Federal Court System
If your were to file a small complaint your would file it to the district court. After that you can either go into court or the judge can decide his or her decision without going to court. If not you will see two things in this court. A U.S. Marshall who protects the judge. The judge will be a Magistrate Judge. At the end of court he will give an opinion and this opinion will be in a certain circuit. After the opinion is given he will give you a remand which is bail. You can then try this trial in a higher court if you feel necessary. If the higher court doesn't like the previous decision they will change it. This is called the appellate jurisdiction. The higher court would be the court of appeals. The court of appeals will make a decision and they can base it off of a former case. This is called a precedent. One of the punishments can be life term. Which is where you serve life in prison. Also if you were to sue or be sued by the government the person representing you will be the U.S. Attorney. This is how the Federal Court System works.