Alexisandra M. Garland
April 29, 2012
A Court of Law
Modern courts today have a lot to attribute to the early development of the court system and first courts themselves. Discussion here shall be based on how specifically the courts developed, what a court is by definition, what purpose they serve, what a dual court system is, and the effect of early law and precedent on the criminal justice system of today. The importance of comprehending these aspects of the court system lies in understanding the United States government, and in turn better understanding the rights granted to American citizens under the Constitution of the United States of America. Ignorance may be bliss to most, however knowledge is power to all.
Today’s court system that America has been so graciously blessed with while other countries are not so fortunate is directly and entirely attributed to the Founding Fathers upon drafting the Constitution of the United States of America, “the ratification of the United States Constitution ushered in a new system of government” (Yurs, 2011). The criminal court system is provisioned under Article Three of the Constitution and was one of the very first actions of our Founding Fathers, “organized chiefly by the first three articles of the Constitution, a federal government began to take shape” (Yurs, 2011). The first Congress then provisioned the Judiciary Act of 1789, “Article III, which organized the judiciary, remained short and ambiguous. The Founders charged the First Congress with the task of organizing the federal judiciary” (Yurs, 2011). This act detailed the jurisdiction and abilities of the Supreme Court and lower courts.
For all intensive purposes a court can be described as a gathering of one or more magistrates that enact justice based upon current laws and regulations. “The preservation of a separate branch of government that adjudicates actions at law and suits in equity with impartiality and ﬁnality” (Orth, 2009), in this great country they serve a pivotal role in the criminal justice process. Courts are the place where individuals can go when they feel as though they have been wronged or their rights violated. It is also a place where justice is delivered on matters of Constitutional violation such as murder or being withheld freedom of speech. Today’s court system, much as they did in previous decades and generations of Americans, ensures that all Constitutional rights are adhered to. Subsequently this maintains some varying degree of peace in this great country, without them our criminal justice process would be nothing but ineffective chaos and America would no longer be the great democracy that it is known to be, leading to anarchy and disarray.
One great aspect of our amazing court system is the dual court process. This means that state and federal courts are separate and decide on matters of separate content. State courts reserve the right to hear civil and criminal cases based strictly on violations of state laws and state constitutional matters. Whereas federal courts have the ability to hear civil and criminal cases of a Constitutional, federal, or special subject matter such as bankruptcy. This allows for a degree of separation between the two court systems preventing disorganization, overflow of workload on just one court circuit, and having cases heard by the wrong nature of law. Furthermore it also enables magistrates and legal officials to specialize in a particular type of law. Serious issues unable to be adequately handled by the state or federal court systems shall have the opportunity to be heard at the Supreme Court level, “lower court opinions will inﬂuence the content of the Court’s opinions to the extent that the justices perceive that integrating language from lower court opinions will aid them in making efﬁcacious law and policy” (Corley, 2011). Much like with anything else early law had a great impact on the court system of