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Chapter 2 The Court System. §1: The Judiciary’s Role in American Government. Judicial Review was established in Marbury v. Madison (1803): “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is….”

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Chapter 2 The Court System

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Chapter 2 the court system l.jpg

Chapter 2The Court System


1 the judiciary s role in american government l.jpg

§1: The Judiciary’s Role in American Government

  • Judicial Review was established in Marbury v. Madison (1803):

    “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is….”

  • Today the judicial power is exercised by both federal and state courts.


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§ 2: Basic Judicial Requirements

  • “Juris” (law) “diction” (to speak) is the power of a court to hear a dispute and to “speak the law” into a controversy and render a verdict that is legally binding on the parties to the dispute.


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Types of Jurisdiction-State

  • In Personam Jurisdiction.

  • In Rem Jurisdiction.

  • Quasi In Rem Jurisdiction.

  • Subject Matter Jurisdiction.

  • Amount in Controversy.

  • Concurrent.


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Jurisdiction Over Persons

  • Power of a court to compel the presence of the parties (including corporations) to a dispute to appear before the court and litigate.

  • Courts use long-arm statutes for non-resident parties based on “minimum contacts” with state.

  • Case 2.1:Cole v. Mileti (1998).


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Jurisdiction over Property

  • In Rem jurisdiction is the power to decide issues relating to property, whether the property is real, personal, tangible, or intangible.

  • A court generally has in rem jurisdiction over any property situated within its geographical borders.


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Other Jurisdiction

  • Courts can also exercise jurisdiction over:

    • The Subject Matter of the Case (e.g., bankruptcy, family or criminal cases).

    • The Amount in Controversy (the amount of damages)

    • Original and Appellate.

  • Exclusive vs. Concurrent jurisdiction.


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Federal Court Jurisdiction

  • “Federal Question” cases involve rights or obligations of a party that are created or defined by some federal law.

  • “Diversity” cases exist where:

    • The parties are not from the same state, and

    • The amount in controversy is greater than $75,000.


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Jurisdiction in Cyberspace

  • “Sliding Scale” Standard

  • Case 2.2:Bird v. Parsons (2002).

Substantial Business Interaction

NoYes

PassiveWebsite


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Venue

  • Venue is concerned with the most appropriate location for the trial.

  • Generally, proper venue is whether the injury occurred.


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Standing

  • In order to bring a lawsuit, a party must have “standing” to sue.

  • Standing is sufficient “stake” in the controversy; party must have suffered a legal injury.


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Texas Courts

Federal Courts

Ct. Criminal

Appeals

Supreme

Court

U.S. Supreme

Court

Court of

Appeals

Circuit

Courts of

Appeals

District Court

County Court

Justice

Court

Municipal

Court

U.S. District

Court

§ 3: State and Federal Court Systems


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State Court System: Trial Courts

  • “Courts of record”-court reporters.

  • Opening and closing arguments.

  • Juries are selected.

  • Evidence, such as witness testimony, physical objects, documents, and pictures, is introduced.

  • Witnesses are examined and cross-examined.

  • Verdicts and Judgments are rendered.


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Appellate Courts

  • Middle level of the court systems.

  • Review proceedings conducted in the trial court to determine whether the trial was according to the procedural and substantive rules of law.

  • Generally, appellate courts will consider questions of law, but not questions of fact.


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Supreme Courts

  • Also known as courts of last resort.

  • The two most fundamental ways to have your case heard in a supreme court are:

    • Appeals of Right.

    • By Writ of Certiorari.


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The Federal Court System

  • U.S. District Courts are the ‘Trial’ courts of the federal court system.

  • U.S. Courts of Appeals.

  • United States Supreme Court.

    • Writ of Certiorari (Rule of Four).

    • Typically, involve important constitutional questions.


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American and English court systems follow the adversarial system of justice.

§4: Judicial Procedures: Following a Case through the Court


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Procedural Rules

Court systems developed around the common law concept of “due process” which requires adequate notice and a fair and impartial hearing.


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Stages of Litigation

  • Pleadings

  • Discovery

  • Pre-Trial

  • Trial

  • Post-Trial


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Litigation- Pleadings

1st2nd 3rd 4th5thPleadings // Discovery // Pre-Trial // Trial // Post


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Pleadings

  • Consult an Attorney.

  • Prepare Pleadings.

  • File Petition/Complaint.

    • Court acquires jurisdiction over subject matter and Plaintiff.

    • Facts: what happened?

    • Prayer: Court relief.


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Pleadings-Service of Process

  • Defendant served with Complaint and Summons.

  • Court acquires Personal Jurisdiction over Defendant (person or corporation).

  • Corporate Defendants are served via Registered Agent.

  • Case 2.3:Rio Properties v. Rio International Interlink (2002) [service by e-mail].


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Pleadings-Answer

  • The Answer is the Defendant’s response to the allegations stated in the Plaintiff’s Complaint.

  • In the Answer, the Defendant must specifically admit or deny each allegation in the Complaint.


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Pleadings-Answer

  • Defendant’s Answer:

    • May state General Denial.

    • Move for Change of Venue.

    • Allege Affirmative Defenses.

    • Counter Claim against Plaintiff.


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Dismissal and Judgments Before Trial

  • Defendant can move the Court to dismiss the Action for various reasons, such as:

    • The Court lacks jurisdiction.

    • The Plaintiff has failed to make all of the allegations, in his Complaint, that the law requires (i.e., the plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action).


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Dismissal and Judgments Before Trial

  • Motion to Dismiss.

  • Motion for Judgment on Pleadings.

  • Motion for Summary Judgment.


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Litigation- Discovery

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Pleadings // Discovery // Pre-Trial // Trial // Post


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Discovery

  • Discovery is the process by which parties obtain information from the opposing party prior to trial. Various tools are used:

    • Depositions & Interrogatories.

    • Requests for Admissions.

    • Requests for Production of Documents, Object and Entry.


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Litigation- Pre-Trial

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Pleadings // Discovery // Pre-Trial // Trial // Post


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Litigation-Pre-Trial

  • Mediation-Arbitration.

  • Disposition Without Trial:

    • Default Judgments.

    • Dismissals (With/Without Prejudice).

    • Summary Judgment.

    • Settlement.

  • Pre-Trial Orders (ex:TRO, In Limine).


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Litigation- Trial

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Pleadings // Discovery // Pre-Trial // Trial // Post


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The Trial

  • Trial is fundamentally an evidence presentation and authentication procedure.

  • To prevail, Plaintiff must introduce a preponderance of competent, relevant evidence with respect to each disputed allegation in order to prove it.


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The Trial [2]

  • The Defendant will attempt to introduce a preponderance of competent evidence to disprove at least one of the disputed allegations.

  • Hearsay is inadmissible.


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The Trial [3]

  • Bench Trial (no jury).

  • Jury Selection process involves:

    • Voire Dire;

    • Challenges to biased jurors;

    • Pick and Impanel the Jury; and

    • Selection of an Alternate Juror.


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The Trial [4]

  • Opening Statements (Plaintiff first).

  • Plaintiff’s Case--Evidence:

    • Witnesses- Direct examination vs. Cross X.

    • Admissibility of evidence decided by judge. Parties object to admission of evidence and judge decides, as a matter of law, whether evidence may be admitted into the trial.


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The Trial [5]

  • Plaintiff’s Case (cont’d).

    • Party may impeach the testimony or credibility of opposing witness by showing prior inconsistent statements and/or perjury.

  • Defendant’s Case is next.

  • Closing Arguments (Plaintiff first).

  • Jury Instructions, Deliberations and Verdict.


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The Trial [6]

  • Jury’s Verdict:

    • Criminal case--burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt” and the verdict (for guilty or acquittal) must be unanimous. If not, mistrial/hung jury.

    • Civil Cases—generally, burden of proof is by “preponderance” of the evidence and a majority of jurors must agree on verdict. If not, then mistrial/ hung jury.


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Litigation- Post Trial

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5thPleadings // Discovery // Pre-Trial // Trial // Post


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Post Trial

  • Judgment: Jury verdict is entered by the Clerk of Court.

  • A party may move for a New Trial.

    • Case 2.4:LeBlanc v. American Honda (1997).

  • A party may file a Motion for Judgment N.O.V..

  • Sentencing (criminal).


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Post Trial-Enforcement

  • Once a judgment becomes final (i.e., subject to no further judicial review) the defendant is legally required to comply with its terms.

  • Defendants who will not voluntarily comply with a judgment can be compelled to do so by seizure and sale of the Defendant’s assets.


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Post Trial-Appeal

  • A party may appeal not only the jury’s verdict by any legal issue, motion or court ruling during the trial.

  • The party filing the appeal (Appellant) files a brief that contains a short statement of the facts, issues, rulings by the trial court, grounds to reverse the judgment, applicable law and arguments on Appellant’s behalf.

  • Appeals court can affirm (agree with) or reverse (disagree with) the lower court’s decision.


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Law on the Web

  • Federal Rules of Evidence at Cornell U.

  • National Center for State Courts.

  • Michigan Cybercourt.

  • U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Federal Court System.

  • Legal Research Exercises on the Web.


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Complaint

Return


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Summons

Return


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