Business LawEssential Standard 1.00Objective 1.02 Understand Court Systems and Trial Procedures
Federal Courts • U. S. Supreme Court: Has both original and appellate jurisdiction. • U. S. Court of Appeals: Has appellate jurisdiction over the district courts. • U. S. District Courts: The lowest level of Federal court with general jurisdiction. US District courts have original jurisdiction over most federal court cases.
N. C. State Courts • N. C. Supreme Court: State’s highest court. Questions the law. • N. C. Court of Appeals: Intermediate appellate court that decides only questions of law. • N. C. Superior Court:made up of two divisions: Superior and District Court.
N. C. State Courts (continued) N. C. District Court Hold trials to determine the facts of cases. Divided into: • Magistrates’ Court • Civil Court • Criminal Court • Juvenile Court
Trial Procedures: Criminal Cases • Arrest A person who has allegedly committed a felony offense or a serious misdemeanor offense that does not meet the requirements for a person to be released on a signature summons. • Initial Bail The magistrate sets an initial bail-bond amount in order for the person charged to be releasedafter the arrested person is taken before a magistrate. • Arraignment/Initial Hearing The charged person is brought before a judge to determine probable cause and set any bail requirements. • Grand JuryPanel of 18 randomly selected citizensfor a trial to determine if probable cause exists for the case to go to trial.
Trial Procedures: Civil Cases • Complainant (Plaintiff): person or entity bringing or filing the lawsuit • Defendant: person or entity against which the lawsuit is brought • Complaint: initial pleading by which a lawsuit is begun • Answer: response to a civil complaint • Summons: official notice of the lawsuit that is issued by the Clerk of Court • Pleadings: papers requesting something or responding to a request that are filed in the case, including the complaint and answer
Steps to a Trial (Criminal and Civil) • Jury Selection • Voir dire: attorneys for both prosecution (plaintiff if civil) are allowed to strike a specific number of jurors without justification. • Opening Statement: Given at the beginning of the trial. Sets the basic scene for the jurors by outlining facts and introduce them to the core dispute(s) in the case. • Testimony Declaration by a witness under oath. • Evidence Presentation: Items that can corroborate or refute the testimony of other witnesses. • Closing Arguments: Used to persuade jurors to adopt an interpretation favorable to each sides position. • Jury Instructions: Given by the trial judge that state what the defendant can be found guilty of and what the prosecution or plaintiff has to prove in order for a guilty verdict.
Steps to a Trial (Criminal and Civil) • Jury Deliberation: Jury is charged to find the defendant guilty or not guilty: • by all 12 members in criminal cases • by the majority of the jurors in a civil trial • Verdict/Sentence • In a criminal trial, the jury must make a decision beyond a reasonable doubt • In a civil trial, the jury must make a decision by a preponderance of the evidence. It is sometimes called a judgment in civil trial.