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Centralized state court administration office. “One Court of Justice.” Separating justice from politics. The Organization of the Federal Courts Historical Background (p.35) U.S. Constitution established the Supreme Court and “such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” (p.36) Judiciary Act of 1789 established dual court system with federal trial and appellate courts operating along with state courts. The Contemporary Federal Courts (p.36) District Courts: 94 districts of 600 judges located within 12 circuits.
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