Main » Tips on Court Records Search » Common Misconception about the US Court System » About the US Court System

About the US Court System

The first thing that comes to our minds when we think about the US Court System is justice. These institutions spanning all over the country have a remarkable history of putting perpetrators to justice. Judiciary in the United States of America is made up of two distinct court systems, the Federal court system and the State court System both working in synchronization with one another. However, each courts jurisdiction is restricted to a certain nature of cases over a limited geographical area. Citizens may sometimes ponder over the need of two court systems in a single unified country. This is so because the United States of America has in place a form of government structure known as federalism. Federalism requires division of powers between the national government and the state government. Hence the two court system, one for the center and another one for each of the 50 states

The total number of city courts in the country stands at 94. The city courts are the general trial courts for different cities In America. They have the authority and power to deal with both criminal and civil cases. In the US legislature hierarchy, city courts lie at the bottom. Most legal disputes start off at the city courts before moving up the judiciary ladder. Unlike the United States Supreme Court that was established by Article-III of the constitution the city courts were established by the congress. Sometimes people tend to neglect the volume of work city courts do. To give you a rough estimate, government's court repository indicate city courts disposing off approximately 43,000 cases in the year 2008 alone.

There is a well defined hierarchy that exists in the US Court system. A court decision is open for challenge in the next level higher court as defined by the country's constitution. However the Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the United States and its decision on any matter is usually deemed as the final verdict. Thus we can refer to the Supreme Court as the decision court.

A court docket is used to refer to a schedule of proceedings in cases pending in a US court. It is basically a computerized record database of occurrences and evidences pertaining to all cases in that particular court as recorded by the court clerk. The PACER system makes all such docket court records available online to the public.

The judge of the court is the ultimate decision maker who reads out the final verdict. In some cases he is influenced by the jury, a group of law abiding members who provide their individual judgments to the judge and based on these judgments the judge makes his final decision. In a judge court he is the ultimate authority.

This court deals with several legal issues ranging from bankruptcy to serious cases like treason and espionage, at the federal and state level. This division of the US court system into two has resulted in some common misconceptions about court domain and jurisdiction among the general public. If we put it simply the federal system has authority over court cases which result as a gross violation of a constitutional law. An example would be bankruptcy that is governed by constitutional laws. On the other hand the US state courts deal with those cases about which the constitution gives no power to the federal government. Family dispute cases fall into this category. One more thing about court that you should always remember is that most court records are publicly available for verification.

A police court has jurisdiction over minor offenses such as violation of traffic rules, petty thefts and minor assaults. The purpose of creating this court was to ease the burden of higher courts.Examples about the US Court System are cited in other countries because of its efficiency in dealing with even the most complex of lawsuits.