Does a State Court Have Jurisdiction Over All Occupants of the State?


Quick Answer

According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts website, a state court does not necessarily have jurisdiction over all occupants of the state. The two types of courts in the United States are federal courts and state courts, and jurisdiction depends on the type of case being heard.

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Full Answer

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts writes that state courts typically hear most criminal cases, probate cases, contract cases, tort cases and family law cases. State courts are the final authority on state law and state constitution, but their interpretation of federal law or the U.S. Constitution may be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

USLegal states that federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over certain areas. These areas include suits between states, cases involving high-ranking public figures, federal crimes, bankruptcy, patent laws, admiralty, antitrust, securities and any other cases that have been specifically designated by a federal law. One of the areas in which state courts and federal courts may both have jurisdiction is a diversity of citizenship case. Diversity of citizenship refers to a situation when the parties of the case are from different states. When the amount of the suit is under $75,000, the case must be heard by a state court. However, if the amount is over $75,000, the case may be heard by a federal court if the defendant makes a request.

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