Court Systems

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When the founding fathers of the United States began to conceive the notion of how the nation's legal system should work, they were determined we should have a country that operated differently and more effectively than the one left behind in the days of British control. They decided that states should have the power to make and govern their own laws and also the ability to enforce those laws. This did not eliminate the need for federal court systems, however, and so the dual court system was born. The dual court system is the formal name for the way our country's legal system works. The dual courts it refers to are the federal and state court systems. The state court system is constructed of local and state courts that are under the purview of state governments. The federal court system was established by the legislative body under the influence of the Constitution of the United States (Schmalleger, 2009). The state legislatures are free to create and enforce their own laws, but the federal government is there to oversee and intervene when necessary to ensure that there are no conflicts within the state systems or when the necessity exists because of multiple state involvements. In the state court system, each individual state has a separate system of courts that operated under the Constitution and laws of that particular state. Historically, the state courts are modeled after the British judicial system that was first brought to the United States when it was composed of English colonies. During that time, each of the original American colony had its own court system for resolving both civil and criminal disputes. As the colonies grew in size, it became necessary for counties to have their own court systems as well, which allowed the general court to focus its attention on appeals. The general court did reserve jurisdiction on certain cases, but typically only simple civil trials were heard there. All of the American colonies had a fully functional...
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