Understanding the federal court system

Residents of Oregon who have become engaged in complex legislation or have been indicted on federal charges may benefit from an understanding of the structure of the court. There are 94 judicial districts in the United States federal court system, and they are organized within 12 regional circuits.

Each district has a district court that handles various tasks like federal trials. There are also bankruptcy courts in each district. Although the district may be contiguous with the state border in less populous states such as Oregon, states with larger populations are divided into multiple districts. Along with California and Washington, Oregon is part of the 9th regional circuit.

Plaintiffs or defendants who feel their cases were adjudicated incorrectly may appeal to the appropriate circuit court for review of the case. Congress has also empowered a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that has the power of review over certain particular types of cases. Patent infringement appeals as well as cases from U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will go to this court. If there is no satisfactory conclusion to the case after the court of appeals, then the Supreme Court may be petitioned to hear the appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court is under no obligation to agree to review a case, although the court of appeals is. Only a minuscule proportion of the cases that request Supreme Court review will go to Washington D.C. to meet with their final adjudication.

Individuals involved in appeals to federal court or other complicated cases may find the advice of an attorney to be beneficial. An attorney may have experience in navigating the federal court system and may be able to impart their perspective to clients who are encountering it for the first time.

Source: Findlaw, "Introduction to the Federal Court System", December 24, 2014

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