Nebraska's Court System
Nebraska Supreme Court
The Nebraska Supreme Court consists of a Chief Justice and six associate
justices. The Chief Justice, who represents the state at large, is appointed
by the Governor from a statewide list of candidates selected by a judicial
nominating commission. The six remaining associate justices are chosen
by the same judicial nominating commission procedure but each represents
one of six districts. These judicial districts are approximately equal
in population and are redistricted by the legislature after each census.
The Supreme Court's basic responsibilities are to hear appeals and
provide administrative leadership for the state judicial system. The Supreme
Court has the authority to be the original court in which a case is heard
under certain circumstances. The Supreme Court also hears all appeal cases
regarding the death penalty, the sentence of life imprisonment, or cases
where constitutional questions are raised. Appeals are brought to the
Supreme Court from the Court of Appeals, district courts, county courts,
juvenile courts, Workers' Compensation Court, and administrative agencies.
Upon the granting of a petition for further review, a Court of Appeals
case is moved to the Supreme Court for review and disposition.
Besides appeals, the Supreme Court is responsible for the regulation of
the practice of law in Nebraska. The Supreme Court handles the admission
of attorneys to the Nebraska State Bar Association. This membership is
mandatory in order to practice law within the state. Another responsibility
of the Supreme Court includes the monitoring and appointment of attorneys
to serve on local committees of inquiry, as well as state committees on
discipline and professional responsibility.
Nebraska Court of Appeals
In November 1990 the voters of the state of Nebraska approved the amendment
and the Court of Appeals was established on September 6, 1991.
The Court of Appeals consists of six judges appointed by the Governor from
lists submitted by judicial nominating commissions. From those six judges,
a chief judge is appointed by the Supreme Court to serve a one year renewable
term. The districts from which the Court of Appeals judges are appointed
are the same as those used for the six Supreme Court Associate Justices.
The Court of Appeals is divided into two panels consisting of three judges
each. The panels decide separate cases to expedite the processing of appeals.
The composition of the panels changes periodically so that all the judges
work with each other at some time.
The appeal process requires all cases (except cases in which a sentence
of death or life imprisonment is imposed and cases involving the constitutionality
of a statute) be appealed to the Court of Appeals rather than to the Supreme
Court. In cases appealed to the Court of Appeals, a petition to bypass
may be filed with the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court deems it necessary,
the petition will be granted and the case will be moved to the Supreme
Court docket without first being heard by the Court of Appeals. Besides
a petition to bypass, a petition for further review may be filed. This
petition is filed after a case has been decided by the Court of Appeals
and one of the parties involved is not satisfied with the ruling. The
Supreme Court has the discretionary power to grant or deny the petition.
If the petition is denied, the Court of Appeals'' ruling stands
as the final decision. If the Supreme Court grants the petition, the case
is then moved to the Supreme Court for review and disposition.
Nebraska's Trial Courts
District courts are trial courts of general jurisdiction and are organized
into 12 judicial districts to serve all 93 counties of the state. Fifty-five
district court judges serve these judicial districts.
Although the district courts have concurrent jurisdiction with county courts,
they primarily hear all felony criminal cases, equity cases, and civil
cases involving more than $51,000. District courts also function as appellate
courts in deciding appeals form certain county court case types and various
administrative agencies. When acting as an appellate court, the district
judges review the county court record of testimony and evidence in order
to rule on the appeal.(current as of July 2005)
Michigan's Court System
Michigan's Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is Michigan''s highest court. It consisting of
seven justices, elected for eight-year terms. Every two years, the justices
of the Court elect a member of the Court as chief justice.Cases come before
the Court during a term that starts August 1 and runs through July 31
of the following year. The Court hears oral arguments in Lansing beginning
in October of each term. Decisions are released throughout the term, following
Each year, the Supreme Court receives over 2,000 applications for leave
to appeal from litigants primarily seeking review of decisions by the
Michigan Court of Appeals. Each justice is responsible for reviewing each
case to determine whether leave should be granted. The Court issues a
decision in all cases filed with the Clerk''s Office. Cases that
are accepted for oral argument may be decided by an order, with or without
an opinion. These orders may affirm or reverse the Michigan Court of Appeals,
may remand a case to the trial court, or may adopt a correct Court of
The Supreme Court''s authority to hear cases is discretionary.
The Court grants leave to those cases of greatest complexity and public
import, where additional briefing and oral argument are essential to reaching
a just outcome.
In addition to its judicial duties, the Supreme Court is responsible for
the general administrative supervision of all courts in the state. The
Supreme Court also establishes rules for practice and procedure in all courts.
Michigan's Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals is an "intermediate" appellate court between
the Supreme Court and the Michigan trial courts. Final decisions resulting
from a circuit or probate court hearing may be appealed to the Court of
Appeals. The Court of Appeals judges are elected for 6-year terms. Court
of Appeals hearings are held in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Marquette.
Hearings are held before a panel of three Court of Appeals judges and
at least two of the three judges must agree on the ruling. The panels
are frequently rotated so that a variety of judicial opinions are considered.
The decision of the panel is final except for those cases which the Supreme
Michigan's Trial Courts
The trial court with the broadest powers in the state is the circuit court.
Generally, the circuit court will handle all civil claims involving more
than $25,000 and all felony criminal cases. In regard to family law, the
circuit court will handle all cases involving divorce, adoption, name
changes, juvenile offenses, child abuse and neglect, paternity, etc. If
a case has been appealed from another trial court or an administrative
agency, it may also be heard in the circuit court.
Michigan's District Courts
In Michigan, the district court will handle the following types of cases:
all civil cases involving claims up to $25,000, most traffic violations,
all misdemeanor criminal cases, and landlord-tenant matters. Small claims
cases are also heard by a division of the district court. In Michigan,
there are several municipalities that have elected to retain a municipal
court instead of creating a district court—including Grosse Pointe
Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe, and Grosse Pointe Shores.
Michigan's Probate Courts
The probate court handles wills, administers estates and trusts, appoints
guardians and conservators, and orders treatment for mentally ill and
developmentally disabled persons.