1.02 Notes

January 20, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Law, Tort Law
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Objective 1.02 Understand Court Systems and Trial Procedures

Federal Courts U. S. Supreme Court • Highest court in land • Both original and appellate jurisdiction • Exercises its appellate jurisdiction over cases from lower courts U. S. Court of Appeals • Appellate jurisdiction over the district courts, certain specialized federal courts and many Federal agencies. • Do not accept any new evidence or call witnesses. • Review the trial transcripts, legal briefs and oral arguments from attorneys. • 13 Federal Courts of Appeal - 12 of these are Circuit Courts and each is assigned a geographic area of the U. S. • Thirteenth court is assigned to the federal circuit – Handles appealed patent cases from district court – Handles appeals from courts with special jurisdictions.

U. S. District Courts • Lowest level of Federal court with general jurisdiction • First to hear the dispute in the Federal system • Power to determine the facts and make initial determinations • Original jurisdiction on Federal cases that fall under the Constitution, U. S. Law and U.S. treaties and between a U. S. citizen and a foreign nation or a foreign citizen.

N. C. State Courts

N. C. Supreme Court • State’s highest court • Chief Justice and six associate justices • Decide cases appealed from lower courts, including from the Court of Appeals. • No jury • Makes no determinations of fact • Considers only questions of law • Means resolving a party’s claim that there were errors in legal procedures or in judicial interpretation of the law in the trial court or the Court of Appeals. N. C. Court of Appeals • Intermediate appellate court • Fifteen judges – Sit in panels of three to hear cases with one Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

• Decides only questions of law

N. C. State Courts (continued) N. C. Superior Court • Trial court divisions • To determine the facts of cases • General jurisdiction.

N. C. District Court • Hold trials to determine the facts of cases Magistrates’ Court –Both civil and criminal matters –Preside over “small claims "court –Conduct certain preliminary proceedings and are authorized to dispose of some criminal cases by pleas of guilty or by trial.

N. C. State Courts (continued) Civil Court

– Civil jurisdiction of the trial court divisions – the superior court and district court is concurrent Criminal Court

– Criminal jurisdiction – Depends on the type of offense charged – With a few exceptions, the superior court has exclusive jurisdiction over all felonies. Juvenile Court

– Exclusive, original jurisdiction over all juvenile cases – Children under the age of sixteen who are accused of being “delinquent” and children under the age of eighteen who are “undisciplined”, “abused”, “neglected” or “dependent.” – All records of juvenile proceedings are confidential and not open to the public.

Trial Procedures Criminal Cases

Arrest • Person who has allegedly committed a felony offense or a serious misdemeanor offense that does not meet the requirements for a person to be released on a signature summons.

Initial Bail • The arrested person is taken before a magistrate and based on the charge, circumstances and the offenders prior criminal record, the magistrate sets an initial bail-bond amount in order for the person charged to be released. Arraignment/Initial Hearing • The charged person is brought before a judge to determine probable cause to have the case heard by a grand jury for possible indictment (if a felony charge). • This arraignment is also used to change or set any bail requirements.

Trial Procedures

Criminal Cases

Grand Jury • Panel of eighteen citizens • Randomly drawn from the same pool as those selected for jury duty for a trial • Determine if probable cause exists for the case to go to trial

Civil Cases Complainant (Plaintiff) • Person or entity bringing or filing the lawsuit. Defendant • Person or entity against which the lawsuit is brought Complaint • Initial pleading by which a lawsuit is begun Answer • Response to a civil complaint Summons • Issued by the Clerk of Court • Official notice of the lawsuit Pleadings • Papers requesting something or responding to a request that are filed in the case, including the complaint and answer

Trial Procedures Steps to a Trial (Criminal and Civil) Jury Selection • Attorneys for both prosecution (plaintiff if civil) are allowed to strike a specific number of jurors without justification referred to as Voir dire Opening Statement • Beginning of the trial • Limited to outlining facts • Set the basic scene for the jurors • Introduce them to the core dispute(s) in the case • Provide a general road map of how the trial is expected to unfold

Steps to a Trial (Criminal and Civil) Testimony • Declaration by a witness under oath, as that given before a court or deliberative body Evidence Presentation • Item such as a coroner's report, a weapon in a criminal case or photographs in a civil case that can help corroborate or refute the testimony of other witnesses

Closing Arguments • Opportunity to remind jurors about key evidence presented and to persuade them to adopt an interpretation favorable to each sides position Jury Instructions • Given by the trial judge • Specifically state what the defendant can be found guilty of and what the prosecution or plaintiff has to prove in order for a guilty verdict.

Steps to a Trial (Criminal and Civil)

Jury Deliberation • jury is charged to find the defendant guilty or not guilty • in criminal case by all 12 members • in civil case by the majority of the jurors in a civil trial Verdict/Sentence • in a criminal trial the jury must make a decision beyond a reasonable doubt • in a civil trial the jury must make a decision by a preponderance of the evidence. • in a civil case the verdict is sometimes called a judgment.

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