Federal Court System

Katelynn May

How Federal Courts are Organized

A district court is a federal court where trials are held where lawsuits are started. In most states there is only one district court but larger states has 2 or 3. In district courts there is original jurisdiction, which is the option to hear the case for the first time. A district court can hear civil and criminal cases. They involve witnesses and juries. When people lose in a district court they often appeal to a higher level which is the Court of Appeal. This court reviews decisions made in lower courts. They have appellate jurisdiction which is the ability to hear cases appealed by a lower court. There are only 12 courts of appeal and each covers a certain location which is known as a circuit.

More on How Federal Courts are Organized

A magistrate judge decides if an accused person should have to stay in jail or if they can be bailed out. Each district court has these, they do most of a judges everyday work. They decide if the case should go to trial based on preliminary evidence. A US attorney is a government lawyer who prosecutes people who are accused of breaking a federal law. They research the charges and present the evidence to the court. They are part of the Department of Justice. A US Marshal makes arrests, collects fines, and put guilty people in prison. They also protect the jury, make sure the court is kept in order, and attend subpoenas. In a life term, either the officer works in the same position for their whole life, or a criminal has to be in jail for the rest of their life. A precedent in law is an example of how other cases should be dealt with. An opinion explains the legal reasoning behind the court's decision of a case. To be remanded is for the case to be sent back to a lower level of court.

How the Federal Court System Works

Two sides present their case and why their side should be chosen in favor. Trials can also be held one sided for people accused of a crime. Their trial decides if they are guilty or not. Witnesses present evidence. All people are innocent until proven guilty. The goal is equal justice under the law. A review can be requested if someone believes a mistake has been made. The federal court system has district courts at the bottom, appeals courts in the middle, and Supreme Court at the top. The Constitution gives the Federal Court jurisdiction over 8 kinds of cases; if the law is in question, violation of federal laws, disagreements of state government, lawsuit between citizens of other states, the US government suing or being sued, between a foreign government and the US government or a US private party, accidents or crimes in the seas, involving US diplomats.