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Types of Judges in State and Federal Judiciary

 

14. What types of judges are part of the judiciary?

There are many types of judges in the legal system.

Federal System

•    Federal District Court Judges – Judges for the federal trial court.

•    Federal Magistrate Judges – Special federal court judges who hear certain pre-trial and post-trial matters.

•    Federal Circuit Court Judges – Appellate judges on the appellate courts for all of the district courts within its geographic jurisdiction (judicial circuit).

•    US Supreme Court Justices – Justices (judges) who sit on the highest appellate court in the US legal system.

•    Judges for Special Article I Courts:

⁃    Federal Administrative Judges – Judges that preside over the various legislative (administrative) courts established by congress, such as the Tax Court.

⁃    Specialty Court Judges – Judges that preside over the various special courts designed by Congress under Congress, such as bankruptcy courts and courts-martial.

State Judicial System

•    Local Municipal Court Judges – Judges presiding over municipal hearings to enforce city or municipal ordinances.

•    State Magistrate Judges – Specialty court judges who preside over county or small claims courts. They also serve the function of granting warrants, holding probable cause hearings, and presiding over initial appearances.

•    Intermediate State Court Trial Judges – Judges who preside over special trial courts of limited jurisdiction.

•    Superior Court Judges – Judges who preside over trial courts of general jurisdiction.

•    State Appellate Court Judges – Appellate judges who hear appeals from trial courts within its geographic jurisdiction.

•    State Supreme Court Justices – Appellate judges (Justices) sitting in the highest appellate court in the state.

•    State Administrative Judges – Judges presiding over the administrative agencies created by the state legislature.

•    Specialty Court Judges – Judges presiding over special courts designated by the state constitution or legislature. Special court judges may include: family court judges, probate court judges, and masters in equity.

Some jurisdictions may have special names, designations, qualifications, etc., for judges presiding over a specific court.

•    Discussion: How do you feel about the distinct roles of judges in different courts? Do you think should be distinct qualifications (education and training) for judges presiding over a particular court?

•    Practice Question: Given what you known about the federal and state legal systems, what are the similarities and differences between the types of judges in the state and federal system?

 

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