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Federal and State Jurisdictions


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The court system within the United States is very similar to a hierarchy style of authority, but there are two different sectors that can overlap at times. The two sectors are Federal and State, and these two also play to the hierarchy rule. Within the federal court systems, the top of the pyramid is the Supreme Court which handles disputes between two or more states, disputes with foreign ambassadors, United States versus a singular state, or United States versus a citizen or illegal immigrant (Siegel, Schmalleger, & Worrall, 2019). Next within the federal side of this system is the Federal Courts, which is high up in power but there are multiple courts, so it is a very horizontal section. The federal courts refer to the US Court of International Trade, US Court of Federal Claims, US Tax Courts, US Courts Military Appeals, and anything that falls within these the federal courts have original jurisdiction (Siegel, Schmalleger, & Worrall, 2019)

. Third within the federal side is the Appellate court, which hold cases of appeals that come from high state level courts. For example, in Arizona, the state has their own Supreme Court which does not have the authority of the federal state court but plays the same role in Arizona. This court also has the power to hold all the appeals for lower state courts, and similar cases to those of the circumstances of US Supreme court cases but on a lower scale for instance county or city disputes. Using Arizona as an example the next court that comes after the state Supreme Court is the Superior Court. Which is in charge of a variety of cases, and there are a variety of courts due to different type of disputes ad sectors of Superior Courts. Between Superior and Municipal is Justice Courts, and they hear both city and county cases. They are an in-between due to the fact that there are so many court cases that are needed to be heard no matter their severity. They also share jurisdiction with the superior court with cases such as landlord and tenant disputes as long as they are between five thousand and ten thousand dollars (Siegel, Schmalleger, & Worrall, 2019). Close to last comes municipal courts, who have limited jurisdiction based off of their subject, number of fines and sentence length. Last but not least is a court and jurisdiction all of its own that is essentially on the same level as municipal called Tribal Court. These courts only have the jurisdiction to federal native lands and the laws they abide by. However, if on these federally protected lands, if murder was to be committed it would have to be federally investigated due to the fact that Tribal courts don’t have the authority to proceed with cases as those.

Many Different Jurisdictions

There is a plethora of jurisdictions throughout every state and the entire nation, and the reason for that is because of the different types of jurisdictions and crimes committed. A type of jurisdiction that helps determine where the case goes is subject jurisdiction which the main difference between this type of jurisdiction is whether its criminal or civil (Cornell Law School, 2019). Another type of jurisdiction, which is most common in state courts is general jurisdiction which is when the courts hear disputes of when state laws are broken (Cornell Law School, 2019). However, some states prohibit subject matter cases from their court rooms of cases committed by a citizen that have happened in another state. Lastly, exclusive jurisdiction, which is essentially within federal court, and the most common example is bankruptcy which is only allowed in federal courts due to the fact that creditors are all nationwide. Another reason there are so many jurisdictions and courts are due to the fact that there is a plethora of crimes listed in state and federal statutes. Therefore, there must be a large number of courts that are divided by jurisdiction, crime and within that crime the severity of it.

Enhance or Detract from the Imposition of Justice

The plethora of jurisdictions helps enhance the imposition of justice due to the fact that there is specific courts for different types of issues making the final decision of cases more accurate. If there were to be limited numbers judges and attorneys would have to hold so much knowledge on every type of crime to effectively help their client or determine the decision, which is nearly impossible (Reynolds & Richman, 2000). An example of the positives of multiple jurisdictions would be the tribal courts. Native lands are living their lives abiding by different rules within their protected land and keeping the tradition. By these areas having their own specific courts for those law they can maintain their values and tradition while still enforcing justice. Aside from native lands the specific courts throughout the nation also improve the number of effective outcomes that come from each court due to the knowledge held for each specific subject whether that is criminal or civil law.




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