UNIT3 - I Structure of American Court a Dual system federal...

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I. Structure of American Court a. Dual system- federal and state b. Native american tribal courts are third system- all have trial and appellate courts and own jurisdiction II. Arranged like a Pyramid AT STATE LEVEL: a. Top- appellate court of last resort b) Intermediate court of appeals c) trial court of general jurisdiction d) trial courts of limited jurisdiction -law defines jurisdiction *also specialty courts like tax court/ courts of admiralty A) Limited Jurisdiction Courts -power limited by law - take care of preliminary matters of felonies - trials for minor offenses/institute fines -INFORMAL - not normally recorded -handle 90% of criminal case B) General Jurisdiction “Felony Courts” -everything is recorded, authority to impose prison sentences C) State Appellate Court- -not a new trial, review cases based on procedural errors based on contention of the law -normally court of last resort -panel of 3-judge DECISION- can uphold original verdict (Sustain), order a new trial, allow def to go free D. State Supreme Court- -Highest state court, review issues of law appealed from state trial court - can choose which cases it will hear E. Specialty Courts- -focus on particular kind of case *Courts maintain records of proceedings, can be used to reference in future in court III. Federal US Supreme Court US Court of Appeal (12) US District Court (94) A. District Court- each state has one or more than one federal district, there are 94 districts in US, general juris. B. Court of Appeals- 12 courts of appeal, → 11 w/ juris over us/ 1 for DC
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ARKANSAS IS 8TH C. Supreme Court - highest court in the land, real last resort -decisions become law/ precedent - “Grants Cert” can choose or not choose to hear case - Uses Writ of Certiorari to get case records from local courts - 9 justices (1 chief, 8 assoc justices) - Full court, hear ~ 100 cases a year - Rule of Four- 4 justices must vote to hear a case D. Five types of Rulings in SUpreme Court - 1) Majority- 5+ agree on ruling and reason for decision 2) Plurality- 5+ agree on ruling but don’t agree on the reason 3) Minority- the minority 4- agree 4) Concurring-write agreeing opinion, written by one (or more?) judge 5) Dissenting- write disagreeing opinion with judge IV. Who becomes a judge? - Male and white ← normal, mainly come from law or law enforcement, runs in family, - work way up from limited jurisdiction trial courts/ prosecuter Functions - Adjudicator- discretion, neutrality, unbiased appearance - Negotiator- plea arrangements - Administrators- manage court, schedule, buildings, times, etc - Overseer- looks over conduct in court, settles questions of evidence and procedure guides questioning of witness, instructs jury on law, decides case when no jury, decides sentence Qualifications - resident of state judging in -licensed to practice law - member of state bar association - greater than or equal to 25, less than 70 Federal Judge- - appointed by president, advice/consent/ confirmed by senate - serve for life (period of good behavior) V. Pre Trial Processes A. Ensure due process of law- review evidence, check probable cause exists, dismiss
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