Criminology 113 Chapter 4: Federal and State Courts The Supreme Court comprises eight justices and the chief justice. The justices are nominated by the president, confirmed by the Senate, and serve for life or until they choose to retire. Introduction The goal of the court is to do justice. Courts make public policy decisions. Courts serve to clarify the law through interpretation of statutes and the application of general principles to specific fact patterns. Jurisdiction Legal authority or power of a court to hear, pronounce on, and decide a case. The are four primary types of jurisdiction: personal, subject matter, geographical, and hierarchical. Jurisdiction is conferred by statute or constitution. Personal jurisdiction → authority of the court over the person. A court may acquire personal jurisdiction over a person if that person comes in contact with the court, either bey being a citizen or by committing acts that contravene the laws of the state. Subject matter jurisdiction → authority conferred on a court to hear a particular type of case. Traffic court, juvenile court, and probate court. Geographical jurisdiction → authority of courts to hear cases that arise within specified boundaries. If a kidnapping is a continuing offense, each state into which the victim is taken could charge the kidnapper. Different states may also prosecute the kidnapper without violating the prohibition on double jeopardy, as they each are separate sovereign governments. Hierarchical jurisdiction → division of responsibilities and functions among the various courts. There is original and appellate jurisdiction, as well as limited and general jurisdiction. General jurisdiction → means a court has the authority to hear a variety of cases, that it is not limited to hearing only a particular type of case. Like a state trial court, which often has the authority to hear all manner of civil and criminal cases. Civil cases involve a dispute between two private parties, such as over contract or property law. Criminal cases involve prosecution of an individual by the state for violating state criminal law. Original jurisdiction means the power of the court to hear the case initially. In a federal court, all felony-level cases begin in the district court, while a suit between two states would start at the Supreme Court level. The court of original jurisdiction is where trials take place. Appellate jurisdiction means the power of the court to review a decision of a lower court. May affirm or reverse lower court judgments. Do not conduct a retrial, rather, they generally are limited to a review of the trial record.
The Federal Courts Court system of the fifty states and the federal court system.
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- Fall '14
- Supreme Court of the United States, The Court