Juan Carlos Gorbea
Intro to Law
Midterm Study Guide
• Difference between Constitutional, Statutory, and Administrative Laws
o Constitutional Law – branch of law that is based on the constitution for a
particular level of government.
o Statutory Law – includes legislative acts. Both Congress and the state legislatures
enact statutory law.
o Administrative Law – administrative regulations are rules promulgated by state
and federal administrative agencies.
• Right of Privacy – two components:
o Right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government
o Right that protects individuals against intrusions by others.
• Criminal vs. Civil Law
o Criminal Laws – define wrongs against society
o Civil Laws – define the rights of one person against another.
o General jurisdiction courts – broad authority to hear general civil and criminal
o Federal Court System
Federal District Courts – general trial courts of the federal system
• Original jurisdiction
• Criminal cases only when a violation of federal law occurs
• Civil cases only if:
o US is a party
o Cases between citizens of different states that involve
damages of $75K or more
o Cases that arise under the US Constitution or federal laws
• Limited Jurisdiction courts include Federal Bankruptcy Courts,
Indian tribal courts, Tax Court, Court of Federal Claims, Court of
Veteran Appeals and the Court of International Trade
US Court of Appeals
• Final decision of federal courts can be appealed to a court with the
• 12 Judicial Circuits
o Each circuit has an appellate court known as the US Court
o + Massachusetts is in the first circuit
• 13 Federal Circuit – hears appeals from the 12 other circuits US Supreme Court
• Appellate jurisdiction over cases that are appealed from the federal
court of appeals as well as from state supreme courts when a
constitutional issue is involved in the case or a state court has
reversed a federal court ruling.
• Does not hear all the cases from the Federal courts of appeals
• Only court created in the Constitution
• Trial court for ambassadors, public ministers, or consuls and for
cases in which two states are involved in a lawsuit
o State Court Systems
General Trial Courts – most states have trial courts of general jurisdiction.
• Hear criminal and civil cases
• Cases that do not meet the jurisdictional requirements for the
federal district courts
Specialty Courts – state courts with limited jurisdiction
City, Municipal, and Justice Courts – Lesser courts with limited
• Handle civil matters in which the claim made in the suit is below a
certain level of $
Small Claims Courts – courts of limited jurisdiction where parties with
small amounts in dispute may come to have a third party, such as a justice
of the peace or city judge, review their disputes and determine how they
should be resolved.
State Appellate Cou