42 terms

Civics Judicial Branch Vocabulary

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Marbury vs. Madison
Arguably the most important case in Supreme Court history, was the first U.S. Supreme Court case to apply the principle of "judicial review" -- the power of federal courts to void acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution. Written in 1803 by Chief Justice John Marshall, the decision played a key role in making the Supreme Court a separate branch of government on par with Congress and the executive.
US Supreme Court
the highest court in the United States; the final court of appeals. Consists of 9 justices and taking judicial precedence over all other courts in the nation. Has final appellate jurisdiction and jurisdiction over all other courts.
US Appeals Court
hears challenges to district court decisions from courts located within its circuit, as well as appeals from decisions of federal administrative agencies. In addition, it has nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals in specialized cases, such as those involving patent laws, and cases decided by the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
US District Court
the first level of courts in the federal system. exercise original jurisdiction in federal matters. Both civil and criminal cases are filed here. 94 courts and at least one per district
Article III of the US Constitution
creates the judicial branch in the United States. The Judicial branch is the system of courts that look at the law and applies it to different cases. In the United States, the judicial branch of the federal government includes the United States Supreme Court and all the lower courts that are created by Congress.
Original Jurisdiction
the authority to hear a case before any other court does; determine the facts of a case, usually in a trial.
Appellate Jurisdiction
the authority of higher courts to re-examine cases that have already been tried and decided in lower courts.
Concurrent Jurisdiction
when more than one court has the authority to hear and decide a civil or criminal case.
Exclusive Jurisdiction
one court has the power to adjudicate (pronounce or declare judicially) a case to the exclusion of all other courts. authority of only federal courts to hear and decide cases
Writ of Certiorari
"to be fully informed". a legal writ by which the Supreme Court orders a lower court to gather the records in a case and send them up for its review.
Writ of Habeas Corpus
"produce the body"; a protection for criminal suspects against being held indefinitely without a trial by the authorities. requires that the government either bring formal charges or release the prisoner.
Stare Decisis
"let the decision stand"; the principle of relying on past legal precedents in formulating decisions in new cases.
Precedent
a previous judicial ruling on a case, which is then consulted in subsequent cases. The decision provides a rationale for handling similar cases in the same way.
Court Docket
a list of all of the cases awaiting action in a court of law.
Rule of Law
the principle that the laws of a community are recognized as binding by that community, and are enforced equally for all members of that community. The law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by individual officials decisions.
Civil Law
law governing the relationships among private individuals or companies. Civil cases, therefore, are cases that involve private disputes arising from such matters as accidents, claims of contract violation, and divorce.
Criminal Law
law that regulates individual conduct, prohibiting actions deemed harmful to society; violations are considered crimes against society, not just against the victims.
Majority Opinion
a judicial opinion agreed to by more than half of the members of a court. sets forth the decision of the court and an explanation of the rationale behind the court's decision.
Concurring Opinion
a written opinion by one or more judges of a court which agrees with the decision made by the majority of the court, but states different (or additional) reasons as the basis for his or her decision.
Dissenting Opinion
an opinion in a legal case written by one or more judges expressing disagreement with the majority opinion of the court which gives rise to its judgment.
Brief
a written document, presented prior to a hearing or trial, in which an attorney details the legal arguments of his or her client.
Complaint
the first document filed with the court by a person or entity claiming legal rights against another. The party filing is usually called the plaintiff and the party against whom it is filed is called the defendant or defendants.
Summons
a request or order for someone to show up.
Settlement
a resolution between disputing parties about a legal case, reached either before or after court action begins.
Prosecution
the legal party responsible for presenting the case in a criminal trial against an individual accused of breaking the law.
Penal Code
code of laws concerning crimes and offenses and their punishment.
Misdemeanors
minor wrongdoing. less serious than a felony. doesn't have to be tried before judge/jury
Felonies
a crime, typically one involving violence, regarded as more serious than a misdemeanor, and usually punishable by imprisonment for more than one year or by death.
Preliminary Hearing
a proceeding, after a criminal complaint has been filed by the prosecutor, to determine whether there is enough evidence to require a trial. "trial before a trial"
Indictment
formal accusation that someone has committed a crime. a bringing of charges against someone; a formal accusation initiating a criminal case.
Arraignment
a formal reading of a criminal charging document in the presence of the defendant to inform the defendant of the charges against them. in response to this, the accused is expected to enter a plea
Acquittal
a judgment that a person is not guilty of the crime with which the person has been charged.
Hung Jury
a jury that cannot, by the required voting threshold, agree upon a verdict after extended deliberation and is unable to change its votes.
Juvenile Delinquent
minors, usually defined as being between the ages of 10 and 18, who have committed some act that violates the law. These acts aren't called "crimes" as they would be for adults. Rather, crimes committed by minors are called "delinquent acts."
Recidivism
It refers to a person's relapse into criminal behavior, often after the person receives sanctions or undergoes intervention for a previous crime.
Defense Attorney
a lawyer specializing in the defense of individuals and companies charged with criminal activity.
District Attorney
a public official who acts as prosecutor for the state or the federal government in court in a particular district. represents state gvt in prosecution of criminal offenses, and is chief of law enforcement officers, and top prosecutor of states jurisdiction
Arbitration
the private, judicial determination of a dispute, by an independent third party. way to resolve disputes outside of court
Mediation
intervention in a dispute in order to resolve it; arbitration. It is a third party that assists people in resolving conflicts
Ordinances
a piece of legislation enacted by a municipal authority (special purpose gvt unit). (laws, commands, orders, and rulings)
Plaintiff
person who brings case against another in court. opposite of accused (defendant).
Defendant
individual sued or accused in court. goes against the plaintiff
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