While the overall goals of various criminal justice systems in the world would appear to be similar if not the same, the development of the individual theories and practices in those systems of criminal justice tend to differ greatly based on a variety of societal, cultural and historical factors and influences.
Summary of Basic American Legal Principles What follows are some of the fundamental principles that comprise the American legal system. Each of these is discussed in greater detail in this and other chapters of this book. They are summarized below in order to give the reader an overview of some of the basics of American common law.
Impact of Precedent—The Principle of Stare Decisis The defining principle of common law is the requirement that courts follow decisions of higher level courts within the same jurisdiction.
It is from this legacy of stare decisis that a somewhat predictable, consistent body of law has emerged. Court Hierarchy Court level or hierarchy defines to a great degree the extent to which a decision by one court will have a binding effect on another court. The federal court system, for instance, is based on a three-tiered structure, in which the United States District Courts are the trial-level courts; the United States Court of Appeals is the first level court of appeal; and the United States Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the law.
Although the term most often is used in connection with the jurisdiction of a court over particular matters, one may also speak of matters being within or beyond the jurisdiction of any other governmental entity.
For instance, while there is only one Supreme Court, the court of appeals is divided into 13 circuits, and there are 94 district courts. The issue of whether authority is mandatory or persuasive relates directly to the application of stare decisis principles.
Primary versus Secondary Authority The various sources of law may also be broken down into primary and secondary sources of law. Primary sources of law may be mandatory on a particular court, or they may be merely persuasive. Whether they are binding or persuasive will depend on various factors.
Secondary authority is not itself law, and is never mandatory authority. A court may, however, look towards secondary sources of law for guidance as to how to resolve a particular issue. Secondary authority is also useful as a case finding tool and for general information about a particular issue.
Dual Court Systems The American legal system is based on a system of federalism, or decentralization. Most states have court systems which mirror that of the federal court system. Interrelationship Among Various Sources of Law One of the more complex notions of American jurisprudence is the extent to which the various sources of law, from both the state and federal systems, interrelate with one another.
There is a complex set of rules that defines the relative priority among various sources of law and between the state and federal systems. What Is Common Law? Civil law systems rely less on court precedent and more on codes, which explicitly provide rules of decision for many specific disputes.The United States is renowned for having one of the most sophisticated judicial systems in the world.
Every day thousands of people, including law enforcement officers, lawyers, judges, government officials and even accused criminals, take part in this system, hoping to settle disputes and.
The United States Court System - The federal court system, unlike the Florida court system, is made up of three levels. At the very top of the tier is the U.S Supreme Court. The U.S Supreme Court is also known as the court of last resort because it is the last stop in the court process.
Judicial Facts and Figures does not offer an analysis of the federal judicial caseload, although tables may note and explain significant fluctuations in the data.
More detailed information appears in the Annual Report of the Director: Judicial Business of the United States Courts. The federal judiciary of the United States is one of the three co-equal branches of the federal government of the United States organized under the United States Constitution and laws of the federal government.
Creating the Federal Judicial System; Debates .
The federal court system, for instance, is based on a three-tiered structure, in which the United States District Courts are the trial-level courts; the United States Court of Appeals is the first level court of appeal; and the United States Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the law.
As the United States grew, the number of circuit courts and the number of Supreme Court justices grew to ensure that there was one justice for each circuit court. The circuit courts lost the ability to judge on appeals with the creation of the US Circuit Court of Appeals in and was abolished completely in .