Court Systems History, Structure, and Philosophy

Court Systems: History, Structure, and Philosophy



1 March 2016

Instructors Name

Describe a court and its purpose

A court is a unit or agency of the legal branch of government, established or authorized by constitution or statute, and involving of one or more judicial officers, which has the power to decide upon cases, disputed information of fact brought before the court and agreements in law.

Define the dual court system

The dual court system consists of the Federal courts system and the State court system. court system in the United States, judicial branches of the federal and state governments charged with the application and interpretation of the law. The U.S. court system is divided into two administratively separate systems, the federal and the state, each of which is independent of the executive and legislative branches of government. Such a dual court system is a heritage of the colonial period. By the time the U.S. Constitution had first mandated (1789) the establishment of a federal judiciary, each of the original Thirteen Colonies already had its own comprehensive court system based on the English model. Thus, the two systems grew side by side and came to exercise exclusive jurisdiction in some areas and overlapping, or concurrent, jurisdiction in others. State courts are courts of “general jurisdiction”“general jurisdiction”. They hear all the cases not specifically selected for federal courts. Just as the federal courts interpret federal laws, state courts interpret state laws. Each state gets to make and interpret its own laws. This helps the states retain power, and makes sure that the national government does not become too strong.

Describe the role that early legal codes, the common law, and precedent played in the development of courts

Identify the role of courts in criminal justice today

The criminal justice system in the U.S. serves three primary purposes. The criminal justice system exists to investigate, prosecute and punish crimes. In each state, and in the federal system, two separate codes guide the operation of the criminal justice system. These are the codes of criminal law and the codes of criminal procedure. A code of criminal law establishes what constitutes crimes in certain jurisdictions. A code of criminal procedure establishes the manner in which an alleged criminal offender is prosecuted for a crime and sentenced to a punishment if convicted.


court system in the United States. (2012). Retrieved from

State Courts vs. Federal Courts. (2015). Retrieved from

The Role of the Criminal Justice System . (n.d.). Retrieved from


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Student’s signature (name typed here is equivalent to a signature):

Steven C.Roberts