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Unit A-Business Law Essential Standard 1.00. Objective 1.02 Understand C ourt Systems and T rial P rocedures. Federal Courts. U. S. Supreme Court highest court in land both original and appellate jurisdiction exercises its appellate jurisdiction over cases from lower courts

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    unit a business law essential standard 1 00

    Unit A-Business LawEssential Standard 1.00

    Objective 1.02

    Understand Court Systems

    and Trial Procedures

    federal courts
    Federal Courts

    U. S. Supreme Court

    highest court in land

    both original and appellate jurisdiction

    exercises its appellate jurisdiction over cases from lower courts

    U. S. Court of Appeals

    appellate jurisdiction over the district courts, certain specialized federal courts and many Federal agencies.

    do not accept any new evidence or call witnesses.

    review the trial transcripts, legal briefs and oral arguments from attorneys.

    13 Federal Courts of Appeal - 12 of these are Circuit Courts and each is assigned a geographic area of the U. S.

    thirteenth court is assigned to the federal circuit

    handles appealed patent cases from district court

    handles appeals from courts with special jurisdictions.

    U. S. District Courts

    lowest level of Federal court with general jurisdiction

    first to hear the dispute in the Federal system

    power to determine the facts and make initial determinations

    original jurisdiction on Federal cases that fall under the Constitution, U. S. Law and U. S. treaties and between a U. S. citizen and a foreign nation or a foreign citizen.

    n c state courts
    N. C. State Courts

    N. C. Supreme Court

    state’s highest court

    Chief Justice and six associate justices

    decide cases appealed from lower courts, including from the Court of Appeals.

    no jury

    makes no determinations of fact

    considers only questions of law

    means resolving a party’s claim that there were errors in legal procedures or in judicial interpretation of the law in the trial court or the Court of Appeals.

    N. C. Court of Appeals

    intermediate appellate court

    fifteen judges

    sit in panels of three to hear cases with one Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

    decides only questions of law

    n c state courts continued
    N. C. State Courts (continued)

    N. C. Superior Court

    trial court divisions

    to determine the facts of cases

    general jurisdiction.

    N. C. District Court

    hold trials to determine the facts of cases

    Magistrates’ Court

    both civil and criminal matters

    preside over “small claims "court

    conduct certain preliminary proceedings and are authorized to dispose of some criminal cases by pleas of guilty or by trial.

    n c state courts continued1
    N. C. State Courts (continued)

    Civil Court

    civil jurisdiction of the trial court divisions – the superior court and district court – is concurrent

    Criminal Court

    criminal jurisdiction

    depends on the type of offense charged

    with a few exceptions, the superior court has exclusive jurisdiction over all felonies.

    Juvenile Court

    exclusive, original jurisdiction over all juvenile cases

    children under the age of sixteen who are accused of being “delinquent” and children under the age of eighteen who are “undisciplined,” “abused,” “neglected” or “dependent.”

    all records of juvenile proceedings are confidential and not open to the public.

    trial procedures
    Trial Procedures

    Criminal Cases


    a person who has allegedly committed a felony offense or a serious misdemeanor offense that does not meet the requirements for a person to be released on a signature summons.

    Initial Bail

    the arrested person is taken before a magistrate and based on the charge, circumstances and the offenders prior criminal record, the magistrate sets an initial bail-bond amount in order for the person charged to be released.

    Arraignment/Initial Hearing

    the charged person is brought before a judge to determine probable cause to have the case heard by a grand jury for possible indictment (if a felony charge). This arraignment is also used to change or set any bail requirements.

    trial procedures continued
    Trial Procedures (Continued)

    Criminal Cases (continued)

    Grand Jury

    panel of eighteen citizens

    randomly drawn from the same pool as those selected for jury duty for a trial

    determine if probable cause exists for the case to go to trial

    civil cases
    Civil Cases

    Complainant (Plaintiff)

    person or entity bringing or filing the lawsuit.


    person or entity against which the lawsuit is brought


    initial pleading by which a lawsuit is begun


    response to a civil complaint


    issued by the Clerk of Court

    official notice of the lawsuit


    papers requesting something or responding to a request that are filed in the case, including the complaint and answer

    trial procedures1
    Trial Procedures

    Steps to a Trial

    (Criminal and Civil)

    Jury Selection

    attorneys for both prosecution (plaintiff if civil) are allowed to strike a specific number of jurors without justification referred to as Voir dire

    Opening Statement

    beginning of the trial

    limited to outlining facts

    set the basic scene for the jurors

    introduce them to the core dispute(s) in the case

    provide a general road map of how the trial is expected to unfold

    steps to a trial criminal and civil
    Steps to a Trial (Criminal and Civil)


    declaration by a witness under oath, as that given before a court or deliberative body

    Evidence Presentation

    Item such as a coroner's report, a weapon in a criminal case or photographs in a civil case that can help corroborate or refute the testimony of other witnesses

    Closing Arguments

    opportunity to remind jurors about key evidence presented and to persuade them to adopt an interpretation favorable to each sides position

    Jury Instructions

    given by the trial judge

    specifically state what the defendant can be found guilty of and what the prosecution or plaintiff has to prove in order for a guilty verdict.

    steps to a trial criminal and civil1
    Steps to a Trial (Criminal and Civil)

    Jury Deliberation

    jury is charged to find the defendant guilty or not guilty

    in criminal case by all 12 members

    in civil case by the majority of the jurors in a civil trial


    in a criminal trial the jury must make a decision beyond a reasonable doubt

    in a civil trial the jury must make a decision by a preponderance of the evidence.

    in a civil case the verdict is sometimes called a judgment.