The Judicial Branch

How It Works

Level One

District Courts

District Court is the lowest of the three levels of the Federal Court. Every single case must start in the district court. This is where the original jurisdiction which gives the authority to hear the case for the first time. The jury is selected to decide guilty or innocent.

Level Two

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals is the second level in the Federal Court System. A Circuit is the area that a court of appeals is supervising a district. Appeals do not make decisions on whether or not someone is guilty or innocent. They decide on whether the person was given a fair trial. This is determined by a panel of six judges. They decide on one of three choices: Uphold, Overturn, Remand. This court has Appellate Jurisdiction which gives the authority to hear the case appealed from the lower court.

Level Three

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the Judicial Branch. There are 9 judges called Justices and the "ring leader" is the Magistrate Judge. They all serve a term for life, or if they are impeached. The judges are appointed by the president with the approval of the Senate.

Other Officials

U.S. Marshal: head of a police or fire department. They arrest and escort the accused to and from jail. They also protect the jurors while court is in session and keep the order in the court.
U.S. Attorney: They mainly deal with paperwork. They are the prosecutors also known as District attorneys. They fight against the defendant.