1) Describe how the US court system is structured: The US court system has a dual system operating on federal and state levels. Starting at the bottom of the state level are trial courts of limited jurisdiction. These courts only handle lawsuits for small amount of money, traffic cases, and misdemeanors. The next level up is the trial courts of general offenses. The jury trial takes place and the judges can set prison sentences. The next level up at the state level is intermediate appellate courts. The courts there hear appeals of decisions of lower courts. They can let the defendant go free, or order a new trial. The last level is the state supreme courts. This is the court of all courts. All states have supreme courts. We have federal courts that are similar to the structure of the state courts beginning with district courts. This trial court is of general jurisdiction. This is when the judges get to rule on evidence and get to issue a verdict. There are 94 federal judicial districts, including at least one in every state. Then we have the circuit court of appeals. The highest level in the federal system is the Supreme Court, which oversees both court systems through interpreting the United States Constitution. This court consists of the chief justice of the U.S. and eight associate judges who hear a limited number of selected cases. We also have American trial courts. These courts are very small, and are often influenced politically and socially. .
2) Explain the role/functions of the judge in the criminal justice system: Judges play the most important role in the criminal justice system. They are by far the most powerful, and there decisions affect the entire system. Judges have the ability to arraign defendants, sign warrants, accept guilty pleas, set bail, and schedule cases. There most important job is to instill justice and protect the right of due process for the defendant.