Federal Court System and Appellate Courts (1).docx

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Department
Criminal Justice
Course
CRJS 324
Professor
Jean Kelly
Semester
Fall

Description
Federal Court System and Appellate Courts Dual Court System Federal Magistrate ­Not the same as state magistrate ­They are federal equivalent of state trial court judges of limited jurisdiction    *Article I judges (not Article III judges; legislative courts) ­Serve 8 year terms; Selected by Federal District  *2 court systems are needed to interpret and apply their own laws *Jurisdiction ­Conducts initial appearances such as appointments of counsel for indigents, setting of bail, issue  warrants ­Preside over trials, accept guilty pleas and impose sentences (misdemeanors) ­may conduct full trials in civil cases US District Court ­Nominated by the President, confirmed by the senate and serve for life (good behavior) ­Trial court of General Jurisdiction; Hear civil and criminal cases ­Just about every civil or criminal case heard in the federal courts starts at the district court level ­Reviews petitions, hear motions, hold trials, issue injunctions, and keep the wheels of justice  spinning ­‘Trial courts’, meaning judges have the authority to try cases.  ­Judges can conduct jury trials in criminal or civil proceedings; in some instances, can decide  cases without a jury (bench trial)  Federal Judges ­Role at the trial court level is to decide questions of law.  ­Almost every question filed in a federal court poses questions of law and questions of fact.  ­Questions relating to whether the defendant actually committed the crime beyond a reasonable  doubt are called questions of fact.  ­Federal district courts serve the 94 federal judicial districts Circuit Courts of Appeals ­Article III Judges (nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate) ­Hears appeal of criminal convictions from the United States District Court ­Generally the courts of last resort for most federal litigation US Supreme Court ­Nations highest court ­9 justices (8 associate justice, 1 chief justice) ­Article III Judges ­Reviews decisions from the United States Court of Appeals and the state appellate courts of last  resort ­Also decides cases involving disputes between states *Rule of Four­Supreme
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