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Ch 6: The U.S. Court System: Intro to Criminal Justice Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

The U.S. Court System Intro to Criminal Justice chapter of this course is designed to help you plan and teach the facts about the U.S. court system in your classroom. The video lessons, quizzes and transcripts can easily be adapted to provide your lesson plans with engaging and dynamic educational content. Make planning your course easier by using our syllabus as a guide.

Weekly Syllabus

Below is a sample breakdown of the U.S. Court System Intro to Criminal Justice chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.

Day Topics Key Terms and Concepts Covered
Monday American court system History, dual-court system, trial court, jurisdiction, criminal/civil actions, appellate court and Supreme Court
Tuesday Federal court system and the U.S. Supreme Court U.S. District Court, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Supreme Court, original jurisdiction, appellate jurisdiction, justices and writ of certiorari
Wednesday State court system and long arm statute U.S. District Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, superior court, special courts, intermediate court of appeals and minimum contact rule
Thursday Court functions, subject matter jurisdiction and jurisdiction over property Jurisdiction: original, appellate, personal, diversity, federal question, concurrent, rem and quasi in rem
Friday Supreme Court jurisdiction, determination of venue and courtroom participants Limitations on jurisdiction, limited review, bases for venue decisions, juror, lay/expert witnesses, victim, defendant, prosecuting attorney, defense counsel and judge

12 Lessons in Chapter 6: The U.S. Court System: Intro to Criminal Justice Lesson Plans
American Courts: History, Development & The Dual-Court System

1. American Courts: History, Development & The Dual-Court System

In this lesson, you'll consider the history of the court system in the United States and how two distinct parts developed in the early years of the country. You'll learn about debates among legislators and the significant laws they established.

The Court System: Trial, Appellate & Supreme Court

2. The Court System: Trial, Appellate & Supreme Court

There are three separate levels of courts in our legal system, each serving a different function. Trial courts settle disputes as the first court of instance, appellate courts review cases moved up from trial courts and supreme courts hear cases of national importance or those appealed in the court of appeals.

The 3 Levels of the Federal Court System: Structure and Organization

3. The 3 Levels of the Federal Court System: Structure and Organization

The federal court system has three main levels: U.S. District Court, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Each level of court serves a different legal function for both civil and criminal cases.

Overview of the US Supreme Court

4. Overview of the US Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court justices reside over cases involving original jurisdiction under certain circumstances and appellate jurisdiction when a decision from a lower court involving constitutional law is at issue. Appellate cases require a writ of certiorari requesting permission to address this court.

State Court System: Structure & Overview

5. State Court System: Structure & Overview

There is no uniform structure to the State Court System. Each state has its own system but most states operate similarly to the Federal Court System in that there are several levels of courts including trial courts, intermediate appellate courts and supreme courts.

Long Arm Statute: Definition & Example

6. Long Arm Statute: Definition & Example

Long-arm statute refers to the jurisdiction a court has over out-of-state defendant corporations. International Shoe v. State of Washington was a landmark case that set precedent for establishing the right for government to use the long-arm statute to bring an action against a defendant corporation.

Court Functions: Original and Appellate Jurisdiction

7. Court Functions: Original and Appellate Jurisdiction

Courts exercise two types of jurisdiction over cases: original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction for cases previously heard in a lower court. Judges have the option, when hearing an appeals case, to reverse or remand a decision based on a violation of law like abuse of discretion.

Subject Matter Jurisdiction: Federal, State and Concurrent

8. Subject Matter Jurisdiction: Federal, State and Concurrent

One of the ways a court determines whether a case will be heard is based on subject matter jurisdiction. We will explore several factors that determine subject matter jurisdiction in state and federal courts, including concurrent subject matter jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction over Property: Definition & Types

9. Jurisdiction over Property: Definition & Types

In rem and quasi in rem jurisdiction give a court power over property. The court's power over the property can be used as leverage or as a means of satisfying a civil action against a defendant. The conditions that are required determine the court's ability to exercise both types of jurisdiction of property.

What is the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

10. What is the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

The U.S. Supreme Court exercises a right to preside over specific cases and is considered the court of original jurisdiction based on subject-matter jurisdiction. It is considered an appellate court for cases involving constitutional law under certain circumstances.

How Venue is Determined for a Court Case

11. How Venue is Determined for a Court Case

Venue is the location where a civil or criminal case is decided. The venue is decided similarly in civil and criminal trials. However, the venue is decided differently in state and federal courts.

Courtroom Participants: Professional & Non-Professional Members

12. Courtroom Participants: Professional & Non-Professional Members

Learn the roles of the many different people present at a trial who may be part of the courtroom work group. Find out who is considered a professional participant and who are known as the outsiders.

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