The federal court system operates on different levels, mainly district courts (which is the trial court that presides over ordinary cases), circuit courts which mark the basic appeal level, and the Supreme Court, which is the final court where final cases of appeal are heard. The U.S., just like other countries, has one Supreme Court, 13 circuit courts, and 94 district courts.
State Courts in the U.S. preside over disputes related to the respective state and not the federal government. They handle a wide range of both criminal and civil cases, which all fall under common law. They can also be referred to as common law courts because of the nature of cases handled. State courts apply the relevant state laws when deciding cases. Their organization is pursuant to their state’s constitution, statutes, as well as any other binding court decisions within the hierarchy of their state court. However, they may occasionally apply federal law, and a single judge often presides over hotly contested civil/criminal actions that reach their epitome during trials.
State courts are the courts that handle most of the criminal cases that you may see reported on your local news. Within each state, there are generally different circuits, and those circuits handle the cases for various parts of the state. Many state court circuits are overwhelmed with cases, and many cases take years to dispose of as a result.
For example, Jefferson County, Alabama is where the circuit court is located for any criminal offenses that take place within the city of Birmingham. Due to the high crime rate in Birmingham, Al, the court system is flooded with cases. Many of the defendants awaiting trial or other important court dates are out on bond. Most of these bonds were posted by a Birmingham, AL bail bonds company like Quick Release Bail Bonds Birmingham AL. A bail bonds company posts bail on behalf of defendants in exchange for a fee, which is usually 10% of the bond amount. The bail bonds companies and court system work together to try and move cases through the system as efficiently as possible.
U.S (Federal) District Courts
These are ideally the ordinary trial courts in the U.S. that hear regular cases but within the limits of the Constitution or boundaries set by Congress. They have the jurisdiction to preside over virtually all types of federal cases involving criminal and civil matters. The typical District Court is run by one or more District Judges duly appointed by the U.S. President and vetted and confirmed by the Senate to serve for a single term. They are not restricted to criminal or civil cases but can handle trials involving both. The districts resemble those of U.S. Attorneys, who are the primary federal government prosecutors within the area assigned to them.
The Court of Appeals is charged with hearing appeals referred from the various District Courts in the circuit. The appeals may also be from federal administrative agencies’ decisions. They can even hear appeals in highly-specialized cases, for instance, cases about patent laws.
The Supreme Court
This is the highest court of the land consisting of the Chief Justice (CJ) and eight associate justices. It is at the Supreme Court’s discretion to hear a certain number of cases limited by guidelines laid down by Congress. Such cases may have started in the federal/ state courts. These cases often involve crucial questions about the U.S. federal law or Constitution, and the judges’ interpretation of the law or Constitution is required.
The U.S. Court system is structured in a way that the lower-level courts handle the day-to-day cases of civil and criminal nature. At the highest level is one Supreme Court presided over by the Chief Justice and a team of 8 other Justices appointed by the U.S. President and confirmed (after vetting) by the Senate. They hear selected cases of appeal. Similarly, the Appellate Court hears cases of appeal referred from District Courts. On the other hand, District Courts are charged with hearing the day-to-day cases and are considered trial courts. State Courts also hear criminal and civil cases and apply state laws to decide cases.