The court system
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The Court System. Appeals Court. Definition: A higher court that can change the decision of a trial court. Ex. U.S. Courts of Appeals or U.S. Supreme Court. No juries or witnesses No new evidence presented. Petitioner.

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Appeals court
Appeals Court

  • Definition: A higher court that can change the decision of a trial court.

  • Ex. U.S. Courts of Appeals or U.S. Supreme Court.

  • No juries or witnesses

  • No new evidence presented


Petitioner
Petitioner

  • Presents arguments asking the court to change the decision of a trial court.

  • Wants decision of lower court overturned.


Respondent
Respondent

  • Presents arguments supporting the decision of the trial court.

  • Doesn’t want decision of trial court to change.


Error of law
Error of Law

  • This occurs when the judge makes a mistake during the trial (ex. gives wrong instructions to jury or allows evidence that should not have been allowed).

  • An appeal is possible if there has been a error of law.

  • A minor error that doesn’t affect outcome of trial is not a reason to appeal.


Precedent
Precedent

  • Court decisions on legal questions that guide future cases with similar questions.

  • This is how courts “make law.”

  • Precedents are usually followed, but also can be overturned.


Majority opinion
Majority Opinion

  • The actual decision of an appeal court.


Dissenting opinion
Dissenting Opinion

  • A written argument of an appeals court stating why some judges disagreed with the majority opinion.

  • Can be the reasoning for future majority opinions.


Concurring opinion
Concurring Opinion

  • A decision of an appeals court that agrees with the majority but for different reasons.


Plessy v ferguson
Plessy v. Ferguson

  • Upheld racial segregation in railroad cars as long as they are “separate, but equal.”

  • Was a dissenting opinion that said this violated Constitution.


Brown v board of education
Brown v. Board of Education

  • “Separate, but equal” doctrine was declared unconstitutional.

  • They used part of the dissenting opinion from Plessy in this decision.


Federal courts
Federal Courts

Hear criminal and civil cases about:

  • Constitution

  • Federal law

  • Parties from different states when over $75,000.


U s district courts
U.S. District Courts

  • Federal Trial Courts (where the case begins).


State courts
State Courts

  • Usually deal with family, traffic, criminal, probate, and small claims issues.


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