United States Court Systems

This report is designed to give an overview of both the United States Court system and the Michigan State Court system. It will discuss each system individually and explain each court and general knowledge about that court. It will explore the similarities and differences between the 2 court systems and what the requirements are to determine in which court system cases should be heard.

The Federal Courts The Federal Court system is comprised of 3 different tiers, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals and the United States District Courts. The United States District Courts are the trial courts of the Federal Court system. All cases heard in the Federal Court system begin here.

The United State District Court is composed of 94 districts, with at least one in each state, one in the District of Columbia, one in Puerto Rico and in each of our 3 territories of Guam, Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands as well as separate courts of limited jurisdiction such as United States Bankruptcy Court, United States Court of International Trade, United States Court of Federal Claims, United States Military Court, United States Court of Veterans Appeals, United States Tax Court and federal administrative agencies and boards.

The Court of International Trade handles cases involving international trade and customs issues. The United States Court of Federal Claims handles most claims for monetary damages against the United States, disputes over federal contracts, unlawful seizures of private property by the federal government. The United States Court of Appeals is made up of 94 judicial districts which are divided into 12 regional circuits, each of which has a United States Court of Appeals. Each United State Court of Appeals branch has jurisdiction over its districts, as well as appeals from decisions of federal administrative agencies.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has jurisdiction over all appeals in specialized cases, such as those involving patent laws and cases from the Court of International Trade and the Court of Federal Claims. The United States Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices. Any vacancy for these justices is filled by the President of the United States to a life term, meaning until death or retirement. The United Supreme Court hears a limited number of cases per year and only the cases it chooses to hear.

Appealing to the United States Supreme Court does not guarantee they will consider the appeal. These cases may begin in either the federal or state courts, and they usually involve questions about the Constitution or federal law. Federal Court Jurisdiction Federal Court jurisdiction means can this case be judged by courts in the Federal Courts systems. This can be determined by asking the following questions. Is this case based on a question about the Constitution or a federal law?

Are the plaintiff and defendant citizens of different states, or is one of the defendants a foreign entity or a resident of a foreign country, and the value sought is over $75,000? If the value is less than $75,000 it does not qualify. An answer of yes to either question will make it a Federal Court jurisdiction case. Michigan State Courts Michigan has 3 tiers of courts similar to the Federal system. They are the Michigan Circuit Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court. The Michigan Supreme Court is Michigan’s highest court and has 7 justices who are elected to terms of 8 years.

It hears cases at its discretion. Each justice reviews every case submitted to determine whether the case should be heard. Less than 100 cases are heard each year. The Court hears oral arguments October-May of each year. Decisions are released throughout the term of August 1–July 31 of each year. The Michigan Court of Appeals is divided into four districts for election purposes. The Court’s 28 judges sit in panels of three and rotate among the three courtroom locations (Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids). The Judges are elected to 6 year terms with the Chief Justice appointed by the Michigan.

Supreme Court to a 2 year term. There are 57 circuit court districts in Michigan, with one State of Michigan Circuit Court in each district. The circuit court handles all civil cases with claims of more than $25,000 and all felony criminal cases in which jail time exceeds 1 year. In each district there are also numerous limited jurisdiction courts such as Michigan District Courts which handles traffic matters, criminal cases in which the punishment is less than a year in jail, and civil cases for between $3000 and $25,000 in damages is sought. Michigan Small Claims Courts in which civil cases of $3,000 or less are heard.

Michigan Probate Courts which handle wills, estates and guardianships cases and also has divisions for Michigan Family Court which handle cases such as paternity, adoption, personal protection orders, delinquency, divorce and Michigan Friend of Court which hears parenting time, custody, and child support issues. The Michigan Court of Claims hears lawsuits for more than $1,000 against the State of Michigan. In conclusion, the State of Michigan is similar to the United States Court system in that both have a 3 tiered system, but the State of Michigan seem much more divided in the trial court tier.

Michigan has divided the circuit court jurisdiction into many different limited jurisdiction courts specializing in certain area of law or certain limits for damages or jail terms. If a case is a Constitutional question or where the plaintiff and defendants reside in different states, or one party is a foreign entity or the resident of a foreign country and the damages sought exceed $75,000, it may qualify to be filed in the Federal Court system. While certain cases may qualify to be heard in either state or federal court, careful consideration must be made as to which court system might be the best place for an individual case.

The intentions of our Federal and State Court systems is to work as one unit made up of different courts, each performing its own role to achieve justice for everyone. Reference Cites Big Brochure, (08/23/2011). Michigan Courts – One Court of Justice. Retrieved from http://www. courts. mi/gov/Learningcenter/bigbrochure/ pages 3-5. Federal Courts in American Government, (n. d. ). United States Courts. Retrieved from http://www. uscourts. gov/federalcourts/understandingthefederalcourts/federalcourtsinamericangovernment.