Federal Court System!

Step by Step Vocab

District Courts!!

Every state has at least one District court if not more.

They are federal courts where trials and lawsuits begin at.

Under District Courts they have original jurisdiction, which is the authority to hear a court case for the first time.

Every district courts has its own jurisdiction, which allows them to make legal judgments and decisions.

Court of Appeals!!

The next step after District Courts were if a case is lost in the district court and is appealed it travels to the court of appeals!

The Court of Appeals reviews the decision of the district court, but does not hold trials.

Instead the main goal of the Court of Appeals is to insure the people's rights are protected.

The Court of Appeals has Appellate Jurisdiction which means it has the authority to hear a case that has been through the lower district court.

It also is contained by a Circuit which is where all 12 U.S. courts of appeals are designed to cover different geographical regions.


Judges Role!!

Each district court has at least 2 judges, each court of appeals has at least 6 to 27 judges, each supreme court has 9 justices.

In the Court of appeals a group of judges get together to review the records and listen to each attorneys side of the story for a particular case.

A judge writes an opinion that explains the legal thinking behind the courts decision.

One judge will release a precedent for other judges to follow in making their decisions on a similar case.

The judges have three options when viewing a case....they can either reverse the decision made by the district court...they can uphold the decision....or they can remand the case back to the district court.

Judges are determined by the president because each judge serves a life term and can only be removed by impeachment.


A magistrates main job is to decide whether the accused should be held in jail or released on bail, and hear the evidence of the case and decide whether or not it should go to trial.

In the district court the magistrates job is very similar to a judges and will often do much of the judge's routine.

U.S. Attorney

Every federal judicial district has a U.S. attorney.

The main goal of the Attorney being a government lawyer that prosecutes the accused.

The attorney will look into the charges and evidence and present the case to the court.

Attorneys also will represent the U.S. in civil cases involving the government.

U.S. Marshall

Every federal judicial has a U.S. Marshall.

The Marshall makes arrests, takes convicted to prison, keeps order in courts, orders people to court, and protects the jurors.