Federal district courts space the workhorses that thefederal judiciary. Just about every polite or criminal situation heard in thefederal courts starts in ~ the district court level. Ar courtjudges testimonial petitions, listen motions, organize trials, issue injunctions,and keep the wheel of justice spinning.

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Federal district courts serve the 94 federaljudicial districts. Each state contends least one judicial district. Thethree claims with the largest population -- California, brand-new York, andTexas -- have four judicial districts apiece. The ar of Columbia,the republic of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and theNorthern Mariana archipelago each make up a righteousness district, and also have adistrict court.

Role the the ar Court

District courts are "trial" courts, meaning thatdistrict court judges have actually the authority to try cases. The SupremeCourt and also the circuit courts space appellate courts, meaning that theyhave the authority to listen appeals of decisions by psychological court judges.District court judges have the right to conduct jury trials in criminal or civilproceedings. In part instances, ar court judges deserve to decide caseswithout a jury -- a procedure known as a "bench trial".

The role of commonwealth judges in ~ the attempt court levelis to decide inquiries of law. Almost every case filed in a federalcourt poses concerns of law and questions that fact. For example, in acriminal trial, over there are usually issues concerning such inquiries asthe admissibility of specific kinds of evidence, the scope of a searchwarrant, or the legality of one arrest. This are questions of regulation for atrial judge to decide. Top top the various other hand, over there are additionally questionsrelating to even if it is the defendant actually committed the crime past areasonable doubt. These are inquiries of fact. In federal courts,questions of fact are decided by a jury, or by the judge in a benchtrial.

Workload the the ar Courts

However, most situations never get that far. Theoverwhelming majority of cases before the federal courts at thedistrict court level room decided before the case ever goes come trial.According to the the governmental Office the the U.S. Courts, thefederal ar courts taken on over 250,000 civil instances in budget year2003. However, only 4,206 cases, or 1.7 percent, were made decision throughthe attempt process. Just 2,674 instances went to a jury, v 1,532 casesheard together bench trials. Around 40% of the cases that checked out a jury trialinvolved alleged civil rights violations.

The adhering to bar graph illustrates the variety of civil and also criminal instances filed in commonwealth court in 2002 and 2003:


Source: 2003 Judical business of the U.S. Courts.

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This module to be originally arisen by Curtis D. Edmonds, J.D. Under the Georgia Tech research study on easily accessible Distance education and learning (GRADE) project at the center for Assistive modern technology and Environmental accessibility (CATEA) in 2003 with resources by the U.S. Department of education Office of Post second Education (OPE) under approve #P333A020050.