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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 71032 Find in a Library
Title: State Intermediate Appellate Courts
Author(s): M O Osthus; M H Stiegler
Corporate Author: American Judicature Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 55
Sponsoring Agency: American Judicature Soc
Chicago, IL 60601-7401
Sale Source: American Judicature Soc
180 N. Michigan Avenue
Suite 600
Chicago, IL 60601-7401
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Thirty-two States have established intermediate appellate courts since the 1979 enabling legislation. This report discusses these court's pros and cons and varying structures, jurisdictions, and procedures.
Abstract: Opponents of such courts argue that their establishment would increase costs and confuse case distribution between the highest appellate court and the intermediate appellate court. Moreover, an inferior appellate court might weaken the State's appellate judiciary by weakening the force and respect of precedent law. Proponents argue that such courts effectively reduce the caseload at the highest State appellate level. While the experience of several States having intermediate appellate courts is positive, significant variations among the courts exist. These involve limitations on original jurisdiction (Arizona has the broadest jurisdictional grant with appellate jurisdiction in all actions and proceedings originating in the superior court, except criminal actions for which a death or life sentence has been imposed, while Idaho has the narrowest). Procedural differences affect the relationship of the intermediate court to the State's high court of appeals, although a majority of the States allow no appeals as of right to the high court and all States provide for appeal from the intermediate appellate to the high court by writ of certiorari. There are States, however, which limit the certiorari jurisdiction of the high court. Finally, intermediate courts differ in organization, with all falling into one of two categories: (1) those that are divided into district courts with distinct territorial jurisdiction; and (2) those in which there is a single court with statewide jurisdiction. Some basic problems of these two-tiered appellate systems can be dealt with by limiting the court's original jurisdiction only to issue writs ancillary to its appellate jurisdiction, establishing a single statewide court rather than two district courts, and providing effective appellate procedures. In addition, organizational alternatives such as sitting in districts or in panels should be carefully considered in making the appellate process readily accessible. Footnotes, a model two-tiered appellate system, two appendixes containing the organization of existing intermediate appellate courts and the jurisdictional and procedural provisions of existing intermediate appellate courts, and a bibliography of 49 citations are included. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): American Judicature Society; Court structure; Intermediate appellate courts; Jurisdiction; State courts
Note: Revised Edition
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