Government 6.1 Emma Sebourn

Identify the characteristics of a successful appeal and the basic structure of federal, state and local court systems.



Characteristics of a successful appeal

An appeal is made when an individual who loses a case in a trial attempts to appeal the verdict given.

A successful appeal is possible only when the losing party claims that the trial court did not apply the law correctly, or that the trail was not fair (397).

Appeals can happen when the losing party claims that there was an error of law. This is when a judge makes a mistake about the laws that are applicable in the given case.

A verdict can also be appealed if there was a mistake that occured that involves procedural due process. Due process ensures that police, lawyers, judges and jurors all follow the same, correct procedures and that the U.S. Constitution is upheld. Some of the rights to a fair trial are stated in Amendments 4, 5, 6 and 8.


Structure of federal court systems

Article III of the U.S. Constitution is what defines the basic structure of the federal court system.

Congress is given the power to create lower courts that include the federal district courts, the federal court of appeals, and the United States Court of International Trade. The Constitution is what creates the Supreme Court.

Federal courts can decide cases that deal with a large amount of money and the parties are from different states.

Federal courts handle more than 375,000 cases a year and handles more than one million bankruptcy petitions annually.


Structure of state and local court systems

State and local laws are interpreted and applied by state and local courts. It can include criminal, family, contract or juvenile law cases.

Local courts can decide on things such as parking tickets or littering violations.

Cases involving some federal laws can be decided by state courts.

Minor courts are called justice courts, inferior trial courts, magistrate courts, or municipal courts. There are different courts for family related issues (adoption, divorce, custody, etc.), traffic courts, or a juvenile crimes court.

Small claims courts hear about lawsuits that deal with $20-$5,000.

Probate courts deal with wills and claims against estates of persons who die with or without wills.

General courts deal with a wide range of issues, civil or criminal.

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