US Federal Court System

An explanation of how it works, and who is involved

The goal of this system is to provide a fair process to every case brought forth

It all begins in a District Court

A District Court is a federal court where all cases are held and trials are begun; it's the first step in the court system.

Depending on the outcome ruled in this step, a party involved may decide to appeal the decision, and take their case to the next level.

An original jurisdiction is the authority concerned with hearing a case for the first time.

US Attorneys

A lawyer who prosecutes those who have been accused of breaking federal laws.
Once a decision has been reached, often times a precedent will be created in order to serve as a model for decision making in similar cases.

The opinion will explain the court's legal reasoning and thinking behind the decision made.

Next comes the Appeals Court

The US Court of Appeals is the court in charge of reviewing the decisions made at the District Court level.

The Appellate Jurisdiction in this process serves as the authority to hear the case that is being appealed, and the Circuit is the geographic area concerned with the specific Appeals Court involved, and there are a total of 12 US Appeals Courts in total.

A remand is the decision to send a case to a lower court to be tried again.

Finally, there's the US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court is the final step of the courts process, and deals with cases approved by the Appeals Court.

The President of the United States has the power to elect all federal judges to serve here, and the Senate is involved in approving the elected judges.

These officiated judges then serve life sentences, and can only be removed from their position by either their own choice, or by impeachment.

Magistrate Judges

These judges decide whether the accused person/party member should ultimately be sent to jail or released on the condition of a bail.

US Marshals

Marshalls are officials in charge of making arrests, collecting fines, and taking the convicted people to prison.

They undergo a rigorous process for consideration, including a background check, requirement of a bachelor's degree, being between the age of 21 and 36, and complete a training process.

How many judges serve at each level?

1. At the first level, there are 2 judges to oversee civil and criminal cases being dealt with.

2. At the second levels, there are typically anywhere between 6 to 27 judges part of the Appeals court process.

3. At the third and final level, there are 9 US Supreme Court Justices, each having been appointed by both the President and with the approval of the Senate, for life terms.