CheckPoint: Court System Structure I
The state court system and the federal court system have similar codes of conduct, but they do have their differences. The state court system hears way more cases than the federal courts, and get more personally involved due to the issues being right in their own backyard. The state of California has 58 superior courts (trial courts) which reside in each of the 58 counties. It is here where any, and all, issues pertaining to civil and criminal cases, as well as family, probate, and juvenile cases are heard. This is where the bulk of California’s judiciary justice is served. If a case is appealed it is taken up the ladder to one of California’s six Courts of Appeal. According to courtinfo.ca.gov (2011), “The State legislature divided the state geographically into six appellate districts, each containing a Court of Appeal.” (About California Courts, para. 2). The Supreme Court of California sits at the apex of authority in the state's judicial system (courtinfo.ca.gov, 2011). Cases that have been questioned in the Court of Appeal must be reviewed by the Supreme Court, as well as any case in which a trial court has issued the death penalty. The federal court system has a similar structure to the state court system. The lowest level is the federal district court. The district court hears the civil and criminal cases that pertain to the potential unconstitutionality or impartiality of a specific state court. Federal accusations of fraud and drug crimes can also be seen here. The next level, similar to the state court system, is the U.S. Court of Appeals. This is the intermediary appellate court level where cases that have been appealed are reviewed. Atop this is the United States Supreme Court, the highest form of authority in the country. It is here where few cases are officially sent to trial, but instead cases may be reviewed by one or a group of the justices and sent back down the line.
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