Federal Court System

How Does it Work?

People Involved

US Marshal - Every districts has a marshal, they may arrest, collect fines and take convicted people to prison. They protect jurors and keep order in the court and order people to appear in court.

US Attorney - Every district also has a US attorney. A government lawyer who prosecutes people accused of breaking federal laws, they look into the charges and present the evidence in court. They also represent the US in civil cases.

Magistrate Judge - Decide whether accused people should be held in jail or released on bail. They hear preliminary evidence and decide whether or not it should go to trial.


Appellate - The authority to hear a case appealed from a lower court

Original - The authority to hear a case for the first time

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District - Federal courts where trails are held and lawsuits begin

Court of Appeals - A higher level of court, when people lose in district court they will more up to the Court of Appeals

Circuit - 12 US courts of Appeals covers a particular geographic area

Opinion - Appellate Judge writes an opinion that explains the legal thinking behind the courts decision

Precedent - The opinion sets a precedent for other judges to follow in making their own decisions on similar cases


Remand - Send the case back to lower courts to be tried again

Life Terms - When someone can hold office for as long as they would like