Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to understand:

  • the role of state courts in the American judicial system
  • what activist judges are and why they invoke such controversy
  • how criminal cases and civil cases differ
  • the structure of state-level appellate and trial courts
  • the different methods for selecting and retaining judges
  • the roles of prosecutors and defense attorneys
  • the difference types of sentencing methods utilized by states
  • the methods available to states to reduce judicial caseloads