U.S. Federal System

By Meaghan Pferschy

Courts settle civil disputes between private parties, the government and a private party, and a state or local government and the U.S.

The goal of the legal system is equal justice under the law

U.S. District Courts

These are the federal courts where the trials are held and where they begin lawsuits

District courts have "original jurisdiction"

There are 94 District courts that head both criminal and civil cases

U.S. Courts of Appeals

These are the courts that review decisions made in lower district courts

Appellate jurisdiction is the authority to hear cases that are appealed in a lower court

There are 12 U.S. courts of appeals that cover a particular geographic area (circuit)

There is a 13th appeals court for the Federal Circuit that has nationwide jurisdiction

*Appeals courts do not hold trials*

The judge may decide 1/3 outcomes:

-Uphold the original decision

-Reverse the decision

-remand the case

Federal Judges

There are at least 2 judges per district court

6-27 judges belong to each appeals court

The supreme court has 9 justices

Presidents appoint all federal judges with approval of the Senate

A judge with serve for life

A judge can only be removed by impeachment

U.S. Attorneys/ Marshals

They look into the charges and present the evidence to the court

They also represent the U.S in most civil cases that involve the government

Marshal make arrest, collect fines, and take people who have been convicted to jail