Judicial System

American judicial system is unique because it is made of two forms of the court system including the federal court system and the state judicial system. Each judicial system in the US is different and depend on each other. Different states in the US have different judicial system and judicial selection process, the main purpose is to solve legal disputes and vindicating human rights. The main American court is the federal which connects all state courts and may control operations of other court systems in the US. This paper seeks to understand and compare judicial system in Pennsylvania and the New York.

Pennsylvania judicial system comprises of the Supreme Court, the superior court, commonwealth, the special court and the commonwealth court. Notably, the special court are made up of the Philadelphia Municipal Court, Magisterial District court, Philadelphia Traffic Court and the Pittsburgh Magistrates Court. Each court has a specified form of cases and matters they are supposed to hear and intervened. The lowest court in Pennsylvania’s judicial system is a special court which hears minor criminal cases and civil cases such as the violation of traffic rules. The magisterial district courts conduct preliminary case to determine to evaluate whether there is enough evidence to continue in the courts of common pleas. The magisterial district judges intervene for commercial cases amounting $ 8, 000 and less. Majority of Pennsylvania counties have a court of common pleas, but some share judge especially in the rural area. In addition, the court of common pleas intervenes appeals cases from the special court on traffic matter, civil and criminal issues and appeals decisions from the governing decision from the governing body in municipalities’ zone and subdivision cases. The court of common pleas intervenes cases involving families and children including adoption cases, child support, divorce cases and custody matters (Tarr, 2013, p. 51).

The superior court in conjunction with the Commonwealth court hears appeal cases from the court of common Pleas, except for murder cases which are imposed with a death penalty. In all Pennsylvania, courts are very complex and specific on the undertaken tasks. The Supreme Court is the uppermost in the court system in Pennsylvania at both administrative and judicial level. Appeals from the Pennsylvania superior and commonwealth courts are taken to the Supreme Court by either accepting or rejecting the appeal.

On the other hand, New York judicial system has a different structure and settings from Pennsylvania, but aims at promoting justice according to the law and provide a mechanism for dispute resolution. The highest court in the state is the Court of Appeals which hears appeal case from the Supreme Court and the Felony trial courts. the supreme court in the New York act as an intermediate appellate court for cases, while local courts undertake and handle another form of the judicial process including the traffic tickets, small claims and local zoning and as a starting point for all criminal cases that are likely to proceed to the court of Appeal. New York judicial system has the largest local court system.

The court of Appeals, handles civil appeals that are taken exclusively from the Appellate divisions decision. Depending on the form of case under consideration the appeal can be heard from the decision of the Appellate division, county court and the Appellate term. The New York Supreme Court is the court of general jurisdiction. There are 62 supreme courts in different counties in the New York, where small community share same judicial system and process. The Supreme Court has the role of intervening for cases that do not exceed monetary restrictions for the jurisdiction in local courts and matrimonial conflicts involving divorce, annulment and legal separation. In some countries, the Supreme Court handles commercial cases. The county courts have the jurisdiction on civil matters and handle cases that do not exceed more than $ 25, 000. Other courts include the local, domestic, drug and the community court (Baum, 2013, p. 157).

In the Pennsylvania judicial system, state judges are elected to the position with the exception of judges in Pittsburg magistrate court who are appointed by the mayor of the country. Judicial election in Pennsylvania is undertaken in oddly numbered years. All judges in the Superior court, Common Pleas court and the commonwealth court are elected to a term period not exceeding a period of ten years. Judges in Philadelphia Supreme Court, magisterial and traffic courts are elected to a period not exceeding six years Pittsburgh magistrate court Judge are appointed in a 4 years term by the mayor. In Pennsylvania judges and justice serve for the unrestricted number of terms. In the case, the judge wants to run for another term a voting method is used on the basis of yes or no vote. However, after a judge is sworn into authority political influence are eliminated. Interim judicial vacancies in Pennsylvania judicial system are filled through appointment with the consent of the supermajority of the Pennsylvania senate vote of 2/3rds. All interim judges are appointed are required to stand on the election in the next municipal election process after a period of 10 months following the presence of the vacancy. In other cases, it is a tradition in Pennsylvania for judges to be appointed as interim justices in the Supreme Court to not run from a permanent position. For an individual to serve as a judge on supreme, superior and the commonwealth court, one must be below 70 years, member of the state bar and at least one year state residence. In some exceptional cases, retired judges may continue serving as senior judges to assist in the reduction of case backlogs in courts, under the approval of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Appellate judges are allowed to extend their operation until the age of 75 years, but those who have served before the beginning of 1999(Tarr, 2013, p. 94).

Judge selection process in the New York is different from Pennsylvania. In the court of Appeal, judges are appointed to a term period not exceeding 14 years by the gubernatorial appointment in the nominating commission with senate consent. Whenever a vacancy in the court occurs the gubernatorial appointment from the nominating commission undertaken the process of selecting justices with the consent of the senate. For one to join the court of appeal, a resident of New York, and judicial experience above ten years and willing to retire after attaining the age of 70 years. Judges in the Supreme Court, in the Appellate Division, are appointed to term period of five years or at the end of the Supreme Court on the basis of whichever comes first. Judges in Supreme Court are appointed through a gubernatorial appointment in nominated committee, where judges in the appellate division are selected from the justice elected to the Supreme Court positions. In order to join the Supreme Court and serve as a judge one must be a resident in New York, have experience of more than 10 years, attained the age of 18 years and willing to retire at the age of 70 years, which is a mandate (Hogan, 2006, p. 349).

Almost all aspect of judge selection in the county court is similar to that of the Supreme Court in New York. The individual is required to be a state and a county resident, state practice above five years, attained a minimum of 18 years and willing to retire at the age of 70 years. Other judges are chosen through a partisan election with judicial candidates competing during elections for the party position.

The judicial system is dependent on the jurisdiction that is in charge at both federal and state levels. In the last decades, crimes have become more sophisticated; as a result, of advancement in the level of technological advances. This call for the criminal justice system at the federal level to keep on changing with the dynamics because criminals have the ability of attempting and committing new crimes. The agencies that makeup the judicial system should change and adapted to a new change in technology to curb down and control criminal activities in the country. In 25 years’ time, there are several expectations that are anticipated in the criminal justice system despite the future being unpredictable. Political structure and social organization in the county is well systematized to meet the needs of every member in the community. There are merit  and demerits aspects that affect the welfare of people in the community. The Local authority in the county is aimed at reducing negative influence and promote equality among members of the society (Baum, 2013, p. 116).

Conclusion

American judicial system is unique because it is made of two forms of the court system including the federal court system and the state judicial system. Each judicial system in the US is different and depend on each other. Different states in the US have different judicial system and judicial selection process, the main purpose is to solve legal disputes and vindicating human rights. The main American court is the federal which connects all state courts and may control operations of other court systems in the US. Pennsylvania judicial system comprises of the Supreme Court, the superior court, commonwealth, the special court and the commonwealth court. Notably, the special court are made up of the Philadelphia Municipal Court, Magisterial District court, Philadelphia Traffic Court and the Pittsburgh Magistrates Court. The Supreme Court is the uppermost in the judicial system in Pennsylvania at both administrative and judicial level. Appeals from the Pennsylvania superior and commonwealth courts are taken to the Supreme Court by either accepting or rejecting the appeal. The highest court in the state is the Court of Appeals which hears appeal case from the Supreme Court and the Felony trial courts. The Supreme Court in the New York act as an intermediate appellate court for cases, while local courts undertake and handle another form of the judicial process. In the Pennsylvania judicial system, state judges are elected to the position with the exception of judges in Pittsburg magistrate court who are appointed by the mayor of the country. Judicial election in Pennsylvania is undertaken in oddly numbered years.

 Reference

Baum, L. (2013). American courts: Process and policy. Boston: Wadsworth.

Hogan, S. O. (2006). The judicial branch of state government: People, process, and politics.          Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.

Tarr, G. A. (2013). Judicial process and judicial policymaking. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth.