10-29 Courts - Courts I Structure of Courts a Functions of...

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Courts I. Structure of Courts a. Functions of courts in society i. Dispute Resolution ii. Behavior Modification – what sets societies norms by rewarding some behaviors and punishing others iii. Allocation of gains and losses – court’s responsibility to decide what is fair iv. Policymaking – courts make new policy, courts decide the applications of new policies and make new rules v. Symbolic b. Dual court structure i. What does it mean? 1. Two legal systems in US a. State Court system – modeled after English common law courts b. Federal Court system – modeled after the constitution 2. Most complex court system in world ii. Why Do we have it? iii. State/Federal Powers 1. Each state has its own court system 2. State courts do not hear cases involving federal law 3. federal courts are not involved in issues of state law 4. Federal courts enforce all federal laws created by congress, test the constitutionality of federal and state court decisions iv. Tiers of the Federal/State 1. What is their jurisdiction? – types of cases they hear 2. How cases get in and out of each tier a. State Court system: State Supreme Court--- Intermediate Appellate Courts---Trial Courts of General Jurisdiction b. Federal Court System: U.S. Supreme Court---U.S. Court of Appeals---U.S. District Courts v. Jurisdiction 1. Violation of federal law - Federal Courts a. Federal court is the court of original jurisdiction 2. Violation of state law – State courts 3. Test constitutionality of Federal/State Constitution – Federal Courts a. Writ of certiorari b. Writ of habeas corpus – only available to someone who is incarcerated vi. Supreme Courts – Courts of last resort 1. Final authority on state law is State supreme court 2. Final authority on federal law is US supreme court
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3. US Supreme court a. Only federal court that is mandated in the constitution b. The great 9 justices – important political institutions through which the 9 greatest law minds should serve c. Original and Appellate jurisdiction – most cases are appellate d. Political e. Symbolic – of thousands of courts decisions that are made, the only ones that matter in the media are the supreme court decisions f. Cases are few, but they are significant – typically hear about 150 cases a year and only 1/3 will be interesting to CJ – 4 of the 9 judges have to decide if the case is worth hearing vii. Intermediate Appellate courts 1. End of the line for most appeals because of the limited time of supreme courts so burden of appeals is on appellate courts 2. Courts only have appellate jurisdiction – can never have a trial in the US court of appeals since they only hear appeals 3. 13 US courts of appeals viii. Major Trial Courts 1. Trial Courts of General Jurisdiction and US District Courts a. Both have original and appellate jurisdiction – can hear appeals and can conduct trials b. Both hear criminal and civil cases ix. Interaction between state and federal courts 1.
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