Introduction to American Court System
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Introduction to American Court SystemStephanie BusseyAmerican Intercontinental UniversityMay 24, 2017INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN COURT SYSTEM The United States Federal court system has three major levels mainly the district courts, the circuit courts and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal while the district court is the first court of appeal. Federal courts are courts that have limited jurisdiction meaning that they can hear cases authorized by the constitution of United States. The district court is general trial courts that handle both civil and criminal cases. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the American judicial system and has powers to decide appeals on cases brought in the federal court.Appeal process When a party has lost a decision on a trial in the federal court is entitled to an appeal at the federal courts of appeal. The appeals set to the federal courts are decided by a panel of three judges and the appellant presents a legal argument to the court in form of writing known as a brief. There are criminal procedures that safeguards against indiscriminate treatment of suspected criminals. These procedures are meant to enforce constitutional rights on suspected criminals and defendants from the initial police contact, investigation, trials, sentencing and appeals. The constitution of United States has provided criminal procedure in the V, VI, VII and VIII amendments.
The fourth Amendment covers the rights to unreasonable searches and seizures and the warrant paper should have the judicial approval. The Fifth Amendment covers the procedures concerning death penalty and multiple trials regarding similar offence. The Fifth Amendment provides that no one shall be compelled to be a witness against himself or herself. The sixth amendment provides all the procedures required for a fair trial. The eighth amendment provides the procedures against excess fines imposed and unusual punishments inflicted. When a person is charged with a crime, they become a criminal defendant and for the government to convict the person to be guilty of the crime, they should prove beyond reasonable doubt that the suspected criminal is guilty. The first step of prosecution involves arrest by a police officer and collection of the evidence to be used against the criminal defendant in the court of law. While the arrested criminal awaits the first appearance in court the police officers prepare a complaint which is a document that describes the crime committed by the suspected criminal. The first appearance in court is within 24 hours on initial detention before hearing and the charges are set forth in the complaint. If the magistrate finds a probable cause, a bail is set and the defendant will have to meet the bail conditions to be released from custody. The defendant has a number of rights that should not be violated because violation of these rights results to vacation of a conviction on appeal. The constitutional rights of a criminal are namely, the right to the right counsel, the right to public trial, right to trial by jury, right to confront witnesses in court and the privilege against self-incrimination. The United States of America constitution does not guarantee the right to appeal a criminal conviction but most state courts provide the rights against trial court errors. When a criminal is granted an appeal, it is the challenge of the criminal defendant to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the error occurred in the trial.