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Tier II Science

Tier II Science

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Published by kw1476

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Published by: kw1476 on Apr 02, 2012
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Kara WardMay 5, 2009The Court Systems of the United States and England and WalesThe court system of the United States is very complicated. There are two main branchesof the system
 – 
the Federal Court System and the State Court System. These two branches cameto be because each state already had its own operating court system by the time the Constitutionmandated the establishment of a federal court system. The federal court system is broken intothree main parts (in order of rising importance): the federal district courts, the court of appeals,and the Supreme Court. The federal district courts have original jurisdiction in almost all cases of federal law. The federal district court system has one or more benches in every state in the USA,including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Federal district courts handle cases rangingfrom alleged violations of the Constitution or federal laws to maritime disputes to cases directlyinvolving a state or the federal government
(“Court Systems in the US”
).The United States courts of appeals were established by Congress in 1891. Each court issuperior to one or more district courts. There are 12 judicial circuits which compose this system.Each circuit has six to 27 judges. United States courts of appeals both hear appeals from theirrespective district courts and have original jurisdiction over cases involving a challenge to anorder of federal regulatory agency (
“Court Systems in the US”
).The Supreme Court is the only federal court mandated by the Constitution. The SupremeCourt consists of one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices. It has original jurisdiction oververy few cases
 – 
including cases that involve high-ranking diplomats of other countries or casesbetween two states of the United States. The Supreme Court may also review decisions from the
 
courts of appeals and hear appeals from some state courts if a federal issue is involved (
“CourtSystems in the US”
).The State Court System of the United States is infinitely more complicated as it hasarisen in every state in a different manner. Generally speaking, the State Court Systems arearranged in a very similar manner to Federal Court System. The lowest state courts are oftencalled the inferior courts. They handle only minor criminal and civil cases. The superior courtsare the next step up and are where most jury trials happen. They hear appeals from the inferiorcourts and handle serious crimes and major civil suits. The highest state court is often called theState Supreme Court. These courts hear appeals from superior courts and sometimes handle veryimportant cases (
“Court Systems in the US”
).The court system of England and Wales is similar to that of the United States with somedifferences. One obvious difference is the lack of a State Court system in England becauseEngland does not have states. The lowest level of courts in England and Wales is the MagistrateCourts. These courts hear minor criminal cases and are presided over by a judge or bench of magistrates
 – 
there is never any jury in Magistrate Courts. The Crown Courts are criminal courtswhich hear appeals from the Magistrate Courts and handle small amounts of civil cases (
“Courtsof England and Wales”
).The next level of courts in England and Wales is the High Court of Justice. It has three
different divisions: the Queen’s Bench, the Chancery, and the Family divisions. These divisions
are not, however, separate courts
 – 
each division is assigned different kinds of cases dependingon their subject matter and all three divisions may exercise the jurisdiction of the High Court(
“Courts of England and Wales”
).
 
The second highest level of courts is the Court of Appeal. This court has two divisionsand deals only with appeals from other courts. The Criminal Division hears appeals from theCrown Court regarding cases connected with a trial on indictment. The Civil Division hearsappeals from the other subordinate courts. The decisions of the Court of Appeal are binding onall of the courts exc
ept for the House of Lords (“Courts of England and Wales”
).The House of Lords is the highest court in the court system of England and Wales. TheHouse of Lords is a court based entirely on appeals and has no original jurisdiction over anyproceedings. This House is the official court of trial for impeachment cases even thoughimpeachment is obsolete in England (
“Courts of England and Wales”
).Both the United States and England and Wales have trials by jury. In England and Wales,minor criminal cases usually do not have a jury. Slightly more serious offenses may be tried by a jury or by magistrates depending on the decision of the defendant. Serious offenses are alwaystried by jury in the Crown Court. Previously the jury needed to reach a unanimous verdict, butthat has been changed so the judge may choose to reach a verdict by a 10-2 majority. Juries aremade of 12 people ages 18-70 and are chosen at random
(“Jury Trial”
).In the United States trialby an impartial jury is a constitutional right. Just like in England and Wales, the jury consists of 12 people chosen at random. Unlike England and Wales, however, the jury must reach aunanimous verdict
(“Jury Trial”)
.

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