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How Does the US Court System Work?

US court system is the most renowned and sophisticated court system. It inherits from English Common Law. US court system includes the Supreme Court, state courts, and federal courts. Supreme Court is the highest in the jurisdiction. State courts include trial courts and federal courts include district and circuit courts. Any court has the power to solve the dispute in a peaceful way. In the US, each state has its own rules and procedures to follow. Also, the federal courts have their own rules. However, most of the rules in the courts will be similar.

Three-Tiered Court System

Before knowing the court system has let us know about - the plaintiff, defendant, lawyer, and prosecutor. A plaintiff is a person who brings the case against another to court law. The defendant is the accused person/company. The prosecutor is a legal representative/ public officer who does the legal proceedings. A lawyer is a licensed person who can practice law. Every prosecutor can be a lawyer but every lawyer cannot be a prosecutor.

US Court System

First Level

Initially, any case brought to the lowest level of the court – District Court or Trial Court. The first legal proceedings happen in this court. The defendants and plaintiff have equal opportunity to appeal the case in Appeal Court/ Court of Appeal/Appellate court. The important point here to notice is both an appeal only if the judgment/ jury decision disliked and not because the outcome is disappointing.

Next Level

At Appeal court, the panel of three judges will listen to the arguments. They assume that all the facts in the trial court are true. Also, the Appeal Court has only a few options to decide.

  • The court can decide that judgment in the lowest level court is true and agree with the decision
  • The court can decide that the judge was wrong and change the decision
  • Otherwise, it can decide that the judge was wrong and send the case back

Highest Level

If the plaintiff or defendant doesn’t like the decision they have the right to approach the highest level of court Supreme Court. Usually, the Supreme Court composed of nine Justice. The decision given by the Supreme Court is the final decision and one needs to accept.

US Federal Court System
Case Procedure


It is the initial process of the case and it is actually starting the case. Usually, the case starts when the plaintiff files against the defendant in the trial court. At this point, the district attorney decides to fill the charges against the accused person. Also, both plaintiff and defendant make a Discovery Request. During discover, the facts come into the light and both struggle to be true and the opposite side is wrong. If the defendant fails to respond pleadings, the plaintiff can submit the motion. After submitting the motion the defendant has the opportunity to respond. The final step is the selection of a jury.


At this stage, both parties have the opportunity to present the facts in the form of witness. Also, the parties allowed to give their instruction for a jury and also questions. After seeing the instructions and questions, the jury has the right to decide on the verdict.

After Trial

Once if any party is not satisfied with the statement, they can submit motion and appeal in the higher court. Usually, the case goes to Appeal Court after Trial Court only if the party dislikes the decision given by Trial Court. If the party disappointed with the decision he could not appeal to Appeal Court. If the defendant or plaintiff feels the decision given by the Appeal Court is wrong he can approach the Supreme Court.

Court Records Search

Basics of the US Court System

  • The written and oral arguments, evidence, testimony collected by lawyers or prosecutor
  • State courts or local courts have their own committee and rules to follow. Sometimes the rules adapt from federal court
  • In the US, most of the disputes settled in state courts

Court Records Search

Aside from certain cases (juvenile records and expunged records), court records in the United States are made available to the public. So, you can search for court records under the Freedom of Information Act and the regulations in the state where a trial was held. These days, there are online public records' search directories that can provide you with access to court records. Usually, these online search directories use four types of search engines to provide you with information about the person you are searching for.

You can easily find court records by using a name-based search engine, a reverse address lookup engine, an address search directory, or a reverse email lookup directory. Once you provide the search engine with an identifying detail of the person in question, the directory that you chose will scan public records, and provide you with the court records of the person in question.

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Search for anyone in the United States! 100% Confidential! Updated on December 4, 2021
Sensitive Information!