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courtsystemsjurisfunctions_1 - Court Systems Jurisdiction...

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Court Systems, Jurisdiction, & Functions Corresponding Reading Assignment: Text: Pages 30 – top of 46 On Blackboard (these are required readings): - International Shoe v. Washington - World-Wide Volkswagen v. Woodson Supplemental Documents: - Texas Long Arm Statute - Sample 12(b)(2) Brief 1. Court Systems a. Legal rules and principles take on vitality and meaning only when they are applied to real-life controversies between real persons b. The fitting of rules to facts does not occur automatically c. Rules and facts come together in the adjudication process, leading to a decision d. We live under two distinct types of government- the state government and the federal government each has its own court system e. State Court systems: i. Three general categories: 1. Courts of limited jurisdiction- are limited as to the kinds of case they can hear a. Lowest level of courts in the state assigned a certain topic that they can hear b. Examples include justice of the peace courts, municipal courts, traffic courts, and domestic relations courts 2. General Trial courts: courts of general jurisdiction a. Second tier of courts in state can hear just about any lawsuit unless the topic of the suit is assigned to a court of limited jurisdiction b. Involve the most important cases involving state law, contract law, criminal law, and corporation law.
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c. They are empowered to hear all cases except those expressly assigned by statute to the courts of limited jurisdiction d. Called: district courts, common plea courts, and superior courts 3. Appellate Courts: a. Usually only examine _questions of law _. i. Was a law applied properly throughout the trial b. Hear appeals from judgments entered by the courts below c. Challenge trial court’s finding of facts only when findings was clearly erroneous d. Don’t bring witnesses or evidence e. Have to send transcript of trial to appellate court f. Usually don’t answer questions of fact g. They do not hear testimony of witnesses or otherwise entertain new evidence. h. When will appellate courts challenge the trial court’s finding of fact (not in your book)? i. When clearly erroneous i. Options – what can an appellate court do with a case (not in your book)? i. Affirm and reverse ii. Remand (sent back to trial court to gather more facts about the case) iii. Vacate (disappear) normally remand after iv. Any combination of the above 4. Highest State Court usually called _State Supreme court . f. The Federal Court System: i. “The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” ii. Specialized trial courts: Some federal courts have very specialized subject matter jurisdiction 1. Courts in federal system that are assigned certain topics iii. U.S. District Courts: federal trial courts 1. The basic trial courts within the federal system are the U.S.
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