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  1. CHAPTER 9 • The Courts: Structure and Participants

  2. Definition for Thursday, Jan 6 • Appeal • Appellate Jurisdiction • Bailiff • Change of Venue • Community Court • Court of Last Resort • Courtroom Work Group

  3. Definition for Friday, Jan 7 • Defense Counsel • Dispute-Resolution Center • Expert Witness • Federal Court System • Judge • Judicial Review • Jurisdiction

  4. Definition For Monday, Jan 10 • Juror • Lay witness • Original Jurisdiction • Prosecutor • Prosecutor Discretion • Public Defender

  5. Definition for Tuesday, Jan 11 • State Court Administrator • State Court System • Subpoena • Trial de Novo • Victim Assistance Program


  6. The United States has courts on both the federal and state levels. This dual systemreflects the state’s need to retain judicial autonomy separate from the federal government. Most criminal cases originate within state courts. America’s Dual Court System

  7. Jurisdiction • The jurisdictionof a court refers to those cases in which it may exercise lawful authority • Determined by statute or constitution

  8. The Development of State Courts

  9. Early Court Systems Each colony had its own court system.

  10. Massachusetts Bay Colony 1629—Massachusetts Bay Colony created a General Court, which combined legislative and judicial duties. 1639—County courts were established in the outlying areas. The General Court became primarily a court of appeal.

  11. Pennsylvania Early system based on belief that “Every man could serve as his own lawyer.” Common peacemakers served as referees in disputes. Their decisions were binding.

  12. Early Court Systems By 1776 all colonies had fully functioning courts, but there was a lack of “trained” lawyers.

  13. Early Court Systems • Prior to 1776 • Most colonies restricted the number of lawyers allowed to practice. • Between 1695 and 1769, New York allowed only 41 lawyers to practice law.

  14. Early Court Systems • Structure of colonial courts were not uniform. Initially, most states made no distinction between originaland appellate jurisdiction.

  15. Original vs. Appellate Jurisdiction • Original Jurisdiction • … the lawful authority of a court to hear or to act on a case from its beginning and to pass judgment on the law and the facts. • …may be over a specific geographic area or over particular types of cases. • Appellate Jurisdiction …the lawful authority of a court to review a decision made by a lower court.

  16. Federal Judiciary Act of 1789 • 3-Tier Model for Court System • Trial courts of limited jurisdiction • Trial courts of general jurisdiction • Appellate courts

  17. State Court Systems Today • Many differences among state courts. • Most use the three-tiered structure. • Court reform movement seeks to simplify and unify court structures.

  18. A Typical State Court System

  19. State Trial Courts • Where criminal cases “begin.” • Bail hearings • Arraignments • Enters pleas • Conducts trials • Sentences • Two types of trial courts: • Courts of limited, or special, jurisdiction (lower courts) • Courts of general jurisdiction • Thomas Henderson, director of the National Center of State Courts found that misdemeanors courts process cases according to the “Decisional Model” and he said it is informal, personal, and decisive.

  20. State Trial Courts: Courts of Limited Jurisdiction • Authorized to hear: • Misdemeanors • Family disputes • Traffic violations • Small claims

  21. State Trial Courts: Courts of Limited Jurisdiction • Lower courts: • Rarely hold jury trials • Do not maintain detailed records of proceedings (just charge, plea, finding, and sentence) • Less formal than higher courts

  22. State Trial Courts: Courts of General Jurisdiction • Also called: high courts, circuit courts, or superior courts. • Formal courts that make full use of juries, witnesses, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and other actors. • Is the first appellate level for courts of limited jurisdiction. • Authorized to hear: • Any criminal case • Lower court appeals • Trial de novo

  23. Adversarial Process …pits the interests of the state, represented by prosecutors, against the accused, represented by defense counsel, in a process constrained by procedural rules specified in law and by tradition.

  24. State Appellate Courts • 39 states have intermediate and high-level appellate courts (courts of last resorts). • All states have supreme courts. • The court of last resort has Appellate jurisdiction

  25. Appeals • Appeals are requests by a defendant to a higher court asking it to review the actions of a lower court. • Some cases (involving death penalty or life sentences) are automatically appealed.

  26. Appeals: The Process • Appellate court reviews transcripts from lower trial courts and may allow for lawyers from both sides to make oral arguments.

  27. Appeals: The Results • Most convictions are confirmed. • Some decisions are reversed and cases remanded. • Recourse may be to a state supreme court. • Generally, state supreme court is the court of last resort.

  28. Cases can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court if they are based on a claimed violation of the defendant’s rights as guaranteed under federal law or the U. S. Constitution. Appeals: Moving to the Federal System

  29. “A respondent is entitled to a federal evidentiary hearing [only] if he can show cause for his failure to develop the facts in the state court proceedings.” “It is hardly a good use of scarce judicial resources to duplicate fact-finding in federal court merely because petitioner has negligently failed to take advantage of opportunities in state court proceedings.” Keeney v. Tamayo-Reyes (1993)

  30. Evidence of innocence is no reason for a federal court to order a new trial if constitutional grounds are lacking. “Where a defendant has been afforded a fair trial and convicted of the offense for which he was charged, the constitutional presumption of innocence disappears.” Herrera v. Collins (1993)

  31. State Court Administration State Court Administrators manage the operational functions of the court and the state court administrator works for the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC). The AOUSC is responsible for the administration of the courts on the Federal side.

  32. State Court Administrator’s Duties • Prepare, present, oversee court system’s budget • Analyze case flow and determine allocation of personnel and how to streamline cases • Gather and present statistics • Serve as liaison between legislators and court • Develop and coordinate funding requests • Manage court personnel (promotions, benefits) • Coordinate plans to train judges and other personnel • Assign judges to judicial districts • Review payments to counsel for indigent defendants

  33. Dispute Resolution Centers • Offer a way to resolve disputes without a formal hearing • Over 200 programs nationwide • Frequently staffed by volunteers • May or may not be run by the courts • Central feature of restorative justice

  34. Community Courts • Low level courts focusing on quality- of-life crimes that erode neighborhood morale • Emphasize problem solving rather than punishment • Build on restorative principles such as community service and restitution

  35. The Federal Court System

  36. Article III, Section 1 “One Supreme Court, and such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” The Federal Court System Established by the U.S. Constitution

  37. Article III, Section 2 Federal courts are to have jurisdiction over cases arising under the Constitution, federal law, and treaties. Federal courts are to settle disputes between states and to have jurisdiction in cases where one of the parties is a state. Jurisdiction of Federal Courts

  38. Structure of Federal Court System • Three Levels of Courts • U.S. Supreme Court • U.S. Courts of Appeals • U.S. District Courts

  39. Federal Court System

  40. U.S. District Courts • There are 94 judicial districts • At least 1 district court per state • District courts in Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. Territories

  41. U.S. District Courts …the trial courts of the federal system …original jurisdiction over all cases involving alleged violations of federal statutes

  42. District Court Judges • There are 650 district court judges. • Appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate • Serve for life • Assisted by magistrate judges, who: • Conduct arraignments • Set bail • Issue warrants • Try minor offenders

  43. U.S. Courts of Appeal: Circuit Courts • There are 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals • The 94 judicial districts are organized into 12 regions (circuits) • Each region has 1 Circuit Court • 1 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

  44. U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal

  45. U.S. Courts of Appeal: Circuit Courts • 167 appeals court judges • Review cases on appeal from U.S. district courts and trial-level federal courts • Mandatory jurisdiction over decision of appealed district court cases

  46. The Constitution guarantees a right to appeal. A defendant’s right to appeal, however, has been interpreted to mean the right to one appeal. Therefore, the U.S. Supreme Court does not hear every appeal by defendants dissatisfied with the decision of a federal appeals court. Right to Appeal

  47. U.S. Supreme Court

  48. U.S. Supreme Court • The U.S. Supreme Court consists of nine justices: • Eight Associate Justices • One Chief Justice • Justices are nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and serve for life.

  49. Jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court Original jurisdiction • Limited • Reserved for disputes between states and some cases involving the president Appellate jurisdiction • Reviews the decisions from U.S. Courts of Appeals and state supreme courts

  50. U.S. Supreme Court: Appeals • Of 5,000 annual requests for review, only about 200 are heard. • Four justices must vote in favor of a hearing for a case to be heard. • Usually the Court only reviews cases that involve a substantial federal question. • The Court issues a writ of certiorari to a lower court.