Structure of the State Courts | Basics of Court Group | April 25, 2016

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Structure of the State Courts

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The Constitution and laws of each state create parameters for the state courts.

The Supreme Court is the highest court. Some states have an intermediate Court of Appeals, and below these, are state trial courts, otherwise known as Circuit or District Courts. Most states have a multileveled structure, while eight states have a two-tiered system that consist of a trial court and a supreme court.

Specific legal matters are delegated to the appropriate court — for example:

  • Probate court (wills and estates)
  • Juvenile court
  • Family court

Appeals

Parties dissatisfied with the decision of the immediate trial court may take their case to the intermediate Court of Appeals. Parties are able to ask the highest state court to consider their case. However, only certain cases will be heard by the Supreme Court.

Judges

In the Federal court, judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. State court judges are selected by election and appointed for a certain period, usually 6 to 10 years.

Types of Cases

  • Most criminal cases: probate (involving wills and estates)
  • Most contract cases, tort cases (personal injuries), family law (marriages, divorces, adoptions, etc

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April 25, 2016

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