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Federal Law: The Judicial Branch

The United States Government is split into three separate branches; the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary. These three individual branches were created to assure a system of checks and balances by the framers of the Constitution. This measure was taken to eliminate the ability of any one branch of government having too much power over the laws and policies of the newly formed United States.

The Judicial Branch
All crimes that occur in the United States are either tried in federal or state courts or courts within the state such as county courts, municipal courts and others. The jurisdiction is decided by definitive factors which sometimes overlap making it possible for criminal cases to be heard by either or both in certain circumstances.

Federal laws, their rules and regulations and the interpretation of the Constitution of the United States are enforced and tried by the federal court system. Some crimes such as those that cross state lines during their commission, kidnapping, terrorism and many others are always prosecuted on a federal level.

State laws enforce their own laws as well as rules and regulations and bills passed by the legislature of the individual state and signed into law by the Governor. States also apply and interpret their own State Constitution.

For the purpose of this article explanations of the federal court system will be designated.

The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest Court in the country and its decisions are final unless they can be overruled by a two thirds majority by both Houses of Congress. They are basically the Court of last resort.
Before a case is heard by the Supreme Court it will go through lesser courts and then the Judicial Body will have the option of hearing the case or not. Before a case can reach the highest Court in the land it would have been heard by the U.S. Courts of Appeals and all other lesser U.S. District Courts within the federal system.

The primary step in the process of conducting federal trials is having a case heard in a Federal District Court. There are ninety-four federal judicial districts, which include one or more in each of the fifty states as well as Washington D.C. - The U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, as territories of the United States likewise have federal judicial districts that hear cases as part of the federal trial court system. These courts have the authority, as set by the Constitution and laws amended by Congress to hear and decide the outcome of virtually all classifications of federal cases both criminal as well as civil. Each day jurors are selected from the general public across the nation as well as from the mentioned territories to help decide these cases.

In the event of a negative ruling or verdict from a Federal District Court, the next step would be to appeal a case to one of the twelve circuits of the US Courts of Appeal. Circuit Courts manage cases from different localities. There are twelve Circuit Courts including the Washington D.C. Circuit Court.

Florida is part of the Eleventh Circuit which also includes Alabama and Georgia. The principal office of the Eleventh Circuit is in Atlanta, Georgia with cases also being heard in Montgomery, Alabama as well as Jacksonville and Miami, Florida.

Circuit courts are intermediary appellate courts. They hear cases of alleged error in the District Courts relating to both Jury verdicts and opinions rendered by the Court without a jury.

Examples of these errors could include an error committed by the presiding judge relating to the admissibility of evidence during trial or instructing the jury in an incorrect way.

My law office concentrates on federal criminal defense. Whether an investigation has been initiated, an arrest for a federal crime has been made or the primary trial has concluded but an appeal is warranted, The Law Offices of Michael B. Cohen can offer the proper protections needed for the defense of any federal charges alleged by the government.

My background includes over thirty five years of federal courtroom experience, and the preparation of appellate briefs for cases I personally handled at trial or for other attorneys who may have received an adverse jury verdict. I have handled these cases in all courts of appeal as well as the presentation of oral arguments before these courts. I have argued appeals before the intermediate Florida appellate courts as well as the Florida Supreme Court. I have also argued appeals before the federal appellate courts in both New York and Florida. I have worked both as a prosecutor in this arena as a former Assistant State and Federal prosecutor as well as defense counsel. I have thus been able to develop the appropriate perspective about what issues should be raised and argued on behalf of my clients in all of these appellate courts because of my wealth of experience.

To view a video of my appearance giving oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court, click here and then press the corresponding link at the top-right of the home page of this Website. To read a full list of my accomplishments and qualifications as well as what you should do if you or someone you care about has been charged with a federal crime, click here.