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Chapter 4

SOCIOL 2309 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: United States Court Of Appeals For The Federal Circuit, Diversity Jurisdiction, General Jurisdiction

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Ryan King

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Soc 2309
Federal and State Courts
Chapter 4
I. Introduction
A. Courts settle disputes by providing forum for obtaining justice and resolving
disputes through application of law
B. Courts make public policy decisions
C. Courts serve to clarify the law through interpretation of statutes and the
application of general principles to specific fact patterns
II. Jurisdiction
A. Jurisdiction – the legal authority or power of a court to hear, pronounce on and
decide a case
B. Personal jurisdiction – the authority of the court over a person
C. Subject matter jurisdiction – the authority conferred on a court to hear a
particular type of case
C.1. Some courts only hear specific type of case
D. Geographical jurisdiction – the authority o courts to hear cases that arise within
specified boundaries, such as city, county, state or country
D.1. Sometimes referred to as venue
D.2. Precisely where crime occurred is not always clear-cut
D.3. Within each state there are jurisdictions, usually defined by county
E. Hierarchical jurisdiction – the division of responsibilities and functions among
the various courts
E.1. Limited jurisdiction – those courts that deal with the less serious
offsenses and civil cases
E.2. General jurisdiction – when a court has the authority to hear a
variety of cases and is not limited to hearing only a particular type of
E.3. Original jurisdiction – the power of the court to hear the case
E.4. Appellate jurisdiction – the power of the court to review a
decision in a lower court
E.4.a. Do not conduct retrial; review trial record and determine if
there were any significant legal error
III. Federal Courts
A. Jurisdictions of the federal and state courts frequently overlap
B. Article III courts – those courts established by Congress pursuant to its authority
to create β€œinferior” or lower courts under Article III of the US Constitution
C. District Courts
C.1. Trial court – the court of original jurisdictions – for the federal
court system
C.2. 94 federal judicial courts in the 50 states
C.3. In each district, there is a US District Court with federal district
judges and subordinate judicial officers
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