State Criminal Court System

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STATE CRIMINAL COURT SYSTEM 

In most states, the criminal court system is composed of a three-level tier: Criminal Court, the State Court of Appeals, and the State Supreme Court. If charged with a crime, you have the right to a fair and speedy trial. In addition, the prosecutor carries the burden of proof and must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you actually committed the crime. Once you are tried and convicted by a jury in the criminal court, your criminal defense lawyer can appeal to the judge to overrule the jury’s verdict.

If this fails, your lawyer can then appeal your case to the State Court of Appeals.  Here, your case will be heard by a panel of judges where they can either uphold the previous verdict or overturn the verdict based on a error of law or its application. If they affirm the previous verdict, you can further appeal your case to the State Supreme Court.

Like the United States Supreme Court, the State Supreme Court hears only those cases it wants to hear. Except in some states where there is capital punishment and the State Supreme court is the court of last resort.

The State Supreme Court is comprised of a panel of anywhere from five to nine judges who are appointed by the government or elected by the voters.

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