State court (United States)

In the United States, a state court has jurisdiction over disputes with some connection to a U.S. state. State courts handle the vast majority of civil and criminal cases in the United States; the much smaller in case load and personnel, United States federal courts, handle different types of cases.

Generally, state courts are common law courts, and apply their respective state laws and procedures to decide cases. They are organized pursuant to and apply the law in accordance with their state's constitution, state statutes, and binding decisions of courts in their state court hierarchy. Where applicable, they also apply federal law. Generally, a single judicial officer, usually called a judge, exercises original jurisdiction by presiding over contested criminal or civil actions which culminate in trials, although most matters stop short of reaching trial. The decisions of lower courts may be reviewed by a panel of a state court of appeals. Generally, there is also a highest court for appeals, a state supreme court, that oversees the court system. In matters that involve issues of federal law, the final decision of the state's highest court (including refusals to hear final appeals) may be appealed to the United States Supreme Court (which also has the discretion to refuse to hear them).

Types of state courts

Cases in state courts begin in a trial court where lawsuits and criminal cases are filed and evidence is eventually presented if a case proceeds to a hearing or trial. Trials in these courts are often held only after extensive pre-trial procedures that in more than 90% of cases lead to a default judgment in a civil case, an agreed resolution settling the case or plea bargain resolving a criminal case, or pre-trial resolution of the case by a judge either on the merits or on procedural grounds. Territory outside of any state in the United States, such as the District of Columbia or American Samoa, often has a court system established under federal or territorial law which substitutes for a state court system and is distinct from the ordinary federal court system.

State trial courts are usually located in a courthouse, which is often in the county seat. Even when state trial courts include more than one county in a judicial district, it isn't uncommon for the state trial court to hold regular sessions at each county seat in its jurisdiction and function from the point of view of litigants as if it were a county-based court.

If one of the litigants is unsatisfied with the decision of the lower court, the matter may be taken up on appeal (but an acquittal in a criminal trial may not be appealed by the state due to the Fifth Amendment protection against double jeopardy). Usually, an intermediate appellate court, if there is one in that state, often called the state court of appeals, will review the decision of the trial court. If still unsatisfied, the litigant can appeal to the highest appellate court in the state, which is usually called the state supreme court and is usually located in or near the state capital. Appellate courts in the United States, unlike their civil law counterparts, are generally not permitted to correct mistakes concerning the facts of the case on appeal, only mistakes of law, or findings of fact with no support in the trial court record.

Many states have courts of limited jurisdiction (inferior jurisdiction), presided over by, for example, a magistrate or justice of the peace who hears criminal arraignments and tries petty offenses and small civil cases. Appeals from courts of limited jurisdiction are frequently sent to state trial courts of general jurisdiction rather than to an appellate court.

Larger cities often have city courts (also known as municipal courts) which hear traffic offenses and violations of city ordinances; in some states, such as New York, these courts also have broader jurisdictions as inferior jurisdiction courts and can handle small civil claims and misdemeanors. Other courts of limited jurisdiction include alderman's courts, police court, mayor's courts, recorder's courts, county courts, probate courts, municipal courts, juvenile courts, courts of claims, courts of common pleas, family courts, small claims courts, tax courts, water courts (present in some western states such as Colorado and Montana), and workers' compensation courts. Many states follow the federal government practice of having one or more separate systems of administrative law judges in the executive branch in addition to judicial branch judges, for example, to handle driver's license revocations, unemployment insurance claims, or land use disputes.

All these courts are distinguished from courts of general jurisdiction (also known as "superior jurisdiction"), which are the default type of trial court that can hear any case which is not required to be first heard in a court of limited jurisdiction. Most such cases are civil cases involving large sums of money or criminal trials arising from serious crimes like rape and murder. Typically, felonies are handled in general jurisdiction courts, while misdemeanors and other lesser offenses are handled in inferior jurisdiction courts. Unlike most European courts (in both common law and civil law countries), American state courts do not usually have a separate court that handles serious crimes; jurisdiction lies with the court that handles all other felony cases in a given county. But, many state courts that handle criminal cases have separate divisions or judges assigned to handle certain types of crimes such as a drug court, sometimes also known as a "problem-solving court".

A few states like California have unified all courts of general and inferior jurisdiction to make the judicial process more efficient. In such judicial systems, there are still departments of limited jurisdiction within the trial courts, and often these departments occupy exactly the same facilities they once occupied as independent courts of limited jurisdiction. However, as mere administrative divisions, departments can be rearranged at the discretion of each trial court's presiding judge in response to changing caseloads.

State court judges

Unlike federal courts, where judges are presidential appointees confirmed by the U.S. Senate serving life terms of office, the vast majority of states have some judges who are elected, and the methods of appointment for appointed judges vary widely. State court judges are usually distinguished attorneys who have had some political involvement, who are pursuing second careers on the bench. But a small number of state court judges, particularly in limited jurisdiction trial courts in rural areas or small towns, are non-lawyers, who are often elected to their posts.

A disproportionate share of state court judges previously served as prosecutors, or less commonly as criminal defense attorneys or trial lawyers, although no particular background as an attorney is required to serve as a judge. The judiciary is not a separate profession in the American legal system as it is in many civil law jurisdictions. While in many civil law jurisdictions a common judicial career involves an entry level assignment in an inferior court followed by promotions to more senior courts over the course of a career, no U.S. court system makes experienced in an inferior judicial position a pre-requisite to higher judicial office.

While many countries consider criminal prosecutors to be part of the judicial branch, in the United States, all criminal prosecutors are considered part of the executive branch. The fact that all attorneys admitted to the practice of law are somewhat confusingly called "officers of the court" in U.S. legal practice is a legal fiction that calls attention to the special professional ethical obligations that all lawyers have to the court, and does not mean that all lawyers are employees or agents of the judicial branch.

State court judges are typically paid less, have smaller staffs, and handle larger caseloads than their counterparts in the federal judiciary.

Differences among the states

  • Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Tennessee make a distinction between a "court of law" and a "court of equity" (chancery court). For the most part in the American legal system, while the distinction between law and equity still has some legal consequences, separate court systems are not maintained at the federal level or in other states.
  • Texas and Oklahoma have separate courts of last resort for criminal cases and other cases. In all other states, there is a single court of last resort. While collateral attacks on criminal convictions, such as state level habeas corpus petitions, are usually considered to be technically civil cases, because they are not brought by a prosecutor and do not seek to convict someone of a crime, these suits are, in both states, appealed to the criminal court of last resort, rather than the civil court of last resort.
  • The highest appellate court in Maryland and New York, and the only appellate court in the District of Columbia, is called Court of Appeals rather than "Supreme Court." In New York, the Supreme Court is the primary county trial court, not an appellate court.
  • The courts of Louisiana and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are organized under a civil law model with significantly different procedures from those of the courts in all other states and the District of Columbia, which are based upon the traditions of the common law of England. The court process used in these jurisdictions differs considerably from that used in the federal courts and the courts of other states in non-criminal cases. However, the U.S. Constitution requires these jurisdictions to use procedures similar to those of other U.S. jurisdictions in criminal cases.
  • The courts of one state are generally not required to follow the decisions of the courts of another state, but in the common law legal system it is customary for the courts of one state to look to decisions of other states as persuasive statements of what the law should be in the state making the decision, where express statutory provisions or prior precedent in that state do not control.
  • Many states lack an intermediate appellate court. In those states, litigants in general jurisdiction courts usually have the right to appeal their cases directly to the state supreme court. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that appeal is not a federal constitutional right, meaning that states are not obligated to provide it. In three states, New Hampshire, Virginia, and West Virginia, one can only petition the state supreme court for a first appeal, and the state supreme court can reject the petition and never decide the appeal on the merits. While Virginia has an intermediate appellate court, that court has narrowly defined jurisdiction, and even within that jurisdiction, not all appeals are by right.[1] Many states have rules that permit certain cases such as death penalty cases and election cases to be appealed directly to the state supreme court, even though most civil cases must be appealed first to an intermediate appellate court.
  • One major difference is whether states conceptualize of their trial court of general jurisdiction as a single unified state court that merely happens to sit in particular counties or districts, or as a set of separate and coequal state courts, one for each county or district. The most extreme exponent of the first position is New York, which has a single Supreme Court that sits as a trial court with general jurisdiction throughout the entire state.[2] The most extreme exponent of the second position is Texas, where each trial court is constituted as a legally distinct entity with a single judge.[3] Thus, an urban courthouse in Texas normally houses multiple single-judge trial courts sharing concurrent jurisdiction over the same county.[3]
  • In Utah, civil cases are appealed directly to the state supreme court, which then has the power to refer the case instead to an intermediate appellate court, rather than being appealed first to an intermediate appellate court and then to a state supreme court. Oklahoma has a similar structure: civil cases are appealed directly to the Supreme Court, which can refer them down to the Courts of Civil Appeals. (Criminal cases are appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals and there is no intermediate court for such cases).

Nature of matters handled in state courts

Civil cases

The vast majority of non-criminal cases in the United States are handled in state courts, rather than federal courts. For example, in Colorado, roughly 97% of all civil cases were filed in state courts and 89% of the civil cases filed in federal court were bankruptcies in 2002, a typical year. Just 0.3% of the non-bankruptcy civil cases in the state were filed in federal court.

A large share of all civil cases filed in state courts are debt collection cases. For example, in Colorado in 2002, about 87% of all civil cases filed in the courts of inferior jurisdiction were debt collection and eviction cases, while in the court of general jurisdiction, about 60% of all civil cases (other than domestic relations and probate cases) were debt collection, foreclosure, and tax collection cases. A large share of the balance of civil cases in courts of limited jurisdiction involve temporary restraining orders, typically in non-marital domestic relations contexts, and name change petitions (generally for marriage, divorce or child custody reasons). A large share of the balance of civil cases in courts of general jurisdiction involve divorces, child custody disputes, child abuse cases, uncontested probate administrations, and personal injury cases that do not involve workplace injuries (which are usually handled through a non-judicial workers compensation process).

Many state court civil cases produce quick default judgments or pretrial settlements, but even considering only cases that actually go to trial, state courts are the dominant forum for civil cases. In Colorado, in 2002, there were 79 civil trials in federal court (41 jury and 38 non-jury), and 5950 civil trials in state court (300 jury and 5650 non-jury).[4][5] Essentially all probate and divorce cases are also brought in state court, even if the parties involved live in different states. In practice, almost all real property evictions and foreclosures are handled in state court.

State courts systems always contain some courts of "general jurisdiction". All disputes which are capable of being brought in courts, arising under either state or federal law may be brought in one of the state courts, except in a few narrow case where federal law specifically limits jurisdiction exclusively to the federal courts. Some of the most notable cases exclusively in federal jurisdiction are suits between state governments, suits involving ambassadors, certain intellectual property cases, federal criminal cases, bankruptcy cases, large interstate class action cases, and most securities fraud class actions. There are also a handful of federal laws under which lawsuits can be pursued only in state court, such as those arising under the federal "junk fax" law.[6] There have been times in U.S. history where almost all small claims, even if they arose under federal law, were required to be brought in state courts.

State court systems usually have expedited procedures for civil disputes involving small dollar amounts (typically under $5,000 to $25,000 depending upon the state court in question), most of which involve collection of small contractual debts (such as unpaid credit cards) and landlord-tenant matters. Many states have small claims divisions where all parties proceed in civil cases without lawyers, often before a magistrate or justice of the peace. Federal courts do not have parallel small claims procedures and apply the same civil rules to all civil cases, which makes federal court an expensive venue for a private party to pursue a claim for a small dollar amount.

Unlike state courts, federal courts are courts of "limited jurisdiction", that can only hear the types of cases specified in the Constitution and federal statutes (primarily federal crimes, cases arising under federal law, cases with a United States government party, and cases involving a diversity of citizenship between the parties).

Often, a plaintiff can bring a matter either to state court or to federal court, because it arises under federal law, or involves a substantial monetary dispute (in excess of $75,000 as of October 26, 2007) arising under state law between parties that do not reside in the same state. If a plaintiff files suit in state court in such a case, the defendant can remove the case to federal court.

There is no federal constitutional right to a trial by jury in a state civil case under the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, and not all states preserve a right to a civil jury in either their state constitution or state statutes. In practice, however, civil jury trials are available, generally on a similar basis to their availability in federal court, in every state except Louisiana. In these states, there is a general right to a jury trial in cases that would arise at law in colonial England, which generally includes most cases seeking simple money damages and no other relief. In practice, about three-quarters of all civil jury trials involved personal injury cases, and most of the rest involve breaches of contracts. In states where a state constitution provides for a right to a jury trial, or a right to open courts, this has sometimes been interpreted to confer not only a procedural right to a certain type of trial, but also a substantive right to have redress through the courts for the kinds of injuries that were compensable at common law.

Prior to trial, most proceedings in non-criminal courts are conducted via papers filed in the court, often through lawyers. In limited jurisdiction courts, it is not uncommon for an initial appearance to be made in person at which a settlement is often reached. In general jurisdiction state courts, it is not uncommon for all pre-trial matters to be conducted outside the court, with attorneys negotiating scheduling matters, pre-trial examinations of witnesses taking place in lawyer's office through depositions, and a settlement conference conducted by a private mediator at the mediator's office.

Criminal cases

About 91% of people in prison at any given time in the United States were convicted in state court for violating state criminal laws, rather than in federal court for violating federal criminal laws, including 99% of defendants sentenced to death.[7]

The proportion of criminal cases brought in state court rather than federal court is higher than 91% because misdemeanor and petty offense prosecutions are disproportionately brought in state courts and most criminal prosecutions involve misdemeanors and petty offenses. The number of trials conducted in each system is another way to illustrate the relative size of the two criminal justice systems. In Colorado, in 2002, there were approximately 40 criminal trials in federal court, and there were 1,898 criminal trials (excluding hundreds of quasi-criminal trials in juvenile cases, municipal cases and infraction cases) in state courts, so only about 2% of criminal trials took place in federal court. Most jury trials in the United States (roughly five out of six jury trials conducted in any U.S. Court) take place in criminal cases in state courts.

State courts do not have jurisdiction over criminal cases arising on Indian reservations even if those reservations are located in their state. Less serious crimes on Indian reservations are prosecuted in tribal courts. A large share of violent crimes that are prosecuted in federal court arise on Indian reservations or federal property, where state courts lack jurisdiction, since tribal court jurisdiction is usually limited to less serious offenses. Federal crimes on federal property in a state are often defined with reference to state criminal law.

Federal courts disproportionately handle white-collar crimes, immigration-related crimes and drug offenses (these crimes make up about 70% of the federal docket, but just 19% of the state court criminal docket).[4][5] Federal courts have the power to bring death penalty charges under federal law, even if they arise in states where there is no death penalty under state law, but the federal government rarely utilizes this right.

Many rights of criminal defendants in state courts arise under federal law, but federal courts only examine if the state courts applied those federal rights correctly on a direct appeal from the conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, after state court direct appeals have been exhausted, or in a collateral attack on a conviction in a habeas corpus proceeding after all state court remedies (usually including a state court habeas corpus proceeding) have been exhausted. Some rights of criminal defendants that apply in federal court do not exist in state court. For example, in many states there is no constitutional right to be indicted by a grand jury before facing a criminal prosecution for a felony or infamous misdemeanor. Two states (Louisiana and Oregon) do not require unanimous juries in non-capital criminal cases.

Unlike non-criminal cases, criminal proceedings in state courts are primarily conducted orally, in person, in open court.


In most, but not all states (California and New York are significant exceptions), the state supreme court or a related administrative body has the power to write the rules of procedure that govern the courts through a rule-making process. In a minority of the states, criminal and civil procedure are largely governed by state statutes.

Most states model their general jurisdiction trial court rules closely upon the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure with modifications to address types of cases that come up only in state practice (like traffic violations), and model their professional ethics rules closely upon models drafted by the American Bar Association with minor modifications. A minority of states, however, have idiosyncratic procedural rules, often based on the Field Code in place in many states before the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were adopted. Importantly, neither California nor New York state follow federal models.

Typically, state trial courts of limited jurisdiction have generally similar rules to state trial courts of general jurisdiction, but are stripped of rules applicable to special cases like class actions and many pretrial procedures (such as out-of-court discovery in the absence of a court order).

Most state supreme courts also have general supervisory authority over the state court system. In this capacity they are responsible, for example, for making budget requests and administrative management decisions for the court system as a whole. In most states, such administrative authority has been transferred or delegated to a state judicial council which includes members of lower courts.

State court regulation of lawyers

All state supreme courts are the de jure primary regulatory body for all lawyers in their state and determine who can practice law and when lawyers are sanctioned for violations of professional ethical rules, which are generally also put in place as state court rules. In all states, such powers have been delegated either to the state bar association or various committees, commissions, or offices directly responsible to the state supreme court. The result is that such subordinate entities generally have original jurisdiction over lawyer admissions and discipline, nearly all de facto lawyer regulation takes place through such entities, and the state supreme court becomes directly involved only when petitioned to not ratify the decisions made by some subordinate entity in its name.

Relationship to federal courts

Although the United States Constitution and federal laws override state laws where there is a conflict between federal and state law, state courts are not subordinate to federal courts. Rather, as instruments of separate sovereigns (under the U.S. system of dual sovereignty), they are two parallel sets of courts with different but often overlapping jurisdiction.

As the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins (1938), no part of the federal Constitution actually grants federal courts the power to directly decide the content of state law. Clause 1 of Section 2 of Article Three of the United States Constitution describes the scope of federal judicial power, but only extended it to "the Laws of the United States" and not the laws of the several or individual states.

The U.S. Supreme Court can but is not required to review final decisions of state courts, after a party exhausts all remedies up to a request for relief from the state's highest appellate court, if the Court believes that the case involves an important question of federal law. Because of the aforementioned silence in the Constitution (as well as Section 25 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 and successor sections), the Court cannot and never reviews decisions of state courts that depend entirely on the resolution of a state law issue; there must be an issue of federal law (such as the federal constitutional right to due process) implicit in the state case before the Court will even agree to hear it. Since there really is no such issue in the vast majority of state cases, the decision of the state supreme court in such cases is effectively final, as any petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court will be summarily denied without comment.


The following table notes the names of the courts in the states and territories of the United States. Listed are the principal courts of first instance (general jurisdiction), the principal intermediate appellate courts, and the courts of final appeal or resort.

In some cases where courts are generally assigned to counties, the number of county-based courts does not exactly match the number of actual counties in the state. This happens when a single court has jurisdiction over more than one county.

State Court of first instance (general jurisdiction trial courts) Intermediate appellate court Court of last resort
(State supreme court)
Alabama Circuit Court (41 judicial districts) Court of Civil Appeals
Court of Criminal Appeals
Supreme Court
Alaska Superior Court (4 districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Arizona Superior Court (15 counties) Court of Appeals (2 divisions) Supreme Court
Arkansas Circuit Court (23 judicial circuits) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
California Superior Court (58 counties) Courts of Appeal (6 appellate districts) Supreme Court
Colorado District Court (22 judicial districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Connecticut Superior Court (13 judicial districts) Appellate Court Supreme Court
Delaware Superior Court
Court of Chancery
(none) Supreme Court
District of Columbia Superior Court (none) Court of Appeals
Florida Circuit Court (20 judicial circuits) District Court of Appeal (5 districts) Supreme Court
Georgia Superior Court (49 judicial circuits) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Hawaii Circuit Court (4 circuits) Intermediate Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Idaho District Court (7 judicial districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Illinois Circuit Court (23 judicial circuits) Appellate Court (5 districts) Supreme Court
Indiana Trial Court (26 districts) Court of Appeals (5 districts) Supreme Court
Iowa District Court (8 districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Kansas District Court (31 districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Kentucky Circuit Court (57 circuits) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Louisiana District Court (40 districts) Circuit Courts of Appeal (5 circuits) Supreme Court
Maine Superior Court (none) Supreme Judicial Court
Maryland Circuit Court (8 judicial circuits) Court of Special Appeals Court of Appeals
Massachusetts Superior Court (14 divisions) Appeals Court Supreme Judicial Court
Michigan Circuit Court (57 circuits) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Minnesota District Court (10 districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Mississippi Circuit Court (22 districts)
Chancery Court (20 districts)
Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Missouri Circuit Court (45 circuits) Court of Appeals (3 districts) Supreme Court
Montana District Court (22 judicial districts) (none) Supreme Court
Nebraska District Court (12 districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Nevada District Court (10[8] districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
New Hampshire Superior Court (none) Supreme Court
New Jersey Superior Court (15 vicinages) Superior Court, Appellate Division Supreme Court
New Mexico District Court (13 judicial districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
New York Supreme Court (12 judicial districts)
County Court (57 counties)
Supreme Court, Appellate Division (4 departments) Court of Appeals
North Carolina Superior Court (46 districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
North Dakota District Court (7 judicial districts) (none) Supreme Court
Ohio Court of Common Pleas (88 counties) District Court of Appeals (12 districts) Supreme Court
Oklahoma District Court (26 judicial districts) Court of Civil Appeals Supreme Court
Court of Criminal Appeals
Oregon Circuit Court (27 judicial districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas (60 judicial districts) Commonwealth Court
Superior Court
Supreme Court
Rhode Island Superior Court (none) Supreme Court
South Carolina Circuit Court (16 circuits) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
South Dakota Circuit Court (7 circuits) (none) Supreme Court
Tennessee Circuit Court (31 judicial districts)
Criminal Court (31 judicial districts)
Chancery Court (31 judicial districts)
Court of Appeals (3 grand divisions)
Court of Criminal Appeals (3 grand divisions)
Supreme Court
Texas District Court (457 districts[9]) Court of Appeals (14 districts) Supreme Court
Court of Criminal Appeals
Utah District Court (8 districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Vermont Superior Court
District Court
Family Court
(none) Supreme Court
Virginia Circuit Court (31 judicial circuits) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
Washington Superior Court (39 counties) Court of Appeals (3 divisions) Supreme Court
West Virginia Circuit Court (31 judicial circuits) (none) Supreme Court of Appeals
Wisconsin Circuit Court (10 judicial administrative districts) Court of Appeals (4 districts) Supreme Court
Wyoming District Court (9 districts) (none) Supreme Court
American Samoa High Court, Trial Division (none) High Court, Appellate Division
Guam Superior Court (none) Supreme Court
Northern Mariana Islands Superior Court (none) Supreme Court
Puerto Rico Superior Court (13 districts) Court of Appeals Supreme Court
U.S. Virgin Islands Superior Court (2 divisions) (none) Supreme Court

See also


  1. ^ "The Court of Appeals of Virginia" (PDF). Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  2. ^ Schneider v. Aulisi, 307 N.Y. 376, 384, 121 N.E.2d 375 (1954).
  3. ^ a b Clarence A. Guittard, Court Reform, Texas Style, 21 Sw. L. J. 451, 455-480 (1967). Available through HeinOnline.
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-05-01. Retrieved 2006-04-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-04-18. Retrieved 2006-04-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ See Telephone Consumer Protection Act (Act), 47 U.S.C.S. § 227 (the "junk fax" law); Consumer Crusade, Inc. v. Affordable Health Care Solutions, Inc., 121 P.3d 350 (Colo. App. 2005)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-02. Retrieved 2007-10-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-18. Retrieved 2014-05-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^

External links and references

Appellate Division

Appellate Division may refer to:

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Court of appeals (disambiguation)

A court of appeals is an appellate court generally.

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District Judge

District Judge may refer to:

A United States federal judge, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate

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Judiciary of England and Wales#District judges

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Federal tribunals in the United States

Federal tribunals in the United States are those tribunals established by the federal government of the United States for the purpose of deciding the constitutionality of federal laws and for resolving other disputes about federal laws. They include both Article III tribunals (federal courts) as well as adjudicative entities which are classified as Article I or Article IV tribunals. Some of the latter entities are also formally denominated as courts, but they do not enjoy certain protections afforded to Article III courts. These tribunals are described in reference to the article of the United States Constitution from which the tribunal's authority stems. The use of the term "tribunal" in this context as a blanket term to encompass both courts and other adjudicative entities comes from section 8 of Article I of the Constitution, which expressly grants Congress the power to constitute tribunals inferior to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Franklin Bechly

Franklin Bechly (1873-1965) was Iowa 6th District Judge from 1927 to 1959. Judge Bechly presided during the 1938 Maytag Corporation labor dispute. The strike by UE Local 1116 was a test of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 against the back-to-work movement of the Maytag Corporation. The Governor of Iowa declared martial law in Newton, Iowa to break the strike, and Judge Bechly continued to preside until agreements were reached and martial law was lifted.

List of Alpha Kappa Alpha sisters

This list of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorors (commonly referred to as AKAs) includes initiated and honorary members of Alpha Kappa Alpha (ΑΚΑ), the first inter-collegiate Greek-letter sorority established for Black college women.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., by nine women who were known as The Original Group of 1908, and seven sophomores, who were accepted as honor initiates and are known as The Sophomores of 1910.Alpha Kappa Alpha has a membership of more than 200,000 women in over 950 chapters in the United States and several other countries. Membership is extended to female college undergraduate and graduate students. The sorority also bestows honorary membership as its highest honor.

List of courts of the United States

The courts of the United States are closely linked hierarchical systems of courts at the federal and state levels. The federal courts form the judicial branch of the federal government of the United States and operate under the authority of the United States Constitution and federal law. The state and territorial courts of the individual U.S. states and territories operate under the authority of the state and territorial constitutions and state and territorial law.

Federal statutes that refer to the "courts of the United States" are referring only to the courts of the federal government, and not the courts of the individual states and counties. Because of the federalist underpinnings of the division between sovereign federal and state governments, the various state court systems are free to operate in ways that vary widely from those of the federal government, and from one another. In practice, however, every state has adopted a division of its judiciary into at least two levels, and almost every state has three levels, with trial courts hearing cases which may be reviewed by appellate courts, and finally by a state supreme court. A few states have two separate supreme courts, with one having authority over civil matters and the other reviewing criminal cases. 47 states and the federal government allow at least one appeal of right from a final judgment on the merits, meaning that the court receiving the appeal must decide the appeal after it is briefed and argued properly. Three states do not provide a right to a first appeal. Rather, they give litigants only a right to petition for the right to have an appeal heard.

State courts often have diverse names and structures, as illustrated below. State courts hear about 98% of litigation; most states have courts of special jurisdiction, which typically handle minor disputes such as traffic citations, and courts of general jurisdiction responsible for more serious disputes.The U.S. federal court system hears cases involving litigants from two or more states, violations of federal laws, treaties, and the Constitution, admiralty, bankruptcy, and related issues. In practice, about 80% of the cases are civil and 20% criminal. The civil cases often involve civil rights, patents, and Social Security while the criminal cases involve tax fraud, robbery, counterfeiting, and drug crimes. The trial courts are U.S. district courts, followed by United States courts of appeals and then the Supreme Court of the United States. The judicial system, whether state or federal, begins with a court of first instance, whose work may be reviewed by an appellate court, and then ends at the court of last resort, which may review the work of the lower courts.Institutions which may be considered courts of the United States are listed below.

State constitutional officer

In the United States, each state and territory has constitutional officers who lead the state governments of the United States. These officers may be elected or appointed, depending on the position. The number and powers of state constitutional officers varies from state to state, based on the constitution and statutes of each state. State constitutional officers may reside in the executive or legislative branch, while state constitutions also establish the judicial system of the state, including state supreme courts.

State court

Two English-speaking federations use the phrase "state court" to describe courts operated by their constituent states:

State court (United States)

State court (Australia)Two non-English-speaking federations have similar courts whose names can be translated into English as "state court":

Landesgericht (Germany)

Judiciary of Brazil#State-level judiciary

Supreme Court of Puerto Rico

The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico —Spanish: Tribunal Supremo de Puerto Rico (TSPR)— is the highest court of Puerto Rico, having judicial authority to interpret and decide questions of Puerto Rican law. The Court is analogous to one of the state supreme courts of the states of the United States; being the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico the highest state court and the court of last resort in Puerto Rico. Article V of the Constitution of Puerto Rico vests the judicial power in the Supreme Court—which by its nature forms the judicial branch of the government of Puerto Rico. The Supreme Court holds its sessions in San Juan.

Tax court

Tax courts are courts of limited jurisdiction that deal with tax issues.

Notable examples include:

United States Tax Court, a United States federal court

List of Judges of the United States Tax Court

Uniformity and jurisdiction in U.S. federal court tax decisions

State court (United States)

Oregon Tax Court of the Oregon Judicial Department

Hawaii Tax Appeal Court of the Hawai'i State Judiciary

Indiana Tax Court

Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board

Minnesota Tax Court

New Jersey Tax Court

Tax Court of Canada

Tax Court of Canada Act

EFTA Court

Philippine Court of Tax Appeals

Constitutional law
and legislation
Courts of the
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Types of law
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