Courts are created to provide justice and protection of the law through the civil and criminal justice systems. The differences between civil and criminal courts will be highlighted, but the focus of this entry is about criminal courts. In the United States, criminal courts operate at the state and federal levels, known as the dual system of justice. The state and federal systems are divided into three tiers—trial, appellate, and supreme—each with its own functions and duties. Throughout the history of courts, their duties have been ...

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