Thursday, June 22, 2023

Judge Charles Burns Provides an Introduction to District Courts



The federal court system in the United State is divided into three main levels. First are the district or trial courts, then the circuit courts, and ultimately the Supreme Court. District courts have original jurisdiction, which means that they preside over cases first. There are 94 district courts in the country and they hear both civil and criminal cases. As per Judge Charles Burns, preliminary criminal matters such as setting bail and issuing search warrants are usually handled at district courts.

Judge Charles Burns offers an insight into how the district courts in the US work

The United States has both a state and federal court system. These systems have different jurisdictions, which implies that they are allowed to hear different types of cases. Federal courts largely have jurisdiction in cases that deal with the laws, treaties, or the constitution of the United States. It also handles cases related to ambassadors and public ministers, and issues that involve two or more states. On the other hand, state courts are the ones most likely to hear cases associated with family disputes, estates, wills, and contracts. Very often, the jurisdiction of a federal district court overlaps with the jurisdiction of the corresponding state court. In such instances, the plaintiff can choose to bring their case in either of the courts, but the defendant may “remove” the case from state to federal court. If the plaintiff believes that removal was not proper, they can always ask the district court to “remand” the case back to the state court.

District courts are essentially the lowest level of the federal court system. They are trial courts. This means that these courts are responsible for hearing a case for the first time in the court system and then deciding how the law should be applied to it. In most instances, district courts have a judge and a jury. For instance, a district court decides whether or not the accused is guilty of a crime in a criminal case. It is the district court judges who determine what evidence is admissible into court, whether an arrest is legal or not, what the scope of a search warrant is, and many other issues.

Typically, the jury then decides whether or not the defendant is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. However, there are also cases with no jury and the judge decides whether or not the defendant is guilty. This is known as a bench trial. As pointed out by Judge Charles Burns, the defendant might have a bench trial and not a jury trial for multiple reasons, including if the judge indicates that they will not be giving jail time before the trial. In case either of the sides does not agree with the ruling of the district court, they might appeal to the circuit courts. Circuit courts are charged with determining whether the law was applied correctly in the district court or not. If the parties disagree with the circuit court ruling as well, they might appeal to the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the country.


Author: verified_user