State Courts


In the United States, a state court has jurisdiction over disputes with some connection to a U.S. state.

Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a legal body to administer justice within a defined field of responsibility, e.g., Michigan tax law.

A U.S. state is a constituent political entity of the United States.

Difference between federal court and state court by LegalYou


State courts handle the vast majority of civil and criminal cases in the United States; the much smaller in case load and personnel, United States federal courts, handle different types of cases.

The federal judiciary of the United States is one of the three co-equal branches of the federal government of the United States organized under the United States Constitution and laws of the federal government.

Structure of the Court System: Crash Course Government and Politics #19 by CrashCourse


Generally, state courts are common law courts, and apply their respective state laws and procedures to decide cases.

A common law legal system is characterized by case law developed by judges, courts, and similar tribunals, when giving decisions in individual cases that have precedential effect on future cases.


They are organized pursuant to and apply the law in accordance with their state's constitution, state statutes, and binding decisions of courts in their state court hierarchy.


Where applicable, they also apply federal law.


Generally, a single judicial officer, usually called a judge, exercises original jurisdiction by presiding over contested criminal or civil actions which culminate in trials, although most matters stop short of reaching trial.

The original jurisdiction of a court is the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, when a higher court has the power to review a lower court's decision.

A judge presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a panel of judges.


The decisions of lower courts may be reviewed by a panel of a state court of appeals.

In law, an appeal is the process in which cases are reviewed, where parties request a formal change to an official decision.


Generally, there is also a highest court for appeals, a state supreme court, that oversees the court system.


In matters that involve issues of federal law, the final decision of the state's highest court may be appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

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