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District Court

federal jurisdiction courts law

A designation of an inferior state court that exercises general jurisdiction that it has been granted by the constitution or statute which created it. A U.S. judicial tribunal with original jurisdiction to try cases or controversies that fall within its limited jurisdiction.

A state district might, for example, determine civil actions between state residents based upon contract violations or tortious conduct that occurred within the state.

Federal district courts are located in places designated by federal law, hearing cases in at least one place in every state. Most federal cases, whether civil actions or criminal prosecutions for violations of federal law, commence in district court. Cases arising under the Constitution, federal law, or treaty, or cases between citizens of different states, must also involve an interest worth more than $75,000 before the district court can exercise its jurisdiction.

The federal district courts also have original and exclusive jurisdiction of BANKRUPTCY cases, and ADMIRALTY, maritime, and prize cases, which determine rights in ships and cargo captured at sea. State courts are powerless to hear these kinds of controversies.

A party can appeal a decision made in district court in the Court of Appeal.

CROSS-REFERENCES

Federal Courts.

District and Prosecuting Attorneys [next] [back] District of Columbia - History, Home Rule, Statehood, Legal Challenge To Voting Rights, The Courts, Further Readings

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