The United States courts and history and its purpose has been a strong order of justice in the nation since the first time it was established. The system was designed to allow the citizens of the United States to receive a fair criminal trial regardless of social status, gender, race, and ethnic background. The system is composed by several different elements and processes that are at times very complicated. The best way to understand how the system works is to examine the structure and function of the different courts in America. This paper will describe a court and its purpose, define the dual court system and describe the role that early legal codes, the common law, and precedent played in the development of courts. In addition it will also identify the role of courts in criminal justice today.
Over time, the court systems have established a sense of regularity or systematic procedures. The court system in the United States has a federal system of government in which power is divided between a central authority and smaller local units of government. The system has a dual system of federal and state courts that are independent of one another. Each state has its own system; the authority of a court to decide a case is called its jurisdiction. The Courts have jurisdiction only within geographical boundaries. This limits a particular city court to try cases that arise outside the city limits, on the same token, courts in one state rarely have jurisdiction over events happening or people living in other states. Once courts makes a decision to trial a case, the parties present evidence and ask a judge or jury for a decision or verdict.
This decision is not final and it can be challenged in an appellate court. The appellate courts hear appeals that they review the lower court’s decision to see whether a legal error was made. These courts have a specific historical era that is known as “Old English” is set up by several major events. One of the events was the early English Justice and initiated the first court proceedings called trial by ideal. This formally identified crimes like witch craft or other abnormal acts of social behaviors, such as persons with psychological or uncontrolled emotional conduct. According to “UCI Law Erwin Chemerinsky Profile” (2010) “the federal system is created of several courts the highest court is the Supreme Court which is referred to as the highest court in the land because it hears the appeals from state and federal courts alike” “Cases heard in the Supreme Court usually have been appealed from a lower court. Individuals wanting their cases heard by the Supreme Court must file a writ of certiorari and four of the nine judges must agree to issue a writ for the court to hear the case”. (United States Court, 2005).
The dual court system is the distinction of state and federal courts that make up the judicial branch of government. Where a case does not involve the government or multiple states, the state court has been assigned jurisdiction as stated in the United States Constitution. There has been some talk of court unification at different points over the last century, but it has not taken place universally. The court system was not set up in one chunk and has, over time and in many different areas, been generated piece by piece. A primary factor to maintaining the dual-court system is the sheer cost and amount of time it would take for the United States Supreme Court or one governing body to hear and sentence every offence no matter how large or small. Relations between federal and state courts are referred to as judicial federalism. As legally established and commonly understood, judicial federalism denotes a hierarchical arrangement.
The federal Constitution establishes a national court system and stipulates that inconsistencies between federal and state law are to be resolved in favor of the former and that state judges are bound by this principle. Thus state courts must give precedence to federal over state law and interpret federal law in line with current rulings of the Supreme Court. Federal statutes that authorize Supreme Court review of state Supreme Court decisions on federal law as well as statutes that vest lower federal courts with jurisdiction over federal questions formerly adjudicated in state courts are intended to ensure the supremacy of federal law. The Court against strong state court opposition successfully reserved for itself the final authority to determine whether state law comported with the federal Constitution, laws, and treaties.